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Humayun Akhtar Khan

Humayun Akhtar Khan
 
 
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Profile

Humayun Akhtar Khan (born 1 April 1955 in Multan, Pakistan) is a Pakistani politician. He served as the Federal Minister for Trade & Commerce from 2002–2007 and as the Federal Minister for Investment from 1997-1999. Humayun Akhtar and his brothers are amongst the most influential industrialists in Pakistan and collectively own Pepsi, Tandlianwala Sugar Mills, and Superior Textile Mills. His father General Akhtar Abdur Rahman headed the ISI in the 1980's and played an instrumental role in forcing the Soviets out of Afghanistan.

Education

After completing his secondary education at Burnhall School in Abbottabad, Humayun first attended Government College University in Lahore and then went abroad to Canada to graduate from the University of Waterloo. He then went to the University of Manitoba where he passed all his Actuarial Exams to become a professional Actuary. He has been a fellow of the U.S. Society of Actuaries since 1980 and the Canadian Institute of Actuaries since 1981.

Business career

From 1981-1987 Humayun Akhtar worked in Toronto for Morneau Shepell Inc. as an Actuary. Shortly after his father General Akhtar Abdur Rahman passed away in a plane crash that also killed General Zia, Humayun along with his brothers decided to return to Pakistan. After years of professional experience in the United States and Canada, the Akhtar Brothers bought the Pepsi Franchise upon their return. They have taken the franchise from near bankruptcy to being the standout company in the beverage industry. Success in Pepsi was followed by expansion into the sugar and textile industries. Today, Tandniawala Sugar Mills Ltd. is one of the largest producers of sugar in the country with three separate units in Kanjwani, Muzaffargarh, and Dera Ismail Khan and a crushing capacity of approximately 25,000 tons per year collectively.

Political career

In 1990, Humayun Akhtar joined Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz which was part of a greater electoral alliance comprising of Conservative parties called Islami Jamhoori Ittehad. In the 1990 General Elections, he contested from NA-92 in Lahore and with the support of voters who remembered his father as a hero for his role in the Afghan Jihad, he comfortably won his first election. For three years he served as a member of the national assembly but when Nawaz Sharif resigned along with President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1993, assemblies were dissolved new elections were scheduled. In October 1993 General elections took place once again in Pakistan. Humayun was once again given a PML-N ticket from Lahore but this time, it was from NA-93 against PPP stalwart Aitzaz Ahsan. It was a constituency that had always been a Peoples Party stronghold as its pioneer Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had won from there and this was Humayun’s toughest test to date. However, despite the fact that PPP won the election and Aitzaz Ahsan was one of its central leaders, Humayun pulled off an unprecedented victory in what was a close contest. His brother Haroon Akhtar Khan also contested that same year and defeated Qasim Zia for a seat in the Punjab Assembly. In 1996, President Farooq Leghari dissolved Benazir Bhutto's government on charges of corruption. In 1997, new elections were called for yet again after the ouster of Benazir Bhutto's government. However, this time Humayun was denied a ticket from Lahore despite having defeated Aitzaz Ahsan in an election in which the PPP came to power. Nawaz Sharif and Humayun Akhtar had developed personal differences over the years over certain policies which is why the PML-N chief decided to move Humayun from Lahore to the Rahimyar Khan district of Southern Punjab. Nevertheless, Humayun managed to win the election and was then made the Federal Minister for Privitization & Investment in a cabinet led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. In addition, he was also appointed Chairman Pakistan Board of Investment. After the military coup in 1999 in which Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was overthrown by General Pervez Musharraf, Humayun Akhtar along with many other members of the PML (N) were placed on house arrest for a few months. In addition, they were also placed on the Exit Control List which barred their exit from Pakistan and the NAB launched investigations regarding the assets of all the ministers of the previous regime.

