Leading Role of Castes of Dera Ghazi Khan District in Politics.

Byline: Rehman Gul Khan and Naudir Bakht


Since the inception of life on the earth, it has been a dominant tendency of Homo sapiens, being the best and wisest creature, to get control over other creatures through power of reasoning and knowledge1. Man has also been in a constant endeavor to make fellow humans bow to him by hook or by crook through ascendance to the throne, possession of vast land, collection of huge money, recruitment of powerful personnel, marginalization of masses2 and social stratification of population into classes, be it tribal, ethnic, racial, regional, gender-specific or caste-based. Caste patriotism has been very significant in the arena of politics since the time immemorial3.

The Indo-Pak is an area marked by 'caste' politics and it is influence of Hindu culture. It is a phenomenon of a grave paradoxes and repercussions in social and political affairs4. Discrimination in profession, tribe, blood, language, race and caste is one of the oldest forms of exploitation in the human annals and it is still prevalent in its orthodox and unorthodox manifestations even today which is known as the age of modernization, science and technology. It needs no explanation as the world has transformed into dynamic mode that it has worked out, at least a theoretical framework, mandating thereby that there should be no discrimination and repulsion keeping in view color, race, tribe, region, nationality and caste is no exception to the rule at all.5 Admittedly, every society of the world has been segregating its people into different hierarchical layers on the basis of one pretext or the other but its intensity is weakening in the present age.

Caste is a universal reality which needs to be used for a source of love, affection and brotherhood among people of the same clan instead of hatred and repulsion towards other castes.6 However, little attention is being paid by the academia and the authorities to debilitate the un-Islamic, inhuman and unconstitutional caste-based hierarchy in the Punjabi society of Pakistan.7 It is to be noted with care and caution that there is a clear dichotomy of caste and profession especially in present era but both phenomena are unduly mixed and manipulated for the establishment of superiority of the dominant class of the society.

Modern world is still under strong clutches of social stratification of one kind or another and discrimination vis-a-vis caste is also very much prevalent in the Punjab despite constitutional guarantees of equality, fraternity and brotherhood. This has also led to a severe form of 'biradri' politics in the province despite the Islamic philosophy of equality.8 Only political families with feudal or business background are firmly at the helm of affairs. The unprivileged part of the nation is kept ignorant, inactive and dependent on these families on the pretext of caste, race etc. As a result, fruits of democracy have been denied to majority of population.9 The segment with land owning background, not necessarily in possession of it right now, does try hard to keep working-background population sub-ordinate on the pretext of caste.10 'Biradri' patriotism is so strong that a deserving candidate does not get the attraction of voters from other caste, be it a member of the land-owning class.

It is spreading ill-feelings of jealousy, hatred, rivalry and disunity, and disturbing social and political culture of the society. It is need of the hour to purge the society of these social evils to transform it at the threshold of the new millennium.11

Terminologies: Thenumber of words is used in regional languages translated the word 'Caste' but have different impact. Zaat-a group linked a patriarch, All/Goath-further divided into smaller distinct or sub-caste, Qabila-use in tribal society, Rishtadaar-close blood relative, GhairRishtadaar-close group of non-relatives and Khataab or Surname-given title i.e. Khan, Sardar, Mian, Chaudhary, Malik, Mehr etc.12

Divisions in the Punjab: There are nine divisions in Punjab:

* Lahore

* Sargodha

* Rawalpindi

* Multan

* DeraGhazi Khan

* Bahawalpur

* Faisalabad

* Gujranwala

* Sahiwal

Districts in the Punjab: The Punjab is divided into 36 districts.

Lahore is the most populas district where as Haifzabad is the least populated district. Area wise Bahawalpur is the largest district and Nankana Sahib is the smallest district.

Prominent Castes of the Punjab: The province of Punjab contains thousands of castes which are further divided into sub castes. Their characteristics are names and regions of these social groups. Jatt (with sub-castes named Cheema, Chatha, Warraitch, Khara, Virk, Manis, Chaddarr, Sindhu, Sadhu, Hanjra, Jaspal, Bhullaretc), Rajput (Bhatti, Mio, Rangarr, Patialya, etc), Mughal, Khokhar, Dogar, Syed/Shah (with sub-castes Qureshi, Hashmi, Bukhari, Naqvi, Zaidi, etc), Arian, KakaiZai, Kambo, Gujjar, Awan, etc are more popular in the Punjab. Baloch and Pathan tribes which have non-Punjabi origin are residents for centuries and they migrated and settled themselves in Dera Ghazi Khan Division which is highly controlled by the Leghari and Khosa.13

