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Pakistan: PML-N to form coalition govt in Balochistan

First published: May 18, 2013, 3:45 PM IST | Updated: May 18, 2013
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Pakistan: PML-N to form coalition govt in Balochistan
The PMAP, which represents the Pashtuns living in northern parts of Balochistan, emerged the single largest party in the May 11 polls.

Islamabad: The PML-N and two nationalist parties have agreed to form a coalition government in Balochistan but differences remain on the issue of choosing a Chief Minister for the insurgency-hit province in southwest Pakistan.

The Pashtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PMAP), which represents the Pashtuns living in northern parts of Balochistan, emerged the single largest party in the May 11
polls by bagging 10 of the 51 directly elected seats in the provincial assembly. However, the PML-N is in a stronger position as it has the support of more independent candidates and smaller parties.

The PML-N is now set to form government with the backing of the PMAP and the National Party, a nationalist party that draws its support from the Baloch-dominated southern parts of the province.

The PML-N is currently projecting senior leader Sanaullah Zahri as its candidate for the post of Chief Minister. Zehri said there could be no compromise on the issue of having a Chief Minister from the PML-N.

"I have lost my family members during the campaign for the elections and I am a strong candidate for this post," he said. Zehri's son, nephew and brother were killed in a bomb attack last month. He also said that he will take along nationalist forces for the amicable resolution of the problem of insurgency.

The PML-N won just nine seats in the provincial assembly but it has the unconditional support of five PML-Q members, four independent candidates and one member each of the Majlis-e-Wahdatul Muslimeen and Jamoot Qaumi Movement.

Once the PML-N is allocated its share of seats reserved for women and non-Muslims, it will have a simple majority in the Balochistan Assembly. The National Party has won seven seats and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam six seats.

Nationalist leaders believe the problems of Balochistan can be overcome only if the province has a truly representative leadership. National Party leader Abdul Malik said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif would have to choose a Chief Minister keeping in view the sensitivity of the province.

"It would be important to know whether he wants a consensus Chief Minister, as he had pledged earlier, or from his own party," Malik said. PMAP leader Lala Rauf contended that his party had emerged as the single largest force in the polls and its mandate must be accepted.

Sharif had asked the single largest parties in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to form the governments in those provinces and the same principle should be applied to Balochistan, he said.

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