Exploring Journey of Balochistan Assembly

Rehmat Ullah
Balochistan Assembly (BA) came into being in 1972. The inaugural session of the first assembly was held on April 26, 1972 which was presided over by Khan Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai who administered oath from its members. There were a total of 20 members hitherto in the house. Then Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto dissolved the assembly and imposed governor rule (Governor Raj) and appointed Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti as governor Balochistan on February 14, 1973.

During the first assembly, Khan Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai presented the first adjournment motion in the House. Jam Ghulam Qadir tabled the first privileged motion and Shahnawaz Shahliani spoke first on ‘point of order’ while Maulana Syed Shams-ud-Din presented the first official resolution regarding imposition of ban on sale of wine in the province.

Read also: Historical Background of Balochistan Assembly Building
The inaugural session of the second assembly was held on March 31, 1977 which was presided over by outgoing speaker Sardar Muhammad Khan Barozai. The number of seats was raised to 43 in the house. The assembly functioned only 96 days. Then, General Zia-ul-Haq imposed martial law and dissolved the assembly on July 5, 1977.
The first session of third assembly was held on March 23, 1985 which was presided over by Nawab Temoor Shah Jogezai. Then, General Zia dissolved the assembly in May the same year.
The opening session of fourth assembly was held on November 3, 1988. Outgoing speaker Malik Sarwar Khan Kakar chaired the session. The then governor Balochistan general (Retd.) Muhammad Musa Khan dissolved the assembly on December 16, 1988. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti challenged the dissolution of the assembly in Balochistan High Court-BHC through his counsel, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who became chief justice of Pakistan. A full bench of BHC declared the dissolution of the house as illegal and restored the assembly on January 18, 1989. Finally, the assembly was dissolved on August 8, 1990.
Then, the fifth assembly came into existence after election as its inaugural session was held on November 17, 1990. Outgoing speaker Zahoor Hussain Khosa chaired the session. The house was dissolved on July 11, 1993.
The swearing-in session of sixth assembly was held after 1993 elections on October 18, 1993 which was presided over by the leaving speaker Malik Sikandar Khan advocate. The house was dissolved in November 1996.

After the February 1997 elections, the seventh assembly came into being with its inaugural session held on February 11, 1997. The session was chaired by retiring speaker Waheed Baloch. The house was dissolved on October 12, 1999.

Following the October 2002 general elections, the eighth and first historic graduate assembly came into being as its first session was held on November 28, 2002. The session was chaired by outgoing speaker Abdul Jabbar Khan. The number of members was increased to 51 general seats and 14 reserved seats including 11 for women and three for minorities (total 65 seats which is still intact). It was the first assembly which completed its five years term for the first in history in November 2007. The assembly-2002/07 will be remembered with having the strongest opposition comprising Baloch and Pashtoon nationalists in the history of Balochistan.

The general elections were held on February 18, 2008. All Baloch and Pashtoon nationalist parties including National Party, Balochistan National Party-Mengal and Pashtunkhawa Milli Awami Party boycotted the elections. These nationalist parties play a significant role in the parliamentary proceeding of the house particularly when they sit in the opposition benches.
The first session of the ninth assembly was held on April 7, 2008. The session was devoted to swearing-in of the newly elected members of the house by the outgoing Speaker, Jamal Shah Kakar.
The swearing-in session of newly elected members of the tenth assembly was held on June 1st, 2013. Outgoing Speaker Syed Matiullah Agha administered the oath to the newly elected members of the house.
After the July 25 last elections, the swearing-in session of newly elected members of 11th assembly was held on Monday, August 13, 2018. Outgoing speaker Raheela Hameed Khan Durrani chaired a session and administered the oath to the elected members of the incumbent house.
Interesting highlights of Balochistan Assembly:
No single party has so far formed its government in Balochistan. Jamiat Ulema Islam has always remained part of every coalition government in Balochistan from 1970s except Dr. Malik and Sanaullah Zehri led governments (2013-18) but it remained part of the Quddus Bizinjo-led government after January 2018. The coalition government of NAP and Jamiat declared Urdu as national language in 1970s. The first Balochistan finance minister Ahmed Nawaz Bugti used to speak in English in the house. He also presented the first budget of the province in English language in 1972. Shahnawaz Shahliani used to speak poems of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai in Sindhi language in the house. Khan Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai presented Pashto verses of Rehman Baba and Khoshhal Khan Khatak and Persian poems in his discussion in the assembly. The previous assembly elected its leader of the house thrice including Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch, Mir Sanaullah Zehri and Mir Quddus Bizinjo. Dr. Malik Baloch happens to be the first chief minister being from middle class.
The writer is a former policy development officer and member research committee of NACTA. He can be reached at ullah.rehmat@hotmail.com.
DisclaimerViews expressed in this article are those of the author and Balochistan Voices not necessarily agrees with them.
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