Khaleeq Nazar Kiani
Since the 70s, Balochistan was ruled by a few known Baloch strong tribal political families and one religious party (JUI-F) in the Pashtoon belt. However, few exceptions are there, but most of the time, the power remained in their hands. They have a very good smell and know how to grasp or retain control. They molt their thin skins very quickly as per the situation.
The Pashtoon area of Balochistan is divided into nationalist and religious extremes. It is the second time that a JUI-F is out of the power corridors, not due to unpopularity but because now it does not fit in the change priorities of the masters. Nationalists are also out from power, and now the area is represented by the establishment’s nominated moderate political personalities.
The democratic process is a good filter, and after every election, the awareness is growing. Now it is going to be difficult for the tribal political families to control the masses without addressing their problems. The public sentiments are not in their favor, but still calling the shots because of the powerful establishment. To a certain extent, it is the easiest and hassle-free way to control Balochistan.
The birth of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) was in line with the script written in 2018 when dissidents Ministers and MPAs of the PMLN in the provincial government filed the no-trust motion against their own Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri, who then resigned and Mir Qadus Bizenjo took the oath of Chief Minister. It was a blow for PML N as a party, and in a cascading effect, Nawaz Sharif lost power in the 2018 general election.
The dissidents of PML N and few individual potential personalities from the Pashtoon belt formed the new political party with the nameplate of the Balochistan Awami Party. Mir Jam Kamal from a pro-establishment family who has recently cut the knot from PML N was chosen to steer the party. The gigantic task before the Mir Jam Kamal was to control and glue the powerful pro-establishment strong tribal houses under the party discipline and one command. It was not possible without the strong and active support of the establishment. The presence of three Ex. Chief Ministers in the party was a threat and constant trouble who believed that they are not less important than Mir Jam Kamal. They accepted him as Chief Minister and President of the party under compulsion, which became evident when time and again the news of restiveness appears in the newspapers. But all those dissident voices go down because there was no green flag from the establishment.
The creators of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) devised an ambitious future plan and thought of introducing it as an alternative to PTI. The first step was taken to fulfill this agenda, and three MPAs from KPK were asked to join BAP. In the next phase, a few electable from Punjab were in line to join BAP, but this idea was abandoned due to the party’s internal rift.
Mir Jam Kamal was aware of the dissident voices in the party but took no action against them. He was clear that despite hard talks and secret meetings, no one can dislodge him from the Chief Minister’s office until he enjoys the support of the establishment.
After two and half years, he took the step against one of the aspirants of Chief Minister slot and withdrew the Local Government portfolio from Mir Saleh Bhootani. It was a message to the other unhappy personalities in the BAP. The informed circles have the opinion that Jam Kamal is strong with the full backing of the establishment, who is not in a mood to support any move for change in the existing political setup of the country.