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Malik decides not to address Balochistan Assembly

04 December, 2012

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ISLAMABAD: By not turning up at the Balochistan Assembly on Monday for briefing to the legislators on the security related issues, Interior Minister Rehman Malik has apparently averted a highly embarrassing situation for the federal government, as under Article 110 of the Constitution, only the provincial governor can address the provincial legislature.

With one-point agenda, on the advice of beleaguered Chief Minister Muhammad Aslam Raisani, the session for an unprecedented event was summoned and the MPAs were also present in the assembly but to their dismay, the federal minister stayed away.

In Pakistan's checkered parliamentary history, no federal minister, ever has been invited to brief a provincial assembly on any issue. PPP insiders claimed the ruling party constitutional experts asked the interior minister to desist from going to the provincial assembly, as this would not only set a bad precedent but it also might displease the judiciary.

"A timely decision by the interior minister not to give briefing to the provincial assembly has foiled a well-thought out ploy by certain elements to pitch the federation and the judiciary against each other," said none other than Balochistan PPP President Sadiq Umrani while talking to our sources.

By not going to the provincial legislature, the federal minister had demonstrated maturity and prudence, Umrani maintained, who wants replacement of Raisani after the Supreme Court order on his government. However, PPP leadership in Islamabad is ostensibly in no mood to look for a new face in place of the incumbent chief minister.

A PML-Q member of the Balochistan Assembly, Yar Muhammad Rind, approached this correspondent on phone to register his outrage at the provincial government's move to get briefing from federal interior minister.

"You can expect such fireworks from a chief minister of the troubled province, who spends most of his time in Islamabad and answers serious questions from media with jokes," he alleged.

The assembly speaker, Muhammad Aslam Bhootani, had again declined to chair the session on the plea that he could not do so until the constitutional position of the government and Chief Minister was cleared after the Supreme Court in its short order has ruled that the chief minister and his government had lost the justification to rule the province.

On the same contention, he had already refused to preside over an earlier assembly session. Media reports had it that the speaker said there was a question mark on the status of the chief minister and his government after the apex court order.

The chief minister on his part recently spoke to media here and claimed his government was doing its best to improve the law and order situation in the province and improvement was visible. He sought more time to show more positive results.

On suspension of his PPP membership, following the Supreme Court order, Raisani had said no one had the courage to suspend him and if anyone managed to do so, he would give him Rs10 as reward for the courage.


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