South Punjab - A Citadel Of Dynasty Politics


South Punjab - A citadel of dynasty politics

MULTAN, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 31st Jan, 2024) For the last two decades, South Punjab emerged as a citadel of political dynasties and a strategic determinant factor in the formation of governments in the Centre.

These influential political families showed a visible presence in the governments after 2002, 2008, 2013 and 2018 polls. This time again, a fascinating political narrative is expanding, unveiling a unique electoral landscape where familial bonds take center stage.

Deeply entrenched in the fabric of their communities, these families are collectively venturing into the democratic arena, with an extraordinary number of members actively participating in the upcoming elections. This phenomenon surpasses conventional political alliances, showcasing a commitment to service that spans generations.

Sometimes contesting polls from the same party and sometimes standing eye ball to eye on different symbols, they leave no election unattended.

The situation goes further in 2024 election wherein the political landscape of South Punjab is witnessing a unique tapestry of family connections as blood relations, including fathers, mothers and sons and brothers and sisters actively contesting elections.

In Multan alone, the Gilani family, led by former Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani (NA-148) has emerged with an impressive representation as his three sons Syed Ali Musa Gillani (NA-151), Syed Abdul Qadir Gillani (NA 152) and Syed Ali Haider Gillani (PP 213) are contesting elections - all on Pakistan People's Party (PPP) tickets.

Similarly, in District Khanewal, three brothers, Iftikhar Nazir (NA-145), Zia ur Rehman (PP-209) and Ata ur Rehman (PP-210) make their mark on the political scene, demonstrating widespread familial participation and describing their deep-seated influence in South Punjab's political arena.

Contesting 2024 election by two or more members from a family is common phenomenon in South Punjab. Besides Gilani family, the families of Qureshis and Dogars are also at the forefront of nominating candidates from within their kin.

From Qureshi family, children of Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Zain Hussain (NA-150) and Mehr Bano Qureshi (NA-152) are contesting National Assembly election. Similar two members of Dogar family Aamir Dogar (NA-149) and Adnan Dogar (PP-216) are also in the run.

This political tapestry also extends to Vehari where Tehmina Daultana and her son Irfan Daultana are in political battlefield for National (NA-158) and provincial assembly seat respectively. Jutt sisters, Ayesha Nazir Jutt (NA 156) and Dr. Arifa Jutt (PP-229) are also reflecting diversity of familial participation.

If Mailsi sees Khichi brothers, Manahis (father and son) and other familial pairs, Haraj brothers are trying their luck from Khanewal and two brothers Makhdoom Mustafa Mahmood (NA-173) and Makhdoom Murtaz Mahmood (NA-169) contesting on PPP ticket from Rahim Yar Khan.

Amidst this harmonious political landscape, a fascinating twist also unfolded in Vehari where two brothers Naeem Khan Bhabha and Khizar Bhabha are on opposite sides in PP-234.

As familial clash adds extra layer of interest to South Punjab electoral saga with scions, cousins, uncles, aunts and nephews contesting polls, how can Legharis and Khosas, from Dera Ghazi Khan remain oblivious to such political activity.

Boasting a rich political history from late Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari who served the coveted office of the President of Pakistan, his sons Sardar Jamal Khan Leghari and Sardar Awais Leghari carried forward the political chariot of Leghari family.

This time Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari is contesting the election from NA-186 and Sardar Ammar Awais Leghari, the grandson of Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari, from NA-187 in Jampur tahsil.

Interestingly, in some cases, family members were found pitched against each other due to varying political affiliations. In district Rajanpur, two sons of former caretaker Prime Minister, late Mir Balakh Sher Mazari, Sardar Zahid Mahmood Mazari as an independent and Sardar Riaz Mahmood Mazari from PML-N are rivals in NA-189.

Among Dareshaks, another important politically influential family in Rajanpur, Sardar Ahmad Ali Khan Dareshak and Sardar Atif Ali Khan Dareshak, the grandsons of Sardar Nasarullah Khan Dareshak are contesting from NA-188 Rajanpur and NA-187 Jampur respectively.

In district Layyah, prominent political families included Jakhar and Sehar families while Niazi, Gujjar and Peer families have also made inroads into electoral politics with Faiz ul Hassan (PML-N), Bahadur Khan Sehar (PPP) and Amber Majeed Niazi, wife of ex-MNA Abdul Majeed Khan Niazi (Independent) in the run in NA-181.

Khar, Hanjra, Siyal, Bukhari and Jatoi families are active in Muzaffargarh with Malik Ghulam Qasim Hanjra contesting from NA-179, Abdul Qayyum Jatoe (Independent) and Aamir Talal Gopang (PML N) from NA-178 and Sheherbano Bukhari, daughter of ex-MNA Syed Basit Sultan Bukhari contesting elections against her uncle Syed Haroon Sultan Bukhari from NA-177.

Another interesting contest will be within Nawabzada family where uncle, Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmed (PPP) and nephew Nawabzada Muhammad Ahmed Khan (Independent) would face each other in NA-176 as well as Basit Sultan Bukhari from PML-N.

Known political analyst Zia Baloch commenting on this distinctive trend stated that in South Punjab, influential families, driven by substantial resources, see politics as a means to achieve their particular goals.

“Well-honed political acumen of family members plays a crucial role, making it challenging for newcomers to establish a lasting presence,” he remarked.

Another political commentator Shakeel Anjum has described it a game of power politics, with every family aiming to maintain hegemony in political landscape.

APP/atf/maz (APP Feature Service)