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Where only chiefs dare

May 08, 2013


DERA GHAZI KHAN, May 7: Rajanpur, which became a district in 1982, touches Sindh and the troubled Bugti areas of Balochistan. The major stakeholders in its politics are: Mazaris of Rujhan, Darishaks of Asni, Gorchanis of Lalgarh, Lounds of Loundi Syedawn, Koreejas of Kot Mithan Sharif and Syeds of Jampur. Legharis wield some influence from their base of Choti Zaireen in Dera Ghazi Khan district. Like DG Khan, Rajanpur district is divided into two administrative parts: the settled area looked after by the Punjab police and the tribal area guarded by the Border Military Police.

Mazaris of Rajanpur have been prominent in local and politics. Sher Baz Mazari headed the National Democratic Party for many years. His brother, the chief of the Mazari tribe, Mir Balkh Sher Mazari, performed the duties of caretaker prime minister in the 1990s. Another member of the tribe, Shaukat Mazari held the post of the deputy speaker of the Punjab Assembly.

There is evidence of something brewing within the prominent political families here this time. These revolts make the contest all the more exciting. Another interesting aspect is the arrival here of a chief from the outside -- ex-chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, who is fighting for a Punjab Assembly seat in Rajanpur. The PP-247, where Shahbaz is in the race, is adjacent to the troubled Bugti-dominated area of Balochistan and notorious for criminal activities.

Shahbaz has been imported into the district by Jaafar Leghari, a PML-N nominee for NA-174. In the year 2008, Jaafar Leghari was elected from here as a PML-Q nominee, defeating Nasrullah Darishak by 10,000 votes. Jaafar appeared weaker against Darishak, who has been working diligently in the constituency over the last few years. The PML-N candidate seeks to prop up his campaign against his formidable opponent by bringing in the celebrity element in the ever too visible Shahbaz Sharif.

As in 2008, Nasrullah Darishak is in the run as an independent. PPP has fielded Khwaja Kaleem Koreeja and Abdul Razaq is the PTI nominee. Many observers say Darishak is ahead in a one-on-one contest with Leghari.

The Gorchani tribe has traditionally dominated the PP-247 and PP-248 which fall under NA-174. Nasrullah Darishak’s son, former provincial finance minister Hasnain Bahadur Darishak, is challenging Shahbaz Sharif, the outsider, in PP-247. Hasnain has the support of the Seraiki nationalists while the Gorchani tribe has been divided into two factions. The PPP has nominated Waqas Gorchani for this seat while one part of the family, including PML-N’s 2008 MPA, Sardar Sher Ali Khan Gorchani, is supporting Shahbaz. PTI interest is represented by Mirza Abdul Karim Gugan. The Shahbaz campaign is by and large focused on creating the impression that the PML-N is all set to form the next government, both in Punjab and in Islamabad.

In PP-248, Sardar Athar Hasan Gorchani, who won in 2008 and later joined the PPP, will try to retain the seat. He is pitted against his cousin, Sher Ali Gorchani, a former MPA from PP-247 who has been shifted here to create room for Shahbaz Sharif in PP-247. Hasnain Bahadur Darishak is also in the run as an independent candidate to take benefit of the fight between the two cousins. A triangular fight is expected.

NA-175 falls in the areas dominated by the Mazaris and Darishaks, with the Pirs of Kot Mithan Sharif also having considerable political influence. Dost Muhammad Mazari, elected as a PPP man in 2008, is now contesting as an independent. The PPP has fielded Chand Khan Darishak and the PML-N tag is worn by Dr Hafeez-ur-Rehman Darishak, who was a PPP candidate in PP-250 in 2008. Pir Amir Sharif Koreeja, a former PP supporter and great grandson of Hazrat Khawja Ghulam Farid, is trying his luck on PTI ticket here. Dost Mohammed Mazari, a grandson of the chief of the Mazari tribe, has edge.

Nasrullah Darishak as an independent is a strong candidate in the Darishak-dominated area that falls within PP-249. His challengers are Tariq Darishak of PML-N and Yousuf Gabol of PPP. A retired army officer, Farooq Buzdar, carries the PTI flag.

PP-250 falls in area under considerable Mazari influence. Former PML-N’s Atif Mazari faces his cousin, independent candidate Zahid Mazari here. Zahid is a son of the chief of the Mazari tribe, Mir Balkh Sher Mazari. There will be hot contest between the two Mazaris here.