Dera Ghazi Khan: Dera Ghazi Khan is situated at the intersection of four Provinces of Pakistan. Its area is of 5,306sq.miles with 1,634,118 populations. This city is divisioanalheadquartersand it consists of Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh,Rajanpurand Layyah districts.Dera Ghazi Khan District contains two tehsils and one de-excluded areas which are divided into sixty union councils (UC). Tehsil Dera Ghazi Khan comprises of 41 UCs, Tehsil Taunsa Sharif 18 UCs and de-excluded area has1 UC. The total seats in National Assembly are three i.e. NA-189, Na-190 and NA-191. The seats in Provincial Assembly are seven i.e. PP-285, PP-286, PP-287, PP-288, PP-289, PP-290 and PP-291.14

InhabitantsofDera Ghazi Khan speakdifferent dialects of Punjabi language;although few of these are considered a separate language named "Saraiki" butthe prevailing cultures in North and South Punjab are different.Raangri,Derawali,Majhi,Thalochi, Khetrani, Urdu, English, Baluchi and Pashto are the majordialects and languages.15 The prominent biradries in Dera Ghazi Khan are:

* Qasari###* Darkai

* Buzdar###* Hotowani

* Notakani###* Khalilani

* Suri Lund###* Bazgeer

* Khosa###* Chan

* Laghari###* Sehrani

* Gorchani###* Balvani

* Lashari###* Barkhan

* Batafi###* Aliyani

* Darashak###* Badyani

* Mazari###* Khan

* Ahamdani###* Sargani

* Gomang###* Urbani

* Gormani###* Jaskani

* Chandiya###* Mangvani

* Jatoi###* Gulfaaz

* Buzdar###* Rustamani

* Gorchani###* Masedan

* Jaskani###* Khawaja

Dera Ghazi Khan Electoral Politics AndTumandari Tribes

Districts Dera Ghazi Khan and Rajanpurstill have Saradari system of government. There are many tribes in both of these districts including Leghari, Khosa, Lund, Buzzdar, Qaisarani, Nakakani, Gorchani, Derishak, Mazari are especially remarkable. Some of these tribes are given the status of Tumandar i.e. Qasarani, Buzzdar, Lund, Khosa, Leghari, Derishak, Gorchani and Mazari. The word "Tumandar" is Mongol word which means the officer of having ten thousands of army and which was given in the reign of Chengis Khan.16 In Baloch, Tumandar means the Chief of the tribe and the population of a tribe can be less or more. The decision of the fate of the people is still in the hand of tribal Chief.17Dera Ghazi Khan is rich in mineral resources but this could not change the fate of district due to fully control of Chiefs of tribes.

Qaisarani Tribe: The Qaisarani tribe resides in Tunsa Sharif, a tehsil of Dera Ghazi Khan which is surrounded by Dera Ismail Khan-now a district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The areas of Vivo,TabiQaisarani, KotQasarani, Herd, Jokh Vivo, Hungry are worth mentioning areas of QasaraniTuman. The Qasarani tribe is from the descendants of Qaisar Khan Rind. The Qaisarani tribe has the influence in the politics of Tehsil Tunsa Sharif and has a lot of vote bank in this region.18From 1970 to 2002, Qaisarani tribe continued to support the tribesmen (Khawajan). But after the new delimitation of 2002, the politics of Qaisarani tribe came rapidly. In 2002, Sardar Meer Badshah Khan Qaisarani, the son of SardarZahoor Ahmed Khan Qaisarani became member of Provincial Assembly. In 2008 and 2013, he once again succeeded to win the Provincial Assembly seat. He was disqualified due to fake degree in 2013 election.

After this his wife, Memoona Umbearn Qasirani, became the member of Provincial Assembly. This seat is considered as a traditional seat of the Qasirani tribe from which they are coming to defeat Khawajan of Tunsa Sharif.

Buzdar Tribe:Buzdar tribe is also situated in the west of Tehsil Tunsa Sharif and most of its population is populated in the Suleiman Mountain. They are settled in Barthi, Thekar, and FasalaKhuch. The Buzdaris also a branch of the Rind tribe. They were resident of the suburbs with Mir Chakar Khan. When he attacked, they took their cattle and settled on the North-west Mountains of Dera Ghazi Khan.19SardarFateh Muhammad Khan Buzdar, a well known politician of Buzdar tribe, is a farmer. From 1970-2002, Buzdar tribe was also included in the same seat of Tehsil Tunsa Sharif. Because of which their vote bank could not set them a...

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