Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani denied on Tuesday that he had formally resigned as the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) president, as the party named its vice-president, Zahoor Ahmed Buledi, as the BAP’s acting chief.
The news of Alyani’s resignation had surfaced earlier this month, amid a deepening political crisis in Balochistan and calls by BAP lawmakers and others for him to step down as the chief minister.
Dawn had reported at the time that the chief minister had announced his resignation in a tweet, wherein he had asked the party’s central organiser and general secretary to “announce BAP party elections at the earliest”.
“Alhamdulillah served a good three year[s] as party president and relinquish from my party presidentship post today,” he had added.
In a statement dated October 11, BAP General Secretary Manzoor Ahmed Khan Kakar referred to the tweet, saying that a party meeting had been called and it had been decided to make Buledi the acting head, as the appointment of an acting party president was essential for holding intraparty elections.
He added that the Election Commission of Pakistan was being informed of the development.
However, in a press conference today (Tuesday), Alyani contested having formally resigned as the party president.
The chief minister said neither had he stepped down as the party president nor he had any such plans.
“I don’t want any rifts in the party,” he said, claiming that some of his “friends” wanted him to serve as the party president until the intraparty elections.
He said he would be serving on the position considering the wishes of his “friends”, and assured support for “whoever is elected as the next party chief”.
Blaming the “irresponsible social media [users]” for the confusion, he said no factions were being created in the BAP.
Alyani went on to say that the dissenting BAP members who had turned against him were the ones who would meet him the most in the past.
“I always gave time to them, and the doors of my office are still not closed for anyone,” he said.
The chief minister said he would continue to make efforts to keep the party’s members united, adding that in case of disagreements, those in minority have to accept the majority’s decision.
Referring to a recent no-confidence motion filed against him, Alyani said once the motion was presented, the majority’s decision would be accepted.
The no-confidence motion, signed by 14 lawmakers, had been submitted to the secretariat of the Balochistan Assembly on Monday, as Alyani continued to face criticism from the disgruntled members of his party over what they termed his failure to consult them in running the affairs of the province.
Speaking to reporters on the occasion, Buledi had said their group had expressed a lack of confidence in Chief Minister Alyani with a “majority”, requesting the Balochistan governor to summon a session of the assembly soon so that the no-confidence motion could be presented.
Balochistan Assembly has 65 members, and according to the Constitution, a no-confidence motion needs the signatures of 20 per cent of the make-up of the legislative body to be tabled for discussion. With existing figures, 20pc of 65 members is 13 members, while the no-confidence motion has been signed by 14 members.
Today, BAP leader Jan Mohammad Jamali confirmed the filing of the no-confidence motion, announcing that intraparty elections would be held in the second week of November.
He added that the BAP had been divided into two groups, saying that he would ask the chief minister to convene a session of the party’s parliamentary committee.
Jamali expressed hope that Alyani would be successful in appeasing the party’s disgruntled members.
“Had he (Alyani) earlier taken the measures he is taking now [to keep the party united], what is happening today would not have happened,” Jamali added.
Meanwhile, some of the BAP’s allies, including the Awami National Party (ANP), Hazara Democratic Party and Jamhoori Watan Party, announced that they would not join the no-confidence move against Alyani.
In this regard, ANP’s Muhammad Asghar Khan Achakzai said the political strife in Balochistan had existed since the formation of the incumbent provincial government.
He claimed that the opposition had been “conspiring to stall the [province’s] progress from the first day”, and accused it of “placing hurdles in the way of the budget”.
“We will fight all non-democratic moves made against the [Balochistan] government,” he vowed.
The signs of the ongoing political crisis in Balochistan were first seen in June this year, when opposition members had camped outside the provincial assembly’s building for days in protest against the government led by Alyani for its refusal to allocate development funds for their constituencies in the budget.
The protest had led to mayhem and police had later booked 17 opposition lawmakers in connection with the incident.
Following that, 16 members of the opposition had filed a no-trust motion against the chief minister. However, the Governor House Secretariat had returned the motion to the Balochistan Assembly on technical grounds.