Rumor of "Change of Guards" brings CM Balochistan to meet Shabaz Sharif
LAHORE: The chief ministers of Punjab and Balochistan met here on Sunday and discussed matters relating to inter-provincial harmony and political situation in the country.
A press release issued after the meeting did not say if the issue of “change of guards” in Balochistan came under discussion.
Under the Murree agreement on the formation of coalition government in Balochistan, Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch is to hand over the office to Sardar Sanaullah Zehri of the PML-N after completing half of the five-year tenure.
A close aide of Shahbaz Sharif said the Punjab chief minister had nothing to do with the agreement because it had been reached between the federal leadership of the PML-N and nationalist parties of Balochistan.
However, he said, the PML-N government was discussing with the security establishment possibilities of replacement of the Balochistan chief minister.
In reply to a question about the performance of the Dr Malik government, he said the security establishment had been ‘very comfortable’ with the present arrangement in Balochistan and the forces concerned were being consulted only about the political future of the province.
If the cancellation of a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Sanaullah Zehri scheduled for Oct 12 is anything to go by, change of guards in Balochistan appears unlikely.
Under the Murree deal, the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party was offered the office of governor and the National Party of Dr Malik and the PML-N each half of the five-year term of chief minister.
According to the press release, during the meeting with Dr Malik, the Punjab chief minister called for collective efforts by all political forces for national progress and development and steering the country out of crises. He said the nation wanted elimination of political jugglery, terrorism and poverty and resolution of energy crisis and other issues.
Mr Shahbaz recalled the efforts his government was making for national unity by including students and general public of other provinces in its educational and health programmes such as Punjab Educational Endowment Fund, laptop scheme and study tours to foreign countries.
Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafiz Hafeezur Rehman also called on Shahbaz Sharif and discussed matters of mutual interest.
Meanwhile, Dr Malik said at a dinner hosted by Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafiq that his government had eliminated religious extremism from Balochistan and incidents of kidnapping for ransom and target killing had significantly declined. The provincial government was also courageously countering terrorism, he added.
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