QUETTA: Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, after being elected leader of the house in the Balochistan Assembly unopposed by obtaining 39 votes in a house of 65, was sworn in as the 17th chief minister of the province on Friday.
Balochistan Governor Syed Zahoor Agha administered the oath to Mr Bizenjo at a ceremony held at the Governor House. Punjab Governor Chaudhary Mohammad Sarwar, Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri, federal minister Zubaida Jalal, founder of Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) Senator Saeed Hashmi, members of Senate, national and provincial assemblies and hundreds of other people attended the ceremony.
It was for the first time in the history of Balochistan that people in such a large number were invited to attend the oath-taking ceremony of a chief minister.
Mr Bizenjo is the third politician of the province who has been elected chief minister a second time after Jam Ghulam Qadir, who served as chief executive of the province in 1974 and 1985, and Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, who remained CM in mid-1990s and early 2000s.
Earlier, Mr Bizenjo was elected chief minister in 2018 after resignation of Nawab Sanaullah Zehri against whom a no-trust motion was moved.
On Friday, Mr Bizenjo was elected leader of the house unopposed during a special session of the Balochistan Assembly, presided over by acting Speaker Sardar Babar Khan Musakhail. He informed the house that five nomination papers had been filed on behalf of Mr Bizenjo and no other party had fielded a candidate to contest the election for the slot.
Voting was held in which 39 votes were polled for Mr Bizenjo in the house of 65. The opposition members preferred to abstain from voting while former chief minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani, who had resigned from his office after a no-trust motion was tabled against him by his own party members with the support of allied parties and the opposition, also did not attend the session.
All members of allied parties of the BAP, including Awami National Party (ANP), Hazara Democratic Party, Balochistan National Party-Awami, Pakistan National Party and Jamhoori Watan Party, took part in the voting. However, one member of the ANP, Malik Naeem Bazai, could not cast his vote as he reached the session late.
Delivering a speech after being elected chief minister, Mr Bizenjo vowed to resolve the issues of Balochistan with the cooperation of the people of the province, the federal government and bureaucracy. He said that without cooperation of the people and other stakeholders no government could succeed in achieving the goals of development and resolving the issues being faced by the province. He said that in the next 15 days he would announce his policy under which the province would be developed.
Mr Bizenjo said he would seek the cooperation of the federal government for new projects and resources as Balochistan could not be developed with the available limited resources.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan should continue what he has done for smaller provinces,” he said. “Balochistan should be given more resources under the National Finance Commission award on the basis of its backwardness and problems as we don’t have enough resources to take our province towards progress.”
The chief minister said that Islamabad had to play its role in the development of Balochistan to bring it on a par with other developed areas of the country.
“I will run the affairs of the province with the consensus and consultation with all parties and lawmakers,” he said.
“As leader of the house it would be my utmost effort to take the province towards betterment and provide relief to people.”
He said that he would not accept congratulations today but would do so when people would think that he had done something for them. He said that instead of blaming each other, all the members should move forward together for the uplift of the province.
He said that he would consult his senior colleagues to run the affairs of the government. He announced an additional fund of Rs2 billion for the endowment fund to provide medical treatment to poor people at the government expense.