A leader of men

November 13, 2022

Sardar Mir Balakh Sher Mazari, a former caretaker prime minister, was laid to rest at his home town in Rojhan last Sunday

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ardar Mir Balakh Sher Mazari, the chief of the Mazari tribe, breathed his last at a private hospital in Lahore on November 4. He was 94. The body was taken to Rojhan in Rajanpur district, where thousands of people participated in the funeral prayers. Those in attendance included former prime minister Senator Yousaf Raza Gilani; Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Raja Riaz; Nawazbzada Shahzain Bugti; several leaders from Gulf countries, besides political leaders and workers from all four provinces. Mazari’s grandson Dost Muhammad Mazari, a former deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly; MNA Sardar Riaz Mahmood Mazari, Sardar Tariq Mahmood Mazari; Sardar Zahid Khan Mazari and several PTI dissidents were also present on the occasion.

Mir Balakh Sher was born in 1928 in Kot Karam Khan. After finishing secondary school at Aitchison College, Lahore, in 1945, he went on to live in Rojhan-Mazari. He took to electoral politics in 1951 and was elected a member of the National Assembly as well as a member of the Provincial Assembly.

Mir Balakh Sher was one of the tribal chiefs who, in 1951-52, signed the annexation of nine tribal areas belonging to various Baloch tribes residing in the Koh-i-Sulaiman range, with the Punjab. He was also head of the joint jirgasin which the sardars of Sindh, Balochsitan and Khyber Paktunkhwa participated together. He is remembered as a fair and impartial leader who never succumbed to pressure. He was also credited with establishing peace in the region.

As the senior most tribal chief, maintenance of law and order was his prime responsibility. Whenever a major conflict was reported, he would convene a jirga in Dera Ghazi Khan, Once he made a ruling, there was no dissent. He was the tumandar and undisputed head of the Mazari tribe that resides in the bordering the Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. As a tumandar, he had been the protector of non-Baloch tribes in the area. He was highly respected by the tribes and was elected to the National Assembly on several occasions.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif expressed grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Mir Balakh Sher Mazari and said that his services for the nation will be always remembered.

In April 1993 then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed the government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif,accusing him of corruption and economic mismanagement, and dissolved the National and Provincial Assemblies. Khan then appointed Mir Balakh Sher Mazari the caretaker prime minister to oversee the general election. His term ended quickly when the Supreme Court set aside the presidential order and reinstated Sharif.

His son Sardar Riaz Mahmood Khan Mazari was elected to the National Assembly from NA-195 (Rajanpur-III) on a Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf ticket in the 2018 general elections. His grandson Mir Dost Mohammad Mazari was the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly during the PTI government. His son Sardar Zahid Mahmmod Mazari is a former provincial minister of and his son Sardar Tariq Mahmood Mazaria retired senior bureaucrat. His younger brother, the late Sher Baz Mazari was the founding president of the National Democratic Party.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed grief and sorrow over the sad demise of Mir Balakh Sher Mazari and said that his services for the nation will always be remembered. He was the head (tumandar) of the Mazari tribe over a difficult period and played a substantial positive role in the country’s politics. Sharif also said that Balakh Sher Mazari was a key person one looked up toin politics, both at the national and provincial levels.

The prime minister prayed to Allah Almighty to grant strength to the bereaved family to bear the loss with fortitude and the departed soul eternal peace in heaven. On the occasion of his funeral, former Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani said that his role in politics would be remembered forever and that he had left a significant legacy. Gillani hoped that his heirs would carry the legacy of forward. Sardar Riaz Mahmmod Mazari, said there was no doubt that Mir Balakh Sher’s was a memorable name in national politics. He said the family will carry the proud legacy forward.

The writer is a reporter for The News International

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