Akhtar Mengal’s BNP-M quits PTI govt days before budget passage

Questions whether revision of NFC Award is part of plan to roll back 18th Amendment

By: News Desk      Published: 02:52 PM, 17 Jun, 2020
Akhtar Mengal’s BNP-M quits PTI govt days before budget passage

In a major development which could result in serious political consequences for the PTI-led ruling coalition, BNP-M chief Akhtar Mengal announced to quit the Imran-led government, saying, “We are not a colony. We should be considered as citizens.”

Addressing the National Assembly's budget session on Wednesday, Mengal said the promises made two years ago were yet to be fulfilled and the government was asking for more time. “No one becomes a patriot by hoisting the [national] flag [on his vehicle],” he said and added that they could not wait for more.

The ruling alliance led by the PTI at the Centre depends upon a razor-thin majority and the four National Assembly seats – three general and one reserved for women – along with one Senate member of BNP-M are of great importance, maybe a deciding factor. And this announcement just days before the planned approval of budget could trigger a political turmoil for the Imran Khan-led setup.

In his speech, Mengal, before announcing his decision, said there were no online classes in Balochistan because there was no 3G or 4G service in the province for eight years. “No one allows us to be in the line. You are talking about [being] online,” the seasoned politician remarked.

He said the ruling party had entered into a deal with the BNP-M on the issues of recovery of missing persons and the development of Balochistan. Were these agreements implemented, Mengal asked and added that a sister committed suicide after protesting for the recovery of his brother who had been missing for the last four years.

He also asked the relevant minister to explain whether the move to revise the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award is part of the plan to roll back the 18th Amendment. “Balochistan is nowhere in the budget. It has been given a small packet, not the Rs10 billion package,” said Mengal.

The BNP-M chief, who is the son of the seasoned political figure late Sardar Attaullah Mengal, said justice wasn’t available in the country as justice was sold in markets.

“This budget can be minister’s friendly, bureaucracy friendly but it can’t be pro-people budget,” he said and added that people are being unemployed in the name of privatisation. “There no possibility of this budget being people-friendly.”

He said the locusts had destroyed everything in the 32 districts of Balochistan but they were told that there was no plane for aerial spray.