Stuck with Raisani, for now

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

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

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