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Leghari, Mazari tribes bury the hatchet: Major political move

February 11, 2005

MULTAN, Feb 10: In a far-reaching political development in the districts of Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpur, the arch-rival Leghari and Mazari tribal chiefs have joined hands to support each other on the local front irrespective of their party affiliations.

The alliance of both local and national political giants was formally announced at a big public gathering organized at Rojhan, the headquarters of the Mazari tribe chiefs in Rajanpur.

Leghari tribe chief Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan and Mazari tribe chief and former caretaker prime minister Mir Balakh Sher Mazari were there to attend the ceremony held at outhouse of former MPA Farhat Aziz Mazari.

Sardar Leghari, a former president, said on the occasion there had been political rivalries in the past among the Baloch tribes of Dera and Rajanpur but none had used the police force to denigrate the opponents because civility and tolerance were once the hallmark of area politics.

However in the recent times, he said, the unwritten code of ethics among the (Baloch) politicians of the area had been violated especially in the Rajanpur district and consequently, the police had started exercising unbridled authority. He said the Leghari-Mazari alliance would bring back decency in the area politics.

Dera Ghazi Khan District Nazim Jamal Leghari, Rajanpur District Nazim Hafeezur Rehman Dreshak and MPAs Amanullah Dreshak and Ghizali Raheem Pitafi were said to be prominent in the gathering, besides notables of both the tribes.

In the last general elections of 2002, the Legharis were aligned with the Dreshaks in Rajanpur against Mazaris and Gorchanis. The Leghari-Dreshak alliance had won all the national and provincial assembly seats in the district. But later the Dreshak chief parted ways with the Legharis and carved a niche for himself in the post-election scene when his old friends - the Chaudhrys of Gujrat and the Jamalis of Dera Murad Jamali - were assigned key roles by the power brokers in the country.

Sardar Nasrullah Dreshak bagged the finance ministry portfolio in the Punjab government for his son, Hasnain Bahadur Dreshak, deputy speakership for ally Shaukat Mazari and for himself the slot of chief whip after the demise of Abdul Sattar Laleka.

Since then there had been rumours that the Leghari-Mazari alliance was in the making. The Mazari chiefs perhaps saw the worst time under the present political set up in their political history. First, they entered into a bloody feud with the neighbouring Bugti tribe and then the Mazaris, including Riaz Mazari, the son of Mir Balakh Sher Mazari, were implicated in criminal cases ranging from murder to kidnapping.

The Legharis and their allies Hafeezur Rehman Dreshak and Amanullah Dreshak have strong presence in the politics of Rajanpur district and, perhaps, owing to this factor Sardar Nasrullah Dreshak had to make an alliance with the Legharis in the general elections of 1997 after being beaten in the previous two elections of 1990 and 1993.

Political analysts say the situation in the next general election will be interesting, as both the Legharis and the Dreshaks would be pitched against each other despite being in the same party - the official Muslim League - while the Legharis will also have to support the Mazaris currently evaluating the political pros and cons if they may join the PPP.