If sources within the PML-N are to be believed Dr Abdul Malik Baloch, Chief Minister Balochistan, will continue to hold office for the remainder of the term and the decision has already been communicated to Sanaullah Zehri, the contender from PML-N.
The decision to continue with Dr Abdul Malik who is leading the coalition government in Balochistan was taken after various stakeholders including the military establishment showed its comfort with the incumbent and appreciated his role in bringing political stability back to the province.
Murree deal: PML-N undecided over replacing Balochistan CM
In 2013, after the general elections, PML-N had entered into a coalition with National Party (NP) of Dr Abdul Malik and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party of Mehmood Khan Ackakzai. It was decided then that NP will hold office of the Chief Minister for half the term at the start and a PML-N nominee will take charge for the latter half of the term.
Sardar Sanaullah Zehri, the provincial President of PML-N had hoped that he will be taking charge of the office by the end of 2015. But it seems cards are not stacked in a way that majority of the stakeholders do not want to change the setup in restive Balochistan.
Sources claim that PMPKAP has also communicated to PML-N that though they are signatories of the agreement between the three parties they will also prefer to continue with the current arrangement.
Balochistan deal: Sanaullah Zehri says he will be the next CM
Politically speaking PML-N also understands that the middle class leadership of Dr Malik has helped heal some of the wounds of Balochistan and appointing a tribal chief to the office of the Chief Minister may again bring in tribal rivalries into governance.
Past governments in Balochistan have been bogged down by tribal enmities and corruption. Dr Malik is credited with reaching out to separatist Baloch leaders and bringing them to the talks table and has made some progress in getting militants back to normal life. He has also repeatedly approached self-exiled Khan of Qalat to come back to Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 28th, 2015.