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PPP’s Sarfaraz Bugti elected unopposed as new CM of Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province

Pakistan Peoples Party’s Sarfaraz Bugti.
| Photo Credit: X@PakSarfrazbugti

The Pakistan Peoples Party candidate Sarfaraz Bugti was elected unopposed as the new Chief Minister of the restive Balochistan province on March 2.

Mr. Bugti had stepped down as the caretaker federal Interior Minister in the interim government to contest the provincial assembly elections on a PPP ticket in the February 8 general elections.

The senior politician also enjoyed the support of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) when he submitted his nomi­­nation papers with Assembly Secretary Tahir Shah on March 1.

No other candidate filed any nomination paper for the Chief Minister’s post till the given deadline on March 1 following which Mr. Bugti was declared winner unopposed.

Also Read | Pakistan swears in new parliament amid chaotic scenes, as Imran Khan’s party protests vote count

Mr. Bugti faces a tough challenge as the new Chief Minister of a province frequently hit by terrorism and separatist violence and an ongoing crisis in the coastal port city of Gwadar and its adjoining areas which have been hit hard by heavy rainfall and flash floods.

After the February 8 general elections, PPP emerged as the largest party in Balochistan and has formed a coalition government with PML-N and Baloch Awami Party in the province.

Mr. Bugti also served as the Information Minister in Balochistan during the government led by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party between 2018 and 2022.

The Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) backed by Imran Khan’s party on Saturday named the Pashtun­khwa Milli Awami Party chief Mahmood Khan Achakzai as their Presidential candidate against Asif Ali Zardari, the joint nominee of the PML-N and the PPP.

Mr. Achakzai, 75, was nominated for the post against the Pakistan Peoples Party’s senior leader and former president Asif Ali Zardari, Geo News reported.

Mr. Zardari, 68, is a joint candidate of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other political parties part of the coalition set to form a government in the Centre.

Mr. Achakzai, the chief of Pashtun­khwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP), won the National Assembly seat from the NA-266 constituency in Balochistan’s Kila Abdullah-cum-Chaman.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder and former Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is incarcerated in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, has urged his party’s lawmakers to vote for the veteran politician, The News International reported.

PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan has confirmed the nomination of Mr. Achakzai for the Presidential poll.

Also Read | Maryam Nawaz becomes first-ever woman Chief Minister of a province in Pakistan

It should be noted that a PTI delegation, led by party leader Asad Qaiser, met with Mr. Achakzai and Balochistan National Party (Mengal) chief Akhtar Mengal earlier this week to seek their support in raising the voice against “rigging” in the general elections held last month.

During the meeting, Mr. Achakzai extended his party’s support for every political party that works towards the Constitution’s supremacy and empowering the Parliament.

According to a notification issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Friday, the Presidential election is set to take place on March 9.

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