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Bugti, Bhootani among contenders as search for Balochistan CM picks up

QUETTA: Following the resignation of Nawab Sanaullah Zehri as Balochistan Chief Minister after a no-trust motion against him, discussion within political circles to find his replacement has picked up.

Zehri while accepting the advice of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and his colleagues resigned from his position and submitted resignation to Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai on Tuesday afternoon, who forthwith accepted it.

Following the resignation of the chief minister, the Balochistan government issued a notification which read: “Consequent upon the resignation of the Chief Minister Balochistan, the provincial ministers and advisers to the chief minister shall also cease to hold their office with immediate effect.”

Among others, former provincial home minister Sarfaraz Bugti associated with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Muhammad Saleh Bhootani are being considered top contenders for the coveted slot of the leader of the house in the provincial assembly.

The names of Jan Muhammad Jamali, Changez Marri  and former chief minister Abdul Malik Baloch are also under discussion for the post.

Sarfaraz Bugti was one of the dissidents who revolted against Zehri and backed the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition.

Speaking to the media a day earlier, Bugti said the next chief minister of Balochistan will be selected after consultation with political allies, and might not necessarily belong to his party.

On January 2, the former chief minister had relieved Bugti from his office. Soon after his sacking, the former home minister, however, claimed that he had submitted resignation and the reports of his dismissal were untrue.

Saleh Bhootani, one of the contenders for the chief minister’s post, is the elder brother of the current Speaker of Balochistan Assembly Mohammad Aslam Bhootani.

Whereas, Changez Marri is the chieftain of the influential Marri tribe and the son of Balochistan’s veteran leader Khair Bakhsh Khan Marri. He has been serving as Minister for Irrigation since 2013.

Mir Jan Mohammad Khan Jamali is former Speaker of Balochistan Assembly and former deputy chairman Senate.

The political crisis that cost Sanaullah Zehri his office began on Jan 2 when MPA Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo moved a no-trust motion against him.

Subsequently, a number of ministers resigned following the motion submitted against Zehri.

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