DERA GHAZI KHAN: At a time when supporters of the political parties have become quite expressive and assertive, a group of youngsters gave a tough time to tribal chief Jamal Khan Leghari when he recently visited the constituency to seek votes.

A video went viral on a social media website showing a group of youngsters hailing from tribal area Rounghin Tuman Leghari embarrassing Jamal Leghari, son of former president of Pakistan Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari, with pointed questions.

“Where had you been so long and why have you come now,” one of them asked.

Mr Leghari replied he was in the neighbourhood to pay condolences. “There have been many deaths in the last five years, where were you then?” asked locals. “Have you ever wondered why your constituents are upset?”

A visibly shaken politician tried to pacify them by reminding them that it was he who gave them development projects including a 45km road. For a moment he also lost his cool saying, “you are grilling me just for one parchi (vote)”, but then asked the youngsters to sit with him to have a discussion.

Jamal Leghari, along with his cousin Ahmed Khan Leghari (son of former Senator Mansoor Ahmed Khan Leghari), visited the area that falls in NA-191, where Awais Leghari is contesting against Zartaj Gull of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Dost Muhammad Khosa as an independent candidate.

The Legharis of the PML-N, led by tribal chief Jamal Leghari and his younger brother Awais Leghari, are also steering the election campaign of party president Shahbaz Sharif who is contesting from NA-192.

It is believed that growing awareness and access to social media have somewhat emboldened people, especially the youth, who want to have their say on political issues. The downside is there are hardly any regulations and it makes it all the more necessary for the political figures to be careful while conducting themselves in public.

In reply to a message by this correspondent, Awais Leghari said a group of 10 to 15 youngsters expressed their grievances which is a common practice in all the constituencies. Unfortunately, he said, the incident had been blown out of proportion.

“Our people have a right to express themselves. We are democratic people and treat them as our brothers and encourage them to voice their opinions,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2018