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NP stages boycott of Balochistan Assembly session

NP stages boycott of Balochistan Assembly session

QUETTA: Provincial Health Minister Rehmat Saleh Baloch and other ministers and members of the National Party (NP) staged a walkout from the Balochistan Assembly on Saturday for what he called being ignored by the government.

Earlier speaking in the session, Mr Baloch said, “Over the past many months, we have been feeling that despite being a coalition partner, we are not taken in confidence by the government when it makes major decisions.”

This was despite the fact that the accord signed by the coalition partners envisaged that ministers would be independent in their ministries and all coalition partners would work as a team, he said.

The health minister said machinery and equipment were being shifted from Sheikh Zaid Hospital in the Sariab area of Quetta without his consent. “I am even not told who has made the decision to shift the machinery from the hospital.”

He said people of Sariab were protesting the shifting of equipment from the hospital built by the federal government.

The minister said social media had been awash with propaganda that he was behind the strike of young doctors.

He said a summary of the young doctors’ demands was pending approval by the authorities concerned.

Then Mr Baloch staged a walkout from the house, saying he would return only after his reservations were removed. Other ministers and lawmakers of his party joined him in the walkout.

Education Minister Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal pointed out that Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Zehri was not present in the house and said, “We will take up the reservations expressed by the minister with the CM.”

He requested Speaker Raheela Hameed Durrani to send members to bring the members and ministers of the NP back to the house.

The speaker sent Mr Ziaratwal, Sheikh Jaffar Mandokhel and Abdul Quddoos Bizenjo to bring the NP members back. On their request, the health minister and other members of his party returned to the house.

The house unanimously adopted a resolution demanding funds from the federal government for less developed areas of Balochistan and saying that Islamabad had ignored the province in this respect.

The resolution was jointly moved by several lawmakers who asked the chief minister to approach the prime minister to ensure implementation of the resolution.

Several resolutions involving the centre had earlier been passed by the assembly but none of them had been implemented by Islamabad, they recalled.

Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2016

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