Prime Minister Imran Khan suffered a major blow ahead of the voting on the no-trust motion against him as his special assistant (SAPM) on reconciliation and harmony in Balochistan and Jamhoori Watan Party (JWP) leader Shah­zain Bugti parted ways with the government.

Bugti announced his resignation from the federal cabinet on Sunday after meeting with PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and PML-N lawmakers.

Bilawal called on Bugti at his residence to seek his support for the vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Imran.

“We stood with PM Imran Khan for three-and-a-half years and tried hard to bring a change in Balochistan,” Bugti said in a press conference flanked by Bilawal.

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 added.

“Keeping the situation in the country in view, I announce to leave the cabinet and resign from federal government,” Bugti said, adding that he stands with PDM and will try to do his best for the people of Pakistan.

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 Baloch tribesmen on behalf of the government.

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?”

BILAWAL PRAISES BUGTI: Meanwhile, Bilawal termed Bugti’s resignation a “brave decision”. The PPP chairman said that the MNA had tried to work with the government during the past three years but it had “betrayed the people and the opposition”, adding that PM Imran had “used his allies”.

Thanking Bugti, he said that the MNA had sent a message to the people of the country. “The people are looking to us to solve their problems. Balochistan’s issues are complicated and our history has not been fair with the people of the province.”

He asserted that Bugti had taken an “independent decision” which was announced today. “The decision came from the experience of working with these people for three years. Bugti sahab is a brave man and he values his word.”

Commenting on the premier’s “surprise” for the opposition, the PPP chairman said that PM Imran had “lost his power”.

“This is all propaganda and it won’t work because the people of Pakistan know that Naya Pakistan mean inflation and unemployment. The people will not fall into the same trap again no matter what they say.”

FAWAD’S CLAIM: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary appeared unperturbed with the development and was confident that Bugti will “come back tomorrow”.

“Asad Umar will meet Shahzain Bugti tomorrow [Monday],” he revealed.

The minister said that previously too, four out of 12 people, who had announced their decision to leave the ruling party, chose the path to return. “Up until an hour before the no-confidence vote, the situation will keep on changing.”


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