The Baloch Hal Editorial: “Friends, again”
By Malik Siraj Akbar
Two reneged former ministers hailing from the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) have finally decided to mend fences with chief minister Nawab Mohammad Aslam Raisani. Ali Madad Jattack, ex-minister food and Agha Irfan Karim, former minister of Zakat, were thrown out of the Balochistan cabinet after they attempted to stage a revolt against Raisani for allegedly snubbing the interests of the MPAs from the PPP. In September last year, Jattack, claiming to enjoy the support of some 14 other members of the Balochistan Assembly to outvote Raisani, had complained that the chief minister was paying more attention to the ministers belonging to other parties in terms of resolving their problems on priority basis.
In response, Raisani fired the diehard PPP leader and the food minister Haji Ali Madad Jattack for what he billed as the continued violation of party discipline, allegations of alleged nepotism, corruption and links with “anti-state” elements. In the wake of Jattack’s resignation, another PPP minister Agha Irfan Karim also tendered his resignation to express solidarity with the expelled minister. Both the PPP leaders said they enjoyed the support of several other MPAs who were dissatisfied with the performance of the CM and would soon come up with a showdown of their power against the provincial chief executive.
On October 10, 2009, Raisani also removed Ms. Rubina Irfan, the provincial minister for Justice and Parliamentary Affairs who is the wife of Agha Irfan Karim supposedly for the differences her spouse had developed with the chief minister. Funny enough, Ms. Irfan’s portfolio was given to none other than her own sister-in-law, Perveen Magsi, to convey a clear message that the coalition government was too stable to be dented by a few minister’s rebellion. The disillusioned ministers were soon forgotten by their colleagues as they were replaced by some other MPAs who were waiting to be appointed as ministers. In the same way, those who had once assured Jattack of their full support in the aftermath of staging a revolt against the chief minister also stepped back and kept quit. They did not only articulate their support to Raisani but also learnt that they would meet a similar fate if they continued to indulge in gossip against the chief minister.
Ali Madad Jattack and Agha Irfan Karim held a meeting with Chief Minister Raisani once again on Saturday to repose trust in Raisani’s leadership. Six-month long distance from official perks and privileges must have been very painful for both the dismissed ministers. It is still not known if the CM will reinstate both of them in the provincial cabinet.
For Riasani, the return of two annoyed ministers will be reassuring in the wake of recent differences between two sections of the Balochistan government on the issue of a bill intended to be tabled on the floor of the Balochistan Assembly about provincial autonomy as envisaged in the Lahore resolution of 1940.
We hope that the return of angry ministers in the Raisani camp will further consolidate the provincial government and help it concentrate on the welfare of the people of Balochistan instead of engaging in infighting among the PPP leaders.