Stuck with Raisani, for now
But that was last week. This week, the constitutional status of the provincial government is ostensibly just as blurry as it was last week but we hear that Bhootani may convene an assembly session after all.
Sadiq Umrani argues that Raisani has to go because he has brought a bad name to the PPP by misgoverning and spending billions of rupees on his family and on a luxury plane for his personal use instead of on the province’s suffering masses. Now, with few exceptions, when Pakistani politicians talk about suffering masses and funds in the same sentence, things are often about the funds but seldom about the masses.
Interestingly, until May this year, Umrani was Raisani’s minister for communications and works – y’know that unimportant little ministry that handles the planning, execution, development and maintenance of all roads, bridges, buildings and other development works in the province? That gets more than 30 percent of the entire provincial budget? It looks like Umrani and the chief minister developed some ‘differences’ over the use of this small amount of money, which runs into billions of rupees, as well as over the transfers and postings of some focal officials of the ministry. Come May this year, Raisani sent Umrani packing, bifurcated his ministry – the roads and building departments – and allotted it to two PPP ministers, Ali Madad Jattak and Agha Irfan Karim respectively. Previously, Jattak and Karim were both strong Umrani supporters but have jumped ship after being gifted the lucrative offices.
Since his sacking, Umrani has repeatedly landed up at the presidency asking for his portfolio back but the president has been of little help. Frustrated, he has joined hands with the PPP’s Kalat wing to wage a media war against the chief minister, accusing him of giving billions of rupees to his senator brother, and running the car theft and kidnapping mafias in Balochistan.
For Umrani, then, the Supreme Court judgment is the goose that laid the golden egg, in his personal struggle to avenge the powerful Raisani one way or the other.
But what about the Balochistan speaker? What’s his problem with Raisani?
Though Bhootani himself denies it, those with a keen eye on the province’s politics have an interesting tale to tell.
In the 2008 election, Raisani was elected MPA on a PPP ticket. On the other hand, despite having been virtually routed in three provinces, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q emerged as the largest single party in the Balochistan assembly, bagging 17 of 51 seats. But despite this booming win, the QLeague faced several hurdles in mustering the required support to form a coalition