Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik has refuted the perception that he is a chief executive only in the name and that the actual powers are in the hands of the provincial civil bureaucracy, headed by the chief secretary.
“It is absolutely incorrect to suggest that the chief secretary is the decision-making authority in the province and I am a powerless chief minister,” CM Malik said in an annoyed tone.
“I have all powers and authority prescribed for the provincial chief executive in the Constitution and the chief secretary is discharging his duties in accordance with the rules and procedure,” Malik said in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune on Tuesday in Islamabad.
Recently, Senator Mir Hasil Bizenjo, acting president of the Balochistan’s ruling National Party (NP), had told the media that the provincial cabinet was a toothless body without any authority.
“We have been given the right to rule the province but we are denied decisions-making powers,” Bizenjo had said.
Dr Malik – who had also served as the president of the ruling NP till his election as the provincial chief minister in June – said that his party’s leader had been quoted by the media out of context.
An official in Quetta said the provincial chief secretary – who has been sent from Punjab – was exercising all the administrative powers and there was little role of the chief minister and his cabinet members in decision-making.
Malik defended the chief secretary against the allegations and said the chief secretary and the inspector-general of police, who was also from Punjab, were serving Balochistan with exemplary commitment and remarkable integrity.
The chief minister admitted that ‘some’ of the newly elected councilors of local bodies from Makran division had resigned their offices after they received life threats by Baloch militants.
“No doubt the newly elected councilors are still being abducted in Makran division by militants,” the CM said.
He claimed that 10 to 12 newly elected councilors resigned their offices after they were abducted by insurgents. All of them had been elected from the chief minister’s own constituency in Makran division which is also his home town.
About the improving law and order situation in the province, Malik said the December 7 elections for over 7,000 local bodies’ seats were held in a better security environment as compared to the May 11 general elections. “Over 6,500 councilors have been elected for the local governments,” he added.