In a major setback to Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan, a cabinet member belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ally Jamoori Watan Party has resigned a day before no-confidence vote.
Shahzain Bugti, who was serving as a special assistant to prime minister (SAPM) on harmony and reconciliation in Balochistan, has resigned and joined the Pakistan Democratic Movement, a political front opposing the Imran Khan regime.
Shahzain Bugti is the grandson of Akbar Bugti, a prominent leader of the Baloch movement who was killed by the Pakistan Army in 2006 in Balochistan’s Kohlu town.
He made the announcement while addressing a press conference in Islamabad alongside PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari. Earlier today, Bilawal called on Bugti at his residence where the two discussed the political situation in the country.
The prime minister had appointed Bugti as his special assistant last year in July soon after deciding to hold talks with disgruntled Baloch tribesmen to pave way for permanent peace and progress in Balochistan. PM Imran had tasked him with holding talks with peeved Baloch tribesmen on behalf of the government.
Addressing today’s press conference, Bugti said that the government had failed to deliver in Balochistan. “The federal government gave us hope that things will improve but the people have been disappointed,” he said, announcing his resignation from Prime Minister Imran Khan’s cabinet.
“We are standing with the Pakistan Democratic Movement and will do whatever we can,” he said.
Elaborating on his grievances, he said that when the prime minister first came into power he promised to focus on South Balochistan and under-developed areas. “But he failed to do so.”
The MNA also alleged that insurgency grew during the PTI government’s tenure due to its negligence. “I have done everything except for banging my head into the wall. […] Imran Khan says everyone is corrupt. [But] put the evidence in front of the people, they will decide. But all you do is use wrong words.”
He added that the government had announced a development package for South Punjab but had ignored Balochistan. “You couldn’t allocate Rs4bn for the province. Do you consider the province your last priority?”
(With inputs from agencies)