Party president announces in Parliament government has failed to implement any point of an agreement it signed with the BNP-M to secure support
The Balochistan National Party (Mengal) on Wednesday announced it was ending its alliance with the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government after the latter failed to implement several provisions of an agreement it had signed with the former.
Addressing the National Assembly, BNP-M President Sardar Akhtar Mengal said the party would stay in Parliament and continue debating issues but would no longer sit on the Treasury benches. “I am officially announcing that our party is ending its alliance with the PTI,” he said, adding that the incumbent government had signed an agreement with his party following the 2018 general elections—and again during the presidential elections—but had yet to implement a single point of the accord.
“If our demands were illegal and unconstitutional then we are ready to face even death. But then all those who put their signatures on these accords [from the PTI] should also face the same,” he said.
The BNP-M and PTI had signed a six-point memorandum of understanding in August 2018 to achieve an alliance at the center. The key point of this agreement was recovery of missing persons, while it also called for full implementation of the National Action Plan against terrorism; implementation of six percent quota for Balochistan in the federal government; immediate repatriation of Afghan refugees; and construction of dams in Balochistan to resolve its water crisis.
During his speech, Mengal presented two separate lists of missing persons before Parliament to justify his claims: one contained 18 names of people who have been recovered in the past 2 years, the other showed the names of nearly 500 people who have gone missing in the same timespan.
According to the BNP-M head, the decision to leave the federal government was reached after many meetings of his party’s central executive committee. “The law and order situation is worsening in Balochistan, death squads have been reactivated,” he claimed, questioning why a Balochistan peace conference along the lines of the Afghanistan peace process could not be organized.
“[The government] is more worried about Kashmir than Balochistan. [The government] is constituting committees on Kashmir, which is not with it, but is not worried about losing what it already has. This House can discuss issues of wheat, sugar and tomatoes, but not the blood of the Baloch people,” he said, adding that the prime minister had yet to visit any camp of missing persons or meet fishermen facing problems. He also slammed the government for cutting shares of the provinces in the National Finance Commission (NFC).
Mengal accused the federal and Balochistan governments of aiding in the spread of COVID-19 in the country by allowing pilgrims from Iran to enter through the Taftan border crossing without adequate arrangements. “A first information report should be registered against whoever is responsible for the deaths in the country due to coronavirus,” he said.
This isn’t the first time the BNP-M and PTI have reached an impasse. In January, BNP-M leaders met with government leaders to try to resolve differences between them. During their meetings, the government reportedly assured the Baloch leaders that it would address all grievances of the party.
The BNP-M’s exit narrows the gap between the opposition and the treasury even further. The PTI, after the 2018 elections, had secured 156 seats in the National Assembly. It had then added 7 of the MQM; 5 of the PMLQ; 5 of the Balochistan Awami Party; 3 of the Grand Democratic Alliance; 4 independent lawmakers; and one seat each of the Jamhoori Watan Party and the Awami Muslim League. Including the BNP-M’s four seats, the incumbent government had formed a government with 186 seats. After that BNP-M’s exit, it now has 182 seats.
In comparison, the opposition has 156 seats, with the PMLN securing 84, the PPP 55, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal 16 and the Awami National Party 1.