Tenure as Commerce Minister

In 2002, General Pervez Musharraf who by then had also become the President of Pakistan promised that there would be elections in October. Because Nawaz Sharif had been exiled to Saudi Arabia, many of his most prominent party leaders including Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad, Mian Azhar and Humayun Akhtar Khan formed a new party called Pakistan Muslim League- Quaid-e-Azam. Humayun contested from constituency NA-125 which was in fact part of what was once called NA-93, the constituency he won from in 1993. This time his main opponents were Akram Zaki of PML (N) and Naveed Chaudhry of PPP. Although many analysts and observers believed that it would be a one sided affair in favor of Humayun who was a household name in this constituency, it turned out to be a very tough election which Humayun won by an extremely narrow margin. The runner-up Akram Zaki claimed victory and stated that the result had been rigged in favor of Humayun. Zaki took the result to the Lahore High Court and Supreme Court of Pakistan and it was concluded that Humayun had won fair and square. He was then sworn in as the Commerce Minister in a cabinet led by Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali. In 2002 when PML (Q) was forming its government, Humayun Akhtar was one of the candidates considered for the post of Prime Minister. However, President Musharraf and the PML-Q decided against chosing a PM from Punjab and instead gave the honor to Zafarullah Khan Jamali of Balochistan. By early 2004, it was clear that Jamali had fallen out of favor with President Musharraf and his own party members. Jamali did not support Musharraf’s decision to keep on his uniform amongst other things while Musharraf was fed up of Jamali's incompetence and poor governance. When Jamali ran for secretary general of PML-Q, his nomination was blocked and that led to differences between Jamali and party president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. By May 2004, the party decided to sack Jamali and in his place a number of potential candidates were listed. After many high level meetings between the President and his close political and military aides, it was decided that Humayun was the best choice to become the nations premier. However, his own partymen the Chaudhrys of Gujraat proved to be the last hurdle in Humayun's nomination and they fought tooth and nail to ensure that he does not become the nations Premier. Party President Chaudhry Shujaat went to the extent of asking Musharraf to delay the announcement of the new Prime Minister by three weeks till the budget session concludes. Many political analysts believe that the main reason behind the delay was to postpone Humayun’s candidacy as the Chaudhry's felt that he had intentions of hijacking the party from them and as a result threatening Pervaiz Elahi's own political ambitions of becoming Prime Minister after the next election. Eventually Musharraf adhered to the pressure and the only other viable option for Musharraf was Shaukat Aziz who had not even come to power through a direct election. Eventually, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was made interim Prime Minister for two months and it was decided that Shaukat Aziz would contest an election for the national assembly via by-election. Shortly after contesting and winning the by-election, Aziz replaced Shujaat as Prime Minister. After the new Prime Minister was chosen and Humayun was denied his moment of glory, he resumed his duty as the Commerce Minister. During his tenure, he undertook policies which would turn Pakistan into a dynamic world economy. He actively participated in the World Trade Organization negotiations, where he was selected as a facilitator for the Hong Kong ministerial conference held in December 2005. He also introduced reforms in the insurance sector and enacted copyright laws in 2007. Recently he helped establish the Lahore Agenda for Farmer's rights to global markets in the 31st meeting of Cairns Group. During his five year tenure as the Commerce Minister, Pakistan's exports increased from $8 billion to $20 billion. Never before has the nation witnessed such unprecedented growth in the economic sector. In November 2007, he successfully completed his term as the Federal Minister for Trade and Commerce.

Division in PML (Q)

When the government successfully completed its five-year term, President Musharraf shed his military uniform and called for general elections. The elections were scheduled for 8 January but after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, they were postponed to 18 February. Prior to Benazir's death, people were expecting a close race between the PML-Q, PML-N, and the PPP but once she was killed, her husband Asif Ali Zardari blamed the PML-Q for conspiring Benazir's death. It was very strange that soon after the blast that killed Benazir Bhutto, the crime scene was ordered to be washed, thus destroying all evidence. This greatly hampered the PML-Q's campaign and on top of that, they were also responsible for the recent price hike and loadshedding in the country. The PML-Q was also accused of unconditionally supporting Musharraf's infamous policies and so on the election day, the party president and 23 out of the 27 members of the federal cabinet including Humayun Akhtar lost from their respective constituencies. While the PML-Q sat in opposition, it became increasingly subdued and party affairs were solely being run by party President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and PML-Q Punjab President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. Moreover, the PML-Q was now becoming a family party. Many of the party's leaders including Humayun Akhtar himself opposed these measures and tried to resolve the dispute with the Chaudhry family via dialogue but the Chaudhry's refused to budge. As the Chaudhry's felt that Humayun was the main thorn in this movement, they tried to bargain by offering him the Presidency for PML-Q Punjab and eventually promoting Pervaiz Elahi to the Presidency of the party while keeping Mushahid Hussain the Party's Secretary General. However, Humayun turned down the offer as he and his fellows were against the family politics that was ensuing in the party and did not want the party leadership to remain solely in the hands of the Chaudhry family. When the time came for elections, a like minded group in the party led by Humayun Akhtar, Hamid Nasir Chattha, and Salim Saifullah Khan boycotted the party elections as the parties election commission of 2006 was changed. Eventually, Shujaat was re-elected President of PML-Q, Pervaiz of PML-Q Punjab, and Mushahid Hussain Secretary General in an election that was boycotted by many of the parties most influential leaders. Consequently, the PML-Q split and the like-minded faction had its own elections in which it declared Salim Saifullah as its President, Hamid Nasir Chattha as its Chairman, and Humayun Akhtar as its Secretary General. Several Muslim League stalwarts including Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri and Gohar Ayub Khan joined the breakaway faction while others including Shaikh Rasheed Ahmad and Ijaz-ul-Haq formed their own separate factions. This great division in the PML-Q left the former ruling party in disarray. However, recently a number of Muslim League factions that were part of the Musharraf government have merged into one party called the Muttahida Muslim League led by Pir Pagara. The MML includes various different factions including the Pakistan Muslim League-F, Pakistan Muslim League (Like-Minded), Pakistan Muslim League (Z), and the Awami Muslim League. The central leaders of this alliance claim that they are standing united in a bid to create an alternative option for the people in the next general election.








 
 
 
 
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