Former provincial assembly speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo was sworn in as the 17th chief minister of Balochistan following his unopposed election by the provincial assembly on Friday, becoming only the second politician to hold the top office in the province for a second time.
Bizenjo was elected unopposed a day after a major contender, Sardar Yar Mohammad Rind, of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) pulled out of the race. In the 65-strong Balochistan Assembly, Bizenjo polled 39 votes, while the opposition benches did not take part in the election.
Balochistan Governor Syed Zahoor Ahmad Agha administered the oath to Bizenjo at a ceremony at the Governor House, which was attended by a large number of people, including Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri.
The lawmakers who voted for Bizenjo, included 23 members of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), 6 of the PTI lawmakers, three of the Awami National Party (ANP), two of the Hazara Democratic Party (HDP) and two of the Balochistan National Party-Awami (BNP-A).
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The three remaining votes came from an independent and one each from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP). Former chief minister Jam Kamal Khan and a late-arrival, Malik Naeem Baazi, of the ANP, were conspicuous by their absence.
During the assembly session, chaired by acting Speaker Babar Musa Khel, lawmakers from Bizenjo’s own BAP and the allied parties, congratulated the newly-elected chief minister and expressed the hope that they all would work together for the betterment of the province.
“I will support you till the end,” said Rind, congratulating Bizenjo on his election victory. Mir Zabid Ali Reiki, of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) thanked Allah for the removal of former chief minister. He prostrated (Sajda) to Allah in gratitude on the floor of the house.
The election of the leader of the house was triggered by the resignation of previous chief minister Jam Kamal Khan on October 24. Kamal resigned a day before the provincial assembly session to vote on a no-confidence motion against him.
Bizenjo is the second politician who became the chief minister for a second time. He served as the chief minister in 2018. Previously, Nawab Zulfiqar Magsi served as the chief minister twice – from 1990 to 1993 and from 1993 to 1995.
Later in the day Chief Minister Bizenjo took charge of his office. Upon arrival at the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, he was accompanied by assembly members Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran, Akhtar Hussain Lango, Naseebullah Marri, Zabid Reiki, Asghar Tareen, Hamal Kalmati, Younis Aziz Zehri and others. After Bizenjo sat on the chief minister’s chair, prayers were offered for the development of the province.