Former President Farooq Leghari died a couple of weeks earlier of a heart failure. The man was buried in his native DG Khan district where a decent crowd was in attendance. It is a gesture of Parliament that whenever a former parliamentarian leaves for eternal abode, Fateha and few words about the “services” of the person are said. Farooq Leghari was not only a sitting member of Parliament but also a former Head of State. Unfortunately, he will always be remembered as a person who caused deepest injury to his own party. Dawn in its front page report on the Parliament’s activity very aptly noted that “While he was intensely hated by the PPP for his 1996 action of dissolving the lower house and sacking Benazir Bhutto’s second government for alleged corruption and misrule – charges which were never proved but which are still used as a whip against the party leadership – president Leghari fell out with the subsequent PML-N government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and had to resign from office in 1997 after losing a power struggle with him”
I remember that when he resigned from office as President in December 1997, an elderly gentleman noted “jo apnon ka nahee, woh kissi ka nahee”.
Passionless mourning for Leghari in Parliament
Dawn, November 2, 2010
ISLAMABAD, Nov 1: It was a passionless mourning for former president Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari in both houses of parliament at the start of their autumn sessions on Monday in what was a posthumous reflection on his political conduct, which included his dissolution of the National Assembly in 1996.
Mr Leghari, who was perceived to have betrayed his own party at the time – the PPP – by dismissing its government led by then prime minister Benazir Bhutto on Nov 5, 1996, died of heart attack on Oct 20 as a member of the opposition PML-Q in the present National Assembly, which adjourned for the day without conducting any business as a mark of traditional mourning for a sitting member.
Only the PML-Q chief whip, Riaz Hussain Pirzada, rose to praise Mr Leghari’s “political insight” and then lead fateha for him, for which all members present in the house, including Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, raised their hands.
No tribute came from any other member of the house, despite Mr Pirzada’s appeal that while “mistakes are committed by every human being only their good deeds should be remembered after their death”.
One member of the ruling PPP from Sindh, Romesh Lal, even shouted “traitor” about the former president after Mr Pirzada called Mr Leghari a “polite and good man” before Speaker Fehmida Mirza adjourned the house until 10am on Tuesday after a few minutes’ sitting.
The Senate, which met later, seemed somewhat kinder to Mr Leghari as opposition leader there, Wasim Sajjad of the PML-Q, managed to read out what he called a “resolution” expressing “grief and sorrow” of the house though Chairman Farooq H. Naek did not put the draft to vote.
But there too no one else rose to speak about Mr Leghari, who had also been a PPP member of the upper house during 1975-77, except a fateha prayer led by Jamaat-i-Islami’s Prof Mohammad Ibrahim.
The unusual political sternness about Mr Leghari demonstrated in both houses of parliament was in sharp contrast to the tradition of profuse tribute often paid to their dead members or a head of state.
While he was intensely hated by the PPP for his 1996 action of dissolving the lower house and sacking Benazir Bhutto’s second government for alleged corruption and misrule – charges which were never proved but which are still used as a whip against the party leadership – president Leghari fell out with the subsequent PML-N government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and had to resign from office in 1997 after losing a power struggle with him.
Though, instead of retiring from politics, he formed his own Millat Party to participate in the 2002 elections and later merged it with the PML-Q, Mr Leghari remained a political pariah and rarely attended the present National Assembly after being re-elected to it in 2008 from his native Dera Ghazi Khan district.