The eighth President of Pakistan, Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari, was born on 2 May 1940, in Choti Zareen, a village of Dera Ghazi Khan District, into a political family that has been active in politics since the pre-colonial
Farooq Ahmed Leghari
The eighth President of Pakistan, Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari, was born on 2 May 1940, in Choti Zareen, a village of Dera Ghazi Khan District, into a political family that has been active in politics since the pre-colonial days. Chief of the Leghari tribe Farooq Ahmed Leghari was the major landowner in the area and owned approximately 2,500 acres (10 km2) of land.
After his early education at Aitchison College, Lahore, where he was the Head Boy and was declared the Best Leaving Student of 1957, Farooq Ahmed Leghari graduated with honours from the famous institute of Forman Christian College University, Lahore, where again he was among one of the best students. He then went on to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE) at Oxford University, Great Britain.
After returning to Pakistan he joined the Civil Services of Pakistan and served on assignments in East-Pakistan in the 1960s until 1970 in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). On the death of his father Sardar Muhammad Khan Leghari, he resigned from the service and came back from East Pakistan to look after the affairs of his tribe. He was the head (Tumandar) of the Leghari tribe.
Generally an apolitical and socialist oriented, Farooq Leghari was a party worker of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party in the 1970s and upon the imprisonment of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto he was put under house-arrest several times during the military regime of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.
In 1993, he was finally named as the presidential candidate by Benazir Bhutto due to his apolitical vision. He won the election against Wasim Sajjad to become the eighth President of Pakistan, and the first Baloch to have been elected as president, serving from 14 November 1993 until voluntarily resigning on 2 December 1997. He was merely a constitutional and ceremonial figurehead in the Benazir's government, whilst Benazir Bhutto exercised her authority while running her government.
Surprisingly, in November 1996, utilising his powers under Article 58 2(b) of the Constitution of Pakistan, he dismissed the Peoples' Party Government after being convinced of Benazir Bhutto and her spouse Asif Ali Zardari's involvement in Benazir Bhutto’s younger brother's death and on charges of corruption, lawlessness, extra judicial killings as well as an economic default was reached at that time.
One thing that was not mentioned in the order according to his statement was that there had been a fabrication of the declared Foreign Reserves of Pakistan which was showing an amount of up to 600 million whereas in real, it was 300 million. The discrepancy was said to be caused by the corruption of the government of PPP. This was a violation of International Law and he claimed that if any international organisations were to find out about this, all banks would pull out all loans given to Pakistan and would have gone into instant default.
According to the Constitution of Pakistan, Farooq Leghari held elections for the National Assembly in 1997. The elections were won by the Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Nawaz Sharif was elected Prime Minister. A decisive majority in the lower house of parliament led the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Government to remove the controversial 8th amendment from the constitution of Pakistan.
President Farooq Leghari resigned due to differences with the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif as he was allegedly asked by him to fire the current chief justice. But as this was against his morals, Farooq Leghari resigned and so was unable to complete his 5-year term as President of Pakistan.
Instead of retiring from politics, Farooq Leghari went on to create his own political party, the Millat Party, which entered into a coalition of seven parties, known as the National Alliance, to participate in the general elections of 2002. The National Alliance, emerged as the 3rd largest group in the parliament and won 13 seats in the National Assembly. He entered in a coalition with the majority party to form the government. Thereafter his son Awais Leghari was made a federal minister for Telecom and IT and another of his deputies Yar Mohammad Rind was also made a member in the Federal cabinet. Later Mohammad Ali Durrani and his niece Sumaira Malik from his party were also inducted into the Federal Cabinet.
With National Alliance being merged with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Q) in May 2004 to form united Pakistan Muslim League, Farooq Leghari also became the member of the newly constituted party, with his son Awais Leghari being one of its senior vice presidents. His elder son Jamal Leghari was elected to the Senate of Pakistan.
Sardar Farooq Ahmed Leghari died on 20 October 2010 in Rawalpindi due to a heart related illness. He was undergoing surgery at the Combined Military Hospital, Rawalpindi at the time of his death. Initial reports claimed that he was ill for some time, owing to complications with his heart. After the death of Farooq Khan Leghari his son Jamal Khan Leghari became the 23rd Chief of Leghari tribe.
Sardar Farooq Ahmed Leghari belonged to Saraiki-speaking Baloch family. His father Muhammad Khan Leghari and grandfather Nawab Muhmammad Jamal Khan Leghari had both been ministers in the Government.