August 12, 2023

By Xari Jalil 


Senator Anwaar ul Haq Kakar from the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) is getting ready to  take his oath as caretaker Prime Minister. But while the unexpected contender drew a reaction of surprise after he was appointed on Saturday, August 12, it also became clear that not everyone supported the choice.

Meanwhile, the outgoing PM Shahbaz Sharif and Opposition Leader unanimously approved his name. President Arif Alvi formally approved Kakar’s appointment as well.

Senator Kakar’s name was not previously on the list of candidates being considered for the country’s chief executive position, making his selection all the more surprising.

Notably, he is the second Prime Minister from Balochistan after Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, who held the office from 2002 to June 2004.

However while all those in favour of his appointment are trying to sell the fact that he comes from a marginalized province, others do not think it enough reason.

The most detailed point of view was floated on Twitter in the form of an open letter to Mian Nawaz Sharif by Akhtar Mengal, President of Balochistan National Party, which has often been at loggerheads with Kakar’s Balochistan Awami Party (BAP).

Recounting the issues of countless enforced disappearances, the discrimination towards the people of Balochistan through unfair resource allocation, lack of basic necessities, and security issues like death squads etc, Mengal said it had happened continuously over the past two regimes.

“We thought this time, like the last time, that maybe after those bitter experiences, your party would have realized by now, but your party has failed us as before,” he write in his scathing note to the PMLN supremo. “I wish we had the history of the past 76 years in the textbooks of Pakistan Studies; maybe we would have learned from history. Today, the nomination of such a person as the prime minister, whose debate as the prime minister, has not closed the doors of politics for us, but your decisions like this have created more distance between us and you.”

Likewise, former Senator Farhatullah Babar who is known for his activism for human rights and democracy also wrote on Twitter:

“Dismayed at the audacity and eagerness to whitewash the masters against facts, logic & reason. Shocked at the sprinkling of salt on the wounds of victims. But understand better what qualifications r needed to be a caretaker PM”

Meanwhile, Balochistan-based journalist Kiyya Baloch, informed that Senator Kakar had also founded an NGO named “Voice of Balochistan” in 2016, with the aim of showcasing a positive image of Balochistan and integrating Baloch youth into mainstream activities.

However public records indicate that the NGO received funding from both the Balochistan government and Commander Southern Command. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) issued a notice in March 2021, requesting comprehensive details regarding the NGO’s registration and related records.



And while Mushaid Husain welcomed Kakar in the cabinet, political analyst Ayesha Siddiqa instantly brought the NAB case to the forefront.

At the same time, Nasrullah Baloch, a prominent figure within Balochistan’s human rights circles, the President of the Voice of Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) spoke to and said that Kakar had always taken the government and the state’s side even when it came to issues concerning the people of Balochistan such as missing persons and enforced disappearances.

“He has never condemned these incidents,” said Baloch. “We all want free fair and trial for the missing persons. But take his speeches and statements of the past, and we can see that instead of outright condemnation for such incidents, he has always spoken the state’s language. Even as a politician, he has had no role in trying to solve the problems faced by the people of Balochistan. On the whole we are not hopeful with his appointment.”

Life and Political Career

Originating from Quetta, Kakar’s political journey commenced during the 2008 elections. He initially affiliated with the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) and also contested the election from NA 259 but lost.

He later joined the PML(N) in 2013. Kakar’s public prominence rose significantly in December 2015, when he assumed the role of spokesperson for the Balochistan government.

In 2018, Kakar won the Senate Elections as an independent candidate. He played a pivotal role in the formation of the Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) in March 2018, alongside other political leaders who defected from the PML-N in December 2017.

Known for his pro-establishment stance, Kakar has consistently aligned with the military establishment’s views on numerous matters, including the contentious issue of missing persons.

Meanwhile, Shahzada Zulifqar, a senior journalist and former president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), says that Kakar’s enjoys remarkable rapport with Baloch tribes and his proven capacity to successfully undertake any assigned task.

In an other controversy encompassing him, in 2019, Kakar was appointed as the head of the Parliamentary Committee to Protect Minorities from Forced Conversions.

Following the committee’s exploration of various regions in Sindh and interactions with the families of victims, Kakar articulated the viewpoint that conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh cannot be universally categorized as forced conversions.

He added that while conversions for improved livelihoods might be seen as forced due to economic pressure, they could also be construed as consent-based decisions.


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