Interview by Adnan Aamir
Note: This interview was originally published in Balochistan Inside Magazine.
Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo is the current Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Awaran district and also happens to be the Deputy Speaker of Balochistan Assembly. Born in 1974 in a political family of Awaran, Abdul Quddus Bizenjo was elected to Balochistan assembly for the first time in 2002 and again in 2013. Balochistan Inside conducted an interview with him while he was the acting Governor of Balochistan.
Adnan Aamir: Please introduce yourself and tell us about your family background?
Abdul Quddus Bizenjo (AQB): My grandfather Abdul Kareem Bizenjo was first person from our family that joined Politics. In 1970, he stood against Shashak a tax imposed [on agriculture production] by Tribal chiefs of Balochistan. During the government of National Awami party (NAP), He refused to pay Shashak tax and was arrested by the provincial government with the help of Army. After dismissal of NAP government my grandfather formed Mazdoor Kissan Party and later merged it with Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). In 1977, He was elected Member of Balochistan Assembly from PPP ticket. My father Abdul Majeed Bizenjo became parliamentary secretary in cabinet of Jam Ghulam Qadir and provincial minister in cabinet of Nawab Akbar Bugti.
In January this year you resigned as deputy speaker, what were the reasons?
AQB: Speaker of Balochistan Assembly, Jan Mohammad Jamali, had completely separated me from the proceedings of assembly. He never provided me the chair to preside over the sessions of Balochistan assembly and I was only receiving my salary and doing nothing. I resigned because I was not allowed to perform my duties as deputy speaker.
Why you withdrew your resignation as deputy speaker?
AQB: Parliamentary leaders of major political parties including Jaffar Khan Mandokhail of PML-Q, Zamaruk Khan Achakzai of ANP and Molana Abdul Wasay of JUI-F came to my home and asked me to withdraw my resignation. They told me that Jan Jamali has resigned and therefore there is no reason that you can’t go resume your duties as Deputy Speaker. So, on their request I withdrew my resignation and resumed my job as deputy speaker.
As caretaker governor, you accepted the resignation of Jan Jamali as Speaker Balochistan. Don’t you think that your decision increased political anarchy in Balochistan?
AQB: No, it was the decision of PML-N to ask Jan Jamali to resign. He was told to either resign or face a no confidence motion. I called Mr. Jan Jamali and asked him to resign if he wanted to avoid a no confidence motion. Jan Jamali had been deputy chairman senate, former Chief Minister of Balochistan and He is a senior politician. So he resigned rather than facing no confidence motion and I, as acting governor, accepted his resignation.
You are MPA from Awaran, are you satisfied with the role of federal and provincial governments in rehabilitation of earthquake victims of 2013?
AQB: I am not satisfied with the relief and rehabilitation efforts being conducted at the moment in Awaran. Provincial government has started Awaran Earthquake Rehabilitation program. There are some bureaucratic hurdles which are causing problems in relief process. There is only one bank which is being used to pay compensation amounts to entire population of Awaran. CNICs of people have been lost in earthquake and there is no relief without CNICs and so on. I recently attended a meeting in Awaran where it was agreed that bureaucratic hurdles would be eliminated and relief process would be made easier for people.
I appreciate the support of Mr. Shehbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab, for earthquake victims of Awaran. Government of Punjab has announced to provide stipends to 500 unemployed graduates of Awaran district and also approved establishment of a hospital in the district. However, Federal government has failed to keep its promises. Federal government has not made any progress on provision of electricity and building of road networks in Awaran as announced right after 2013 earthquake.
In last general elections you bagged only 544 votes to become MPA. Your critics say that you are not the legitimate representative of Awaran. Your response.
AQB: Given the security situation of Awaran at the time of 2013 elections, it was a miracle that I managed to get 544 votes. People were afraid of casting their votes and in such circumstances it’s a huge achievement that I managed to get 544 votes. I was attacked several times before elections and even news channels played tickers that I have been assassinated. In past my grandfather, my father and I have secured over 10,000 votes in different elections from this constituency. If winner in an election secures 100,000 votes and runner up secure 50,000 votes then winner has secured 1 times more votes. However, I secured 544 votes and runner-up got 95 votes which means that I have won by a margin of over 4 times.
What are your comments on the two years of Dr. Malik Baloch led government in Balochistan?
AQB: I am satisfied with the performance of this government. Dr. Malik is weak in administration and that has caused several governance related problems. However He is much better than last Chief Minister.
It’s commonly believed that there are huge differences between you and CM Balochistan. What are the reasons?
AQB: No, there are no personal differences between me and Chief Minister. Some members of his [National] party in Awaran are interfering in projects that belong to me. I have protested against their interference in affairs of Awaran. Dr. Malik Baloch was favoring his party men in earthquake relief works and I objected to that. So that’s the cause of conflicts between me and his party. Other than that there is no major difference between us.
You are one of the youngest political leaders in Balochistan. Do you have any plans for development of Youth in Balochistan?
AQB: I am deputy speaker and not a minister so I have limited capacity to do something for the youth. We get development funds annually and a portion of that is reserved for scholarships. I have provided my share of scholarships to youth for Awaran on merit. Recently, I met with President of Pakistan Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, as acting governor. In my meeting I requested President of Pakistan to increase the quota of Balochistan students in federal universities. I took Khalid Langove, adviser to CM Balochistan on Finance, with me and told president that we are even willing to pay for the expenses of new students in Federal institutes. President assured me that he would take action on this request. At the moment lack of education is the biggest problem in Balochistan and I have made my modest efforts to do something for its improvement.
Dr. Malik’s tenure will end in December this year, according to Muree accord. Do you see any important role for you in the next setup?
AQB: The position of Deputy Speaker has huge respect and grace. I prefer to remain Deputy Speaker for the remaining part of this assembly and don’t seek any ministerial role. The only thing that I want is that new speaker doesn’t interfere in my domain and allow me to work freely. If my party decides some other role for me then I will be ready to take that as well.
You have been a loyal member of PML-Q since 2002. Do you have plans to join PML-N or another party?
AQB: I would remain in PML-Q for the future to come. During 2013 elections majority of our party members joined PML-N but I decided to remain in PML-Q. We plan to bring reforms in our party in Balochistan and try to restore its old glory.
Published in The Balochistan Point on July 25, 2015
Disclaimer: Views expresses in this interview are those of the interviewee and The Balochistan Point not necessarily agrees with them.