LEGHARI, SARDAR FAROOQ AHMAD KHAN (1941- ) Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, Pakistan’s eighth president, comes from Baloch-Pathan stock His father, Muhammad Khan Leghari, was from Balochistan, whereas his mother belonged to the Northwest Frontier Province He was born in Tank, a small town in the Northwest Frontier Province, but was brought up in Lahore, where his father lived most of his life He was educated first at Lahore’s renowned Aitcheson College, briefly attended Forman Christian College also in Lahore, and in 1961 went to St Catherine’s College, Oxford He joined the Civil Service of Pakistan (CSP) in 1964 but did not stay in government service long He resigned from the Service in 1970 to join the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and won a seat from Dera Ghazi Khan, the seat of his family, in the elections of 1970 and 1977The 1977 victory brought him a seat in the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but the cabinet was short lived On 5 July 1977, Bhutto was removed from office by General Zia ulHaq, who imposed martial law Leghari, along with several members of the PPP, decided to actively oppose the military rule
Following Bhutto’s execution on 4 April 1979, his wife, Nusrat Bhutto, and his daughter, Benazir Bhutto, became the PPP’s co-chairpersons Leghari was given the important position of the party’s secretarygeneral He spent several months in prison when Zia came down hard on the movement that was launched by the PPP and a number of other parties to force the military president to hold elections and return democracy to PakistanIn the elections of November 1988, Leghari won seats in the National Assembly as well as in the Punjab Provincial Assembly The PPP returned to power at the center in Islamabad but did not do well in Punjab, the country’s largest province Benazir Bhutto became prime minister but chose not to include Leghari in the federal cabinet; instead, he was asked to resign his National Assembly seat and go to Lahore and prevent Mian Nawaz Sharif from forming a government in Lahore, Punjab’s capital Leghari did not succeed in his efforts; Sharif managed to secure the support of a majority of Punjab’s assembly members and became the chief minister of the province Leghari returned to Islamabad and the National Assembly, and although he would have preferred the portfolio of finance, he was brought into the cabinet as minister in charge of water and powerBhutto’s dismissal from office in August 1990 sent her and her associates into opposition once again, as the PPP lost to Mian Nawaz Sharif’s Islami Jamhuri Itehad (IJI) in the elections that were held in October Bhutto and Leghari refused to accept the legitimacy of Sharif’s elections They accused the interim government of Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi of rigging the elections with the tacit approval of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the active involvement of the armed forces
While Sharif was prime minister, Leghari led noisy agitations against the government, including an effort in December 1991 to prevent Ishaq Khan from giving the annual state of the country address to the joint session of the Senate and the National AssemblyThe PPP did not win an outright majority in the elections held in October 1993, but emerged as the largest single party in the National Assembly Benazir Bhutto was once again in the position to form a government in Islamabad, which she did with the help of a number of small parties Leghari was given the portfolio of foreign affairs In the effort to gain the presidency for her party, however, Bhutto turned to Leghari and put him forward as the PPP candidate Leghari won a comfortable victory with 274 votes, against Waseem Sajjad, who received 168 of 446 valid votes cast by the electoral college made up of the National and Provincial Assemblies Leghari announced his resignation from the Pakistan People’s Party after being sworn in as president He wanted to be a nonparty president, responsible to the constitution and not to any particular political party By the summer of 1996, Pakistan had slipped into serious economic difficulties, the government of Benazir Bhutto was accused of massive corruption and mismanagement, and the law-and-order situation had deteriorated remarkably Leghari was clearly upset with these developments, as with the reluctance of the government to implement the judgment awarded by the Supreme Court in what had come to be called the “judges’ case,” which ordered the prime minister to observe the law and the practice for making appointments to the Supreme CourtLeghari dismissed the Bhutto administration on 5 November 1996, using Article 58
2(b) of the constitution Although an interim government was appointed under Prime Minister Meraj Khalid, Leghari was effectively the ruler Elections were held again in February 1997 in which Mian Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Muslim League won a decisive victory Sharif became prime minister and used his vast majority in the National Assembly to amend the constitution twice Article 582(b) was dropped In the fall of 1997, Sharif and the judiciary clashed-the latter upset over some remarks made by the prime minister about the justices of the Supreme Court To save Pakistan from plunging into a deep constitutional crisis, Leghari resigned as president on 2 December 1997After his resignation, Leghari moved to Lahore and began discussions with his supporters to chart out his political future In a number of press interviews he criticized both Benazir Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif for having failed to provide good leadership He claimed that the two had plundered the country while in power and had amassed vast personal fortunes through corruption
It was clear that Leghari was hoping to present the people with another alternative to Sharif and Bhutto On 14 August 1998-Pakistan’s 51st birthday-Leghari launched a new party Named the Millat, the party’s foundation papers were aimed at the middle classes, who were by then deeply concerned about the country’s mounting political and economic problems Leghari campaigned hard for his party in the elections of October 2002, winning a seat for himself in the National Assembly from his home district Dera Ghazi Khan Several members of his family, including his son, Owais Khan Leghari, also won seats in the assembly Owais Leghari was appointed minister of information technology first in the administration of Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali (2003-2004) and then in the government headed by Shaukat Aziz. In the summer of 2004, Leghari dissolved the Millat Party and merged it with the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam), the governing party.