BNP-M quits coalition over non-implementation of accord

Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: The federal government was dealt a blow on Wednesday as Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) leader Akhtar Mengal announced that his party was breaking its alliance with the ruling coalition. “Today, I announce in Parliament [the BNP-M’s] separation from PTI’s [ruling] alliance,” Mengal said while addressing the National Assembly. However, the lawmaker clarified that his party will continue to be part of the National Assembly and keep talking about Balochistan’s issues. Mengal reminded the House that his party had two agreements with the ruling party, adding that it was the Imran Khan-led party which had come to him for an alliance, not the BNP-M which went to Bani Gala — the personal residence of PM Imran Khan. “The first agreement was done on August 8, 2018 and signed by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Jahangir Tareen and Yar Muhammad Rind,” recalled Mengal. He added that his party had demanded that the missing persons issue be resolved and the National Action Plan be implemented in letter and spirit in the agreement. “Can someone tell us if there was anything unconstitutional in both these demands? Why were they not implemented?” asked the lawmaker from Balochistan. He regretted that the ruling party’s mindset was “the same one running in the country since 1948”. “We waited for two years for the implementation of the agreement; we are ready to [wait] further, but start something,” appealed the nationalist leader. He added that if the government wishes to take his province along, then they should implement their agreements with BNP-M. While highlighting his grievances in the assembly, the lawmaker stated that the foundations for the road from Chaman to Karachi were laid in 1973, and it has killed 4,500 in road accidents. He added that instead of giving them a six-lane road, the government gave them only a two-lane road. The BNP-M leader also claimed that “no one can find justice in this country” and that “justice is being sold”. While hitting out at the government, he noted that Pakistan Steel Mills were being privatised and thousands were being unemployed. “The disappointing thing is that no one here is ready to listen to their [the laid off workers’] demands,” said Mengal. He added that if the demands could not be met, then they should at least be noted. “It has become a tradition here that the last government is held responsible for everything,” said Mengal.