Former President of Pakistan, Sardar Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari died in the early hours of Wednesday at the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology in Rawalpindi. He was 70 and a heart patient for some time.
Like Ghulam Ishaq Khan before him (here and here), had the Presidency ‘thrust’ upon him by circumstance and political machinations of others; however, his use of Presidential powers while in office left a deep and lasting impact on Pakistan politics. Impacts that Pakistan is still reeling from.
A one time civil servant, schooled at Aitchison College, Forman Christian College, Punjab University and Oxford University, Mr. Leghari was a Baluch Sardar and reportedly a major land owner with 10 square kilometers of land ownership.
Once a PPP stalwart and close confidant of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, he would later turn against her and prove instrumental in her eventual fall from power. In fact, it was that closeness that elevated him to the Presidency in 1993 as he was considered loyal, dependable and reliable. In the end he proved to be anything but that for Ms. Bhutto and became a central actor in her removal from office as he removed his own party’s government under Article 58 2(b) on charges of corruption, lawlessness and extra judicial killings.
Here is a recent interview with Mr. Leghari:
Later he was himself forced to resign when Nawaz Sharif was Prime Minister. Later still he formed the Millat party, which eventually formed an alliance with PML-Q during Gen. Musharraf’s rule, during which his son Awais Leghari was a high profile Minister. Others from his close circle – including Mahmud Durrani and Sumaira Malik – were also key players in Gen. Musharraf’s government.