“I haven’t joined PTI but have allowed my sons to shake hands with Imran”
JUN 10, 2018 — Days after quitting Nawaz-led ruling party the PML, former prime minister and senior Baloch politician Zafarullah Khan Jamali has upped the ante against the deposed prime minister.
Jamali has criticized Nawaz Sharif’s policies towards his resource-rich province, saying the PML-N-led government has turned Balochistan into ‘Pakhtunistan’ — an apparent pointer at Sharif’s alliances with Mahmood Khan Achakzai’s Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PKMAP) and Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s JUI-F party — both these parties’ stronghold is in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
“I had told Sharif that we can’t walk with people whose forefathers opposed creation of Pakistan, but my words and concerns were ignored by him,” said senior politician Jamali while filing his nomination papers in the returning officer’s office in Dera Murad Jamali on Saturday.
Fareedullah Khan Jamali, Khan Muhammad Jamali, Aurangzeb Jamali and other family members and supporters accompanied Jamali who served as PM from 2002 until his resignation in 2004 during Musharraf rule.
Jamali said, “Back in 2015, I had suggested Sharif to change his team otherwise his party would vanish from Balochistan in 2018. He didn’t take my words seriously at that time and tried to impose Pashtun decisions on the Baloch, which has turned Balochistan into Pathanistan.”
Years later, Nawaz-led coalition government in the province eventually tumbled through a no-confidence motion in the state assembly. PML-N blamed it all on the ‘establishment’.
On the recent announcement of joining Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Jamali said, “Imran Khan and I have been good friends for years. Imran is a junior politician in front of me. I haven’t joined PTI but have allowed my sons to shake hands with Imran.”
One senior media person in Islamabad privy to the development told PKonweb Jamali and his tribe is supporting PTI in Balochistan. He is contesting polls as an “independent” to leverage his position later, a source said.
On upcoming elections, the former prime minister said, “In Pakistan, we have rare examples of free and fair elections. During Yahya Khan’s tenure, in Marri and Bugti areas, turnout of voters had reached more than 100,000 while at that time the population was nearly 66,000.
Balochistan is ground-zero of the huge China Pakistan Economic Corridor with Gwadar port on Arabian Sea to serve as gateway for China, Russia, Central Asian states and Afghanistan access the Middle East and Africa markets. By 2023, the CPEC is expected to be up and running with windfall revenue for the resource-rich-but-restive province and Islamabad, observers say.