KARACHI / QUETTA: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) continued to strengthen its ranks in Balochistan after a number of senior politicians joined the party.
The experts are seeing these moves as signs of the fast-changing landscape of the country’s largest province during the election year.
According to a statement issued by the Bilawal House, Karachi, former provincial ministers Nawabzada Gazin Marri and Tahir Mahmood, coordinator of the Balochistan chief minister Nawabzada Jamal Raisani and Mir Fareed Raisani joined the PPP.
Other leaders who joined the party included Mir Abdullah Raheja and Mir Allah Bakhsh Rind.
Former senator and federal minister Sardar Fateh Muhammad Hassani also returned to the fold after his membership was reinstated.
Gazin Marri, Jamal Raisani join the party; Sardar Fateh Hassani also returns after five years
The leaders joined the party in a meeting with PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House.
The PPP co-chairman welcomed the new members and said Balochistan and PPP have a historical affiliation. “PPP has always fought for the rights of Balochistan.”
“The PPP is an integral part of Balochistan’s politics, adding that the party will never compromise on its fight for the rights of the Baloch people,” the statement quoted Mr Zardari as saying.
The new group of politicians joined the PPP only a week after several Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leaders parted ways to join the PPP.
These members included MPAs Zahoor Buledi, Saleem Khosa, Arif Muhammad Hasani, Haji Malik Shah Gorej, Mir Wali Muhammad, Mir Asghar Rind, Mir Faiq Jamali, Sardarzada Faisal Jamali, and Agha Shakeel Durrani.
The BAP, which was formed right at the cusp of the 2018 general elections, was in power in Balochistan.
The politicians who have joined the PPP this time come from well-established political families, with a number of them being elected members of provincial and national assemblies in the past.
The two Raisanis — Jamal and Fareed — are nephews of former Balochistan chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani who had recently joined JUI-F
The joining of Mr Marri was significant as his late father, Nawab Khair Bakhsh Marri, never had good political relations with former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto during the PPP government in the 70s.
Mr Marri, a seasoned politician, was elected to the Balochistan Assembly for the first time in 1993 and served as the home and tribal affairs minister in the cabinet of Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, a close relative of Mr Marri.
However, in 2000, he went into self-exile in Dubai and spent 18 years there as the government led by former president retired General Pervez Musharraf registered cases against him.
Later, the Balochistan High Court and other courts acquitted him in all the cases.
The political observers are giving importance to his arrival in the PPP’s fold in view of his political and tribal background.
According to experts, Mr Zardari played a vital role in convincing Mr Marr to end his self-exile and join mainstream politics.
His induction into the party also indicated that Mr Marri will play a key role in the future politics of Balochistan.
Experts say that the return of Sardar Hasni was also not an insignificant move. The membership of the lawmaker from Chagai, and his son Sardar Umair Hasni, was suspended in 2018 when they contested the general election from Chagai against the PPP’s candidate Sardar Umer Gorgaj.
However, after banishing them for around five years, the PPP’s central committee last week restored their membership.