QUETTA - The Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) has emerged as the single largest parliamentary party in the Balochistan Assembly after bagging 10 of a total of 51 seats in the recently-held general elections, but will not be able to form its own coalition government in Balochistan for a lack of the required parliamentary strength, that is 33 seats.
Besides the PkMAP, the PML-N obtained eight seats, the National Party seven, the JUI-F six, independent candidates won nine seats, the PML-Q four, the BNP-Mengal and the Jammot Qaumi Movement won two seats each, and the BNP(A), Majlis-e-Wahdat-ul Muslemeen and the Awami National Party secured one seat each.
Though the PkMAP has become the largest single parliamentary in the province, the PML-N is in a comfortable position to lead a ruling coalition by bringing the Pashtuns and the Baloch nationalists as well as the independent candidates. Most of the independents will either join the PML-N or extend their support to its efforts to the formation of government.
Since the Baloch ethnic group belonging to different political parties has a dominating majority in the assembly, chances for PkMAP to muster the support of Baloch nationalists and PML-N members are bleak. However, the PkMAP can be accepted by these parties as coalition partners. The PkMAP has always been raising controversial slogans against the Baloch population, calling them usurpers of the rights of the Pashtun people living in Balochistan so no Baloch nationalist will be wanting to extend his support to the party.
The PML-N insiders say Nawaz Sharif might offer Akhtar Mengal to lead the coalition government after mustering the support of all independent candidates despite the fact that the BNP-Mengal could bag only two seats.
However, they say it depends on Mengal whether he accepts the offer or not.
It is believed the party insiders say Nawaz wants to compensate Mengal for the past when the PML leader had support the quo against then chief minister Akhtar Mengal in 1998 forcing him to resign and replacing him by Mir Jan Mohammad Jamali.
Mengal had gone to Islamabad to seek Nawaz’s help, but got a cold response.
The PML-N is in a more comfortable position than any party has been while forming government in the province as no other party by its parliamentary strength had been able to even attempt to form its own government.
All the nationalist parties, the PkMAP, the National Party and the BNP-Mengal enjoy cordial relations with the PML-N leader, so they will prefer to support its candidate for the slot of chief minister.
The PML-N can easily get the support of nine independents and the two Jammot Qaumi Movement members, increasing its strength from nine to 20 and up to 26 after getting around six of the 14 reserved seats. Then it would only need seven members to form a ruling coalition.
It is likely that consensus is being developed among all nationalist forces and within the PML-N members to push the six members of the JUI-F towards the opposition benches for it being the most influential group during the past two tenures led by Aslam Raisani (2008-2013) and by late Mir Jam Mohammad Yousaf (2003-2008).