QUETTA – Nawab Sanaullah Zehri of the Pakistan Muslim League-N was elected unopposed as the chief minister of Balochistan on Thursday as Dr Abdul Malik Baloch resigned from the office as required under the Murree Accord – a power sharing formula agreed after general elections of 2013.During Thursday’s Balochistan Assembly session, which was summoned for election of speaker and chief minister, no one filed nomination papers for the top slot.Zehri was declared as new chief minister. He replaced Dr Abdul Malik Baloch who tendered his resignation on Wednesday to Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai in accordance with the Murree Accord after serving for two-and-a-half years in the office.
The change in the province’s top slot came as part of the Murree Accord between the PML-N and Baloch parties – the Pukhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) and the National Party (NP) – that are part of the PML-N led coalition government in the province. Under the agreement, PML-N gave up its claim to head the ruling coalition in the province and nominated Dr Malik Baloch – the president of the National Party – for the post of chief minister.Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after consultations with the all allies had decided to elevate Nawab Sanaullah Zehri – the provincial president of PML-N – as the chief minister of Balochistan for the remaining tenure of the provincial government. Dr Malik was to remain the chief executive for half a term, which ended earlier this month. “As per the Murree agreement, I have stepped down from the post of chief minister,” Dr Malik said tendering his resignation to Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai.
Newly-elected Chief Minister Zehri has announced to pursue a policy of political reconciliation, following outgoing CM Malik’s footsteps, and pave way for a negotiated settlement to issues relating to Balochistan. “I will try to take all political forces into confidence regarding major issues,” Zehri said after being elected as the chief minister.He congratulated the newly-elected woman speaker of Balochistan Assembly Rahila Durrani, and vowed to empower women in the province. “We respect women in Balochistan as per our strong tribal traditions.” He recently held a series of meetings with self-exiled Baloch leader Khan of Kalat in London and requested him to return back to Pakistan to play his due role in restoring peace in the volatile province.Earlier, Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani was elected unopposed as new Speaker Balochistan Assembly. She is first ever woman in the history of Balochistan to take up the post. The seat was lying vacant after then Speaker Mir Jan Muhammad Khan Jamali had tendered his resignation following the party’s instructions. Rahila was elected MPA in 2013 on the ticket of PML-N for reserve seat for woman in the Balochistan Assembly.She had remained Provincial Minister for Prosecution in the government of Nawab Muhammad Aslam Raisani. She is a law graduate, senior lawyer and senior office-bearer of scouts association.