PM Abbasi advises Balochistan CM to resign

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has advised Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri to resign in light of the no-confidence motion to be taken up in the provincial assembly today.
Jan Achakzai, the spokesperson of the chief minister, rejected the reports and said Zehri will not resign and face the no-confidence motion head-on.
Sources told that the premier took the decision to control the political situation of the province after realising the on-ground situation following his trip to Quetta.
Sources added that the prime minister has also taken notice of the role of provincial party lawmakers in the episode.
A no-confidence motion submitted against Zehri last week 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.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which has a government both in the centre and the province, had earlier stepped up efforts to defuse the ongoing political crisis.
Zehri requires the support of 33 members from a house of 65 to dismiss the motion, expected to be taken up in the assembly session today at 4pm.
Pakhtunkhawa Milli Awami Party, the ruling party’s ally in the province, has 14 seats in the assembly, while National Party has 11 seats.
On the other hand, parties supporting the motion, including Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid and Balochistan National Party have four and two seats, respectively.
Ten disgruntled PML-N lawmakers are also said to be supporting the no-confidence motion.
Jamiat-Ulema-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), which has eight seats, remains tilted towards the motion as well despite being allied the PML-N in the centre.
Talking to the media around 1pm on Tuesday, JUI-F’s Maulana Abdul Wassay, who is also the opposition leader in the assembly, said they hope their motion will succeed today.
He claimed to have the support of 41 MPAs of the house.
Prime Minister Abbasi arrived in Quetta on Monday and presided over a meeting of members of coalition parties in the Balochistan government.
Abbasi held consultations over the no-confidence motion against Zehri.
Federal ministers Ahsan Iqbal, Zahid Hamid, Abdul Qadir Baloch and Aviation Adviser Sardar Mehtab Abbasi State Minister for Petroleum Jam Kamal accompanied the prime minister on the occasion.
Abbasi also held meetings with the governor and chief minister of Balochistan.
Opposition Leader in the Provincial Assembly, Maulana Abdul Wasay, said on Monday that the Balochistan governor, in a bid to convince him, offered to arrange a meeting between him and the prime minister.
Wasay, however, said that he would not sail in two boats at the same time.
Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) lawmaker Abdul Quddus Bizenjo has claimed that as many as 40 legislators will vote for the no-confidence motion against Zehri.
Bizenjo said that PML-N leader Changez Marri has also rendered his support for the no-confidence motion.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Balochistan chief minister said on Monday that those claiming to have the support of 40 MPAs could not gather more than 20 legislators at their recently held dinner meeting.
Zehri has reportedly said that he will fight against the no-confidence motion and will prove his support in the house.
Sources told that Zehri contacted PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif on Sunday and conveyed to him that the issue of the no-confidence motion against him needs to be resolved.
According to sources, Zehri told Nawaz that a no-confidence motion against him could have an impact on the results of the upcoming general elections.
The no-confidence motion, which was submitted by Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo and Syed Agha Raza on January 2, was signed by a total of 14 parliamentarians.