LAHORE: Three noted clans of Dera Ghazi Khan - Legharis, Dareshaks and Buzdars - are in race to get Prime Minister Imran Khan’s nod for by-polls in PP-292 which is vacated by PTI Muhammad Khan Leghari.
Having won from two seats, Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari of PTI has taken oath in National Assembly. Muhammad Khan Leghari is the son of former district Nazim, and many times MPA Sardar Maqsood Khan Leghari, and is closely related to late Sardar Farooq, but politically represents a rival group since 2000.
He won the PP-292 seat after a very tough contest against Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, son of late Sardar Farooq. For the first time in 30 years, the family of Sardar Farooq Khan Leghari is out of the power politics but it could make a comeback in by-polls.
Sardar Maqsood Leghari is also actively lobbying to get party ticket from the seat vacated by his son and a general notion in party circles is that he could be the likely candidate despite his old age which could also become an advantage for him in the rural part of district where being an elderly figure, he could get vote as a token of respect from the tribesmen, believe the local people.
Atif Dareshak is the brother of MPA Ahmed Ali Dareshak and both are sons of Nawazish Ali Dareshak. This group is also related to Sardar Nasar Ullah Khan Dareshak who is an MNA and his both sons are sitting MPAs. However, in PTI, the group of Atif Dareshak and Ahmed Raza Dareshak has its own individual identity.
Both Atif and Ahmed Raza have the longest affiliation with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf whereas rest of them joined PTI just a few months before polls and at a time, when Imran’s victory was very much expected.
Third group lobbying to get the PP-292 ticket is of Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar. Sources said that this group is lobbying for Dr Saeed Ahmed Buzdar, who joined PTI while ending his years long affiliation with PPP in 2014. Dr Saeed Buzdar was PPP MNA ticket holder against Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari in 2002 and he got over 6,000 votes in that contest.
In 2008, Dr Saeed Buzdar was very close to victory but lost to PML-Q’s Mohsin Leghari. In that contest, Mohammed Khan Leghari stood number three and Q league won that seat from the jaws of defeat.
Dr Saeed Buzdar is a graduate from Nishtar Medical College, Multan and is also related to the CM. He claims himself to be the true representative of the middle class and believes that if he is awarded the ticket, it would be a great token of respect to the people of Buzdar clan, living in Choti Zaireen area where according to him only their registered vote is over 25000. Sources stated that group of Atif Dareshak and Usman Buzdar also closely linked and could support each other in case either withdraws in the favour of others. PTI has a real contest in this constituency as in case party fields Maqsood Leghari or his son Hussein, the other groups, as a gesture of resentment may vote against this party ticket holder, thus making PML-N candidate Awais Leghari, the ultimate beneficiary. Awais had lost this poll with a very close margin in the hands of Mohammed Khan Leghari.
The history of PP-292, Dera Ghazi Khan-VIII, shows that that it has been the home seat of Legharis. It falls in Choti Zaireen area of the district. Former President of Pakistan Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari, his sons or the members of his groups had won from this seat in most of the times, sometimes on the ticket of PPP, sometimes as the National Alliance candidates or sometimes as independents. In 1988, 1990 and 1993 general elections, Farooq Leghari won both National and the said provincial seat, which used to be PP-203 then on PPP ticket and in 1997, it was Sardar Rafique Ahmed Leghari, another member of his group who won from here as independent candidate while defeating Meer Mohammed Mirza Khan Talpur of PML-N.
Sardar Maqsood Ahmed Khan Leghari also got elected consecutively on the provincial seats and even served as provincial minister while the group of Legharis was intact.
Split in the ranks of Leghari started in the year 2000 over the poll of district Nazim when late Sardar Farooq Khan was willing to field his elder son Jamal Khan Leghari for the slot whereas Farooq’s cousin wanted to contest himself. As a result of this split, two groups emerged in the Leghari clan, one led by Sadar Farooq Ahmed Khan and the other by his cousin Sardar Maqsood.
In the 2001 district Nazim election, the group of Sardar Farooq Leghari won and his son Jamal was elected as the DG Khan Nazim while defeating his uncle.
In 2005, Sardar Maqsood Khan Leghari, while joining hands with Khosas won the District Nazim slot and group of Sardar Farooq suffered defeat. However, in general elections, the group of Sardar Farooq Leghari continued its winning streak for almost next decade.
In 2002 general elections, Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari, who by then had formed his own party in the name of National Alliance won this seat once again and defeated Mohammed Khan Leghari, son of Maqsood Leghari.
In the by-polls, it was Mohsin Leghari, son of former MPA Rafique Leghari, won the seat while defeating Hussain Leghari, son of Sardar Maqsood. In 2008, the group of Sardar Maqsood Leghari suffered defeat once again in the hands of Farooq Leghari’s group when Mohsin Leghari won again while defeating Sardar Mohammed Khan Leghari. Sardar Farooq won the NA seat. After the death of Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan in 2010, his son Awais also got elected from the vacant NA seat. The group of Sardar Maqsood emerged victorious when in 2012 by-polls, this seat was vacated by Mohsin Leghari who got elected as Senator. In that poll, both the Leghari groups buried the hatchets and Mohammed Khan Leghari won the seat.
Sardar Jamal Leghari got elected as MPA in 2013 as independent candidate and joined PML-N.
In the 2018 general elections, the group of late Sardar Farooq Leghari suffered defeat and Awais Leghari lost from the provincial seat with a margin of just less than 500 votes. This is noteworthy that Mohsin Leghari, a member of Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari’s group since 2008, along with his uncle Sardar Jaffer Khan joined PTI just a couple of months before polls and they were fielded from Rajanpur. The fresh delimitations and farewell of old friends from the group of Sardar Farooq is also stated as one the reasons for its defeat. Mohsin Leghari in 2002 by-polls and 2008 general elections defeated both sons of Sardar Maqsood including Mohammed Khan and Hussein Khan.