For those who don’t know, the National Party is one of the ruling parties in Balochistan at the moment. It’s the party of the so-called “middle class” Chief Minister of Balochistan, Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch. It is the epitome of what’s wrong with political parties of the province.
On June 7, 5 Hazaras were gunned down in broad daylight in Quetta. As a natural reaction, Hazara political parties announced a shutter down strike in the city the following day. This strike was implicitly against the government for its failure to apprehend the killers of Hazaras. Surprisingly, the National Party also supported the strike and instructed its workers to ensure its success. Now, this resulted in a rather ironic situation because the strike was originally against the National Party led government and they decided to support it. So, in essence the National Party opposed itself by supporting the strike.
This is not the first time National Party has indulged into such absurdities. When famous cardiologist Munaf Tareen was kidnapped from Quetta, doctors of the province started the boycott of their hospital duties. Dr. Malik Baloch, while addressing the doctors said that he supports their strike because he is also a doctor.
The National Party is currently enjoying power in Balochistan with just 10 out of 65 members of Balochistan assembly. This party was formed in 2003 when Balochistan National Democratic Party (BNDP) and Balochistan National Movement (BNM-Hayee) merged together. The National Party boycotted general elections in 2008 but it soon regretted its deciosn. That’s why the party contested the 2009 Senate elections. In 2013 the National Party managed to win only 10 seats in the general elections which were termed as free and fair by former Senator Sanaullah Baloch.
Immediately after coming into power, the National Party led government raised the slogan of merit and only merit. Condemning the massive corruption during government of Nawab Raisani, Dr. Malik and company announced to end culture of nepotism and favoritism in job recruitment. The people of Balochistan initially believed the claims of the National Party but soon reality hit them in the face.
The National Party continued the practice of recruiting its party members and loyalists on key positions. Today, Abdul Khaliq Baloch, the general secretary of the Balochistan chapter of the National Party is the Chairman of Board of Directors of Quetta Electricity Supply Company (QESCO). He has a ceremonial role without powers but enjoys the perks and privileges. Dr. Ishaque Baloch, another leader of the party, is the Coordinator of Chief Minister’s Policy Reforms Unit (CMPRU). Again there is nothing to do in this capacity other than collecting half a million monthly salary. Aslam Baloch a local leader of the party is the head of project of the newly approved Khuzdar Medical College. This project only exists in papers yet but National party leader is drawing his hefty salary form the funds allocated for this project. These are just a few glimpses of the merit culture introduced by the National Party in Balochistan.
The Chief Minister belonging to the National Party has been repeating one thing since day one of his government that all is well. He claims to have improved the law and order situation and even governance. Apart from the most naïve supporters of the National Party, it’s hard for anyone to buy the party’s claims. On June 7, Dr Malik was addressing the Punjab chapter of National Party in Lahore. In his speech he claimed that “Our government has brought an end to killing of Hazaras in streets of Quetta.” Coincidentally, 5 Hazaras were gunned after an hour and Dr. Malik had to cut his Lahore visit short and rushedto Quetta to pacify Hazara protestors. That’s one example of far-fetched and unrealistic claims made by the party and its incompetent Chief Minister Dr. Malik Baloch.
Moreover, last month the National Party presented a paper during the convention of its Punjab Chapter in Lahore. The fourth point of the paper states that the National Party government has established 6 new universities and 3 Medical colleges in Balochistan. The paper further claims that even admissions in these institutes have been started. Truth is that the National Party government has only established one new university in its tenure i.e. University of Turbat. That university was also an upgradation of a sub-campus into a full-fledged university. Claims about 5 other universities and 3 medical colleges are simply mind boggling concoctions. The National Party made this claim assuming that its workers in Punjab will not be aware of the situation in Balochistan. Thanks to social media, white lies were clearly exposed.
According to Muree accord signed between the National Party, PML-N and PKMAP, Dr. Malik will have to quit the Chief Minister’s office in December this year. Realizing that the days of the National Party in power are limited, their leaders have started giving startling statements about the rights of Baloch people. The same Baloch people that they ignored during their two and half year rule in the province.
After quitting the government, the National Party will emerge as one of the most vocal defendants of Baloch rights and will play the deprivation card. The party and all of its leaders will be at the forefront of protesting for the rights of Baloch people. Those protests will continue until the National Party gains power again.
Author’s Note: This article in no way claims that National Party is the only source of problem in Balochistan.