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Zehri’s resignation

Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri resigned prior to a no-confidence motion being taken up against him in the provincial assembly. The resignation tendered to Governor Mohammad Khan Achakzai has been accepted. In a statement following his resignation, Zehri said that he did not wish to cause problems in the political setup of the province. He added that he was not in the habit of hanging onto power at any cost. PML-N leader and strong contender for the CM slot, Jan Jamali said that the dynamics of the PML-N in Balochistan is different than that of in other parts of Pakistan. Zehri’s decision came after he was advised by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to resign in light of the no-confidence motion. According to sources, Abbasi advised the chief minister to resign to control the political situation in the province following his visit to Quetta. The prime minister has also taken notice of the role of provincial lawmakers for letting the situation come to its present stage. In wake of Zehri’s resignation, chances are that the next chief minister will also be from the ruling PML-N, with most likely candidates being Saleh Bhutani or Jan Muhammad Jamali. The prime minister had travelled to Quetta as a no-confidence motion against Zehri gained momentum and was said to have the support of majority lawmakers of the assembly, leading to fears of the chief minister’s removal from office. Balochistan Opposition Leader Maulana Wasay said it would be better if the chief minister accedes to the prime minister’s advice.A no-confidence motion was submitted against Zehri on January 2 by MPAs Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Syed Agha Raza and had the signatures of 14 lawmakers. In order to retain his position as chief minister, Zehri required the support of 33 members from a house of 65. A political crisis developed in Balochistan following the no-confidence motion, with efforts stepped up by the PML-N, which has a government both in the centre and province, to defuse the situation. According to reports, ten disgruntled MPAs from the PML-N were also supposed to vote for the no-confidence motion. The government has taken a good decision to get resignation from Nawab Sanaullah Zehri to save the party from disintegration. PML-N leadership needs to control the situation to avoid further damage. The imposition of governor’s rule will not be a good option because it may endanger the upcoming Senate elections. The top PML-N leadership should take serious notice of the grievances of the MPAs and take steps to resolve all internal party issues on urgent basis.

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