The One-Man Interim Government
If the primary goal of an interim government is to organize free and fair elections, Balochistan’s caretaker government headed by Chief Minister Nawab Ghaus Bakhsh Barozai seems to be failing to perform the job. Almost a month after his appointment as the caretaker, Mr. Barozai has not formed his cabinet. He has been running the affairs of the provincial government all alone with the help of provincial secretaries. As the date for the general election approaches, Mr. Barozai’s challenges also keep increasing.
The state of law and order is going from bad to worse. The Baloch armed groups have increased their attacks on election offices, rallies, candidates and official installations. They have also called upon the voters to stay at home on the election day.
Mr. Barozai has done too little to ensure transparency in the elections. A recent report published in Akhbar-e-Jahan, a respected Karachi-based Urdu language weekly, is deeply alarming. The report says that most ministers of the previous government are still using government transportation and residences. These ministers are contesting elections this year as well and they are using the official machinery for their own benefits. The caretaker government should take immediate notice of this malpractice and ask all politicians to vacate official residence and vehicles.
Mr. Barozai should also fulfill the standard requirements of a caretaker government by appointing caretaker ministers for different departments. It is not easy for one man to run the whole show, particularly in a troubled place like Balochistan. Mr. Barozai should share the burden of his responsibilities with other ministers as all critical issues, such as the rehabilitation of the earthquake victims and establishing peace during the election season, require sufficient attention. People with a good reputation and commitment to public service should be given preference in forming the interim cabinet.