Mengal in contact with Opp as PTI fails to woo him back into coalition

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Shafaqna Pakistan: A government delegation on Saturday night met Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal but failed to convince him to re-join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led coalition.

The delegation, comprising Defence Minister Pervaiz Khattak and Planning Minister Asad Umar met Mengal at his residence in the Parliament Lodges and requested him to withdraw the decision to part ways with the government.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had tasked the ministers to listen to the grievances of BNP-Mengal and convince him to reverse the decision, he had announced on the floor of the National Assembly the other day. During the meeting, Pervaiz Khattak and Asad Umar requested Sardar Akhtar Mengal to withdraw the decision but he refused to do so and thus the meeting remained fruitless.

Talking to media after the meeting, Mengal said that he could not violate the decision of the party “We have put our concerns before the government delegation,” he said. Responding to a question, the BNP-M chief said that Prime Minister Imran Khan had not contacted him directly so far.

He also said that his party was in contact with the opposition leadership and “distance between us is narrowing”.

Addressing reporters, Khattak said that the BNP’s reservations would be removed soon and there would be further meetings with Sardar Akhtar Mengal.

Asad Umar said that PTI believed that the country would not be able to make progress if every part of the country was not developed and given due rights.

It may be recalled that Mengal recently announced his separation from the ruling coalition and the Jamhoori Watan Party of Nawab Shazain Bugti had also started considering splitting from the coalition. BNP-Mengal has four NA seats.

BNP-Mengal had decided to side with PTI after the 2018 general election, putting before the party leadership six major demands, which included recovery of the missing persons in Balochistan and implementation of the National Action Plan and repatriation of the Afghan refugees and mainstreaming of the province. It is pertinent to mention that before the separation of the BNP, the PTI government had 186 seats in the National Assembly with the support of all allies, which has now been reduced to 182 after the separation of the BNP-M. A simple majority of 172 members is required, which is still being maintained.

PML-N Senator Kalsoom Parveen on the floor of the Senate during the ongoing budget discussion, claimed that the government would not be able to get the budget through the National Assembly in the given situation inside the parliament.

Earlier during an All Parties Conference convened by Jamiat Uelma-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Akhtar Mengal responding to a question, said his party would rejoin the government coalition once the federal government announced to fulfill its promise and accept BNP’s demands. “I am not an individual to quit the coalition as the decision in this regard was taken by the party’s central executive committee,” he said.

He said previously the BNP-M continued to warn the PTI government while reminding it of its promises. “I think it has never happened in the country’s history that a party announced to part ways with the government on floor of Parliament,” he said. To another question, Akhtar Mengal suggested that a comparison should be made between wealth and properties of three dictators like Pervez Musharraf, Ayub Khan and Zialul Haq with all Nawabs and Sardars of Balochistan.