After the failure of the two main stream political parties {PPP, PML(N)} in the nineties a need for change was widely felt. Two new entities emerged in the arena. Imran Khan launched his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) and Sardar Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari led Millat Party.

While Kaptaan was a new player, Sardar Sahib was an insider who had seen it all. Both believed in honest politics which called for massive cleansing.

Leghari Sahib was a career bureaucrat, well-educated and blue blooded. He was a gentleman by all standards. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) invited him to join his party as second tier future leadership. After his leaders judicial murder he remained loyal to the party and Benazir Bhutto (BB). He took an active part in the restoration for democracy movement (MRD), was imprisoned and then kept in Sahiwal jail. In the 1988 elections he was elected MNA from his native constituency in DG Khan. In her second stint in power in 1994 she got him elected as President of the country. BB was expecting complete co-operation from him while Asif Zardari thought he was out of his way. The equilibrium continued for some time till it became unbearable. The President had no executive powers but was empowered with the 8th constitutional amendment to dismiss the elected government. Zia had already exercised this authority once while Ishaq Khan had used it twice. The murder of Murtaza Bhutto proved to be the last straw in their relationship. With full support of the establishment he decided on political cleansing and dismissed the government of BB and started across the board accountability by establishing the ‘Ehtesab Bureau’ under a retired judge of higher judiciary.

On strict implementation of the constitutional requirements most political heavy weights were being disqualified from contesting the elections. While there was a sigh of relief in the public, the politicians panicked and begged for mercy. Fearing PPP victory Leghari Sahib caved in, which resulted in a land slide victory for PML(N). Ehtesab Bureau now came under Saif-ur-Rehman and targeted Asif Zardari and his party while protecting his own.

It did not end here. With absolute majority in the parliament Nawaz Sharif first got rid of the 8th amendment and then decided to get rid of everyone else. A bill declaring Mian Sahib as Amir-ul-Momineen was passed through the lower house but got stalled in the Senate after heroic resistance from Comrade Aitzaz Ahsan. Rest is history. Leghari Sahib was the first to resign followed by the Chief Justice and then the Army Chief. Finally General Pervez Musharraf stepped in with his martial law removing the PM and his useless President.

Like all dictators Musharraf started off well. He assembled a team of able technocrats to run the country. Ethesab Bureau was replaced with National Accountability Bureau (NAB). For devolution of power he created National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) and for human development National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) was formed. Change was in the air. Fresh political parties like Millat Party (August 14, 1998) and Tehrik-e-Insaf (April 25, 1996) were thriving. Musharraf promised to keep both BB and Mian Sahib out of the arena but fell into the same trap like his predecessors and created his own political outfit. First it was headed by MianAzhar and then finally the Chaudhris from Gujrat ceased control; it was the proverbial out of the pan into the fire scenario.

Millat Party under Farooq Leghari was gaining ground. Javed Jabbar as Vice President organized the party well. For foot hold in Sindh the party decided to forge an alliance with NPP (National People’s Party) and named it National Alliance (NA). In the 2002 elections the party emerged as the third largest group with a total of 13 national assembly seats. It decided to support the government while maintaining its identity like MQM. Kaptaan decided to keep away from PML(Q) and walked away while Leghari Sahib got trapped. In the lure of places in the ministries, most of his party members starting flirting with the Chaudhris. Within the party there was a big debate. Javed Jabbar the Secretary General headed the group that wanted to keep the new party alive. In the words of Dr. Mubashir Hassan, Farooq Leghari was a bureaucrat. Decent and well-read but not ready for street brawls.

After playing a leading role for freedom of the electronic media as Musharraf’s Information Minister Javed Jabbar was now heading the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IIPCR). While in his office in Islamabad in May 2004 his telephone rang. FarooqLeghari was online to inform him of the merger of Millat Party with PML(Q). It was the beginning of the end of the political career of the Sardar from Chotti who rose to be the President of the country.

PML(Q) also called ‘Qatil League’ proved to be an establishment hit squad to shoot down all forces of change. When PML(N) became an estranged mistress it was replaced with PML(Q) which then offered to elect the dictator as President in uniform for ten times. It was perhaps the biggest scam of the century. Then there was another sell off, first it was the NRO which paved the way for BB’s return. Once in the country she negotiated with Mian Sahib’s come back. Soon it was business as usual. In the words of Habib Jalib; Likhe they NaamJin Kay thanon main’ (Individuals who had been reported in the police stations) were running the country.

Both Millat Party and PTI were formed on the promise of change against the entrenched status-quo and its agents. PML(Q) and its predecessor PML(N) are parties of the establishment who have been fighting change in their own ways. While PML(Q) represents the traditional order PML(N) has created its own disorder within institutions. Recruitments of loyalists in violation of merit have taken place in all important government departments. While these public servants draw salaries and perks from the state they are loyal to their hiring masters. Farooq Leghari was the first politician to expose this white collar crime of elected representatives of the people and started their accountability.

Hanif Ramay the most outstanding Chief Minister of Punjab often remarked about ZAB that Bhutto Sahib successfully brought the establishment on its knees and then resurrected it to be toppled again. Farooq Leghari committed the same mistake and joined the PML(Q) band wagon after waging a crusade against them. He then quietly sat behind the Chaudris in the National Assembly. Now PTI is under attack from a PML(Q) splinter hit squad. Comrades of Change who watched the demise of Leghari Sahib’s Millat party now nervously watch the fate of Kaptaan’s movement for social justice and change that is under a similar threat of extinction, with future of country at stake.