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Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
 
 
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Profile
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is a Pakistani politician who served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan from August 2017 to May 2018. A senior member of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N), he had been a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from 1988 to 1999 and again from 2008 to 2018.

Born in 1958 in Karachi to Khaqan Abbasi, Abbasi was educated at Lawrence College, Murree. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, before obtaining a master's degree from George Washington University. Prior to entering politics, he worked as a professional engineer in various projects in the United States and the Middle East.

Abbasi started his political career after the death of his father in 1988, and since then he has been an elected Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan six times from Rawalpindi District. He is the owner of Airblue; and previously served as Chairman of Pakistan International Airlines from 1997 to 1999 during the second Sharif ministry.

Early life and education
Abbasi was born on 27 December 1958 in Karachi, Pakistan, to Khaqan Abbasi. According to some reports, he was born in his hometown of Murree in Rawalpindi District, Punjab.

Abbasi received his early education in Karachi and later enrolled at the Lawrence College in Murree. In 1978, Abbasi attended the University of California, Los Angeles to study electrical engineering from where he attained his bachelor's degree and began his career as an electrical engineer. In 1985, he attended the George Washington University, gaining a master's degree in electrical engineering, and qualified for the professional engineer certificate.

Professional career
Abbasi is an electrical engineer by profession. After graduating from George Washington, he worked across different projects in the United States during the 1980s, before moving to Saudi Arabia where he joined the oil and gas industry and became involved in various energy projects.

Abbasi is known as an aviation expert in the country. In 2003, Abbasi founded Airblue Limited where he served as its first chairman until 2007 Later he became chief operating officer of the airline. Reportedly, Abbasi is still the owner of Airblue although he has denied being a current stakeholder, saying he has not visited the airline's office for over two years.

Political career

Abbasi begun his political career after the death of his father Khaqan Abbasi in April 1988.

Abbasi was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan for the first time in the 1988 general elections, as an independent candidate from Constituency NA-50 in Rawalpindi District. The seat was previously held by his father until his death. After winning the election, he joined the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad.

He was re-elected to the National Assembly from Rawalpindi constituency as a candidate of Islami Jamhoori Ittehad in Pakistani general elections, 1990 and made Parliamentary Secretary for Defence. He was re-elected to the National Assembly for the third time from Rawalpindi constituency as a candidate of the PML-N in Pakistani general elections, 1993 during which he performed his duties as the Chairman of the Standing Committee of National Assembly on Defense.

He was re-elected to the National Assembly for the fourth time from his Rawalpindi constituency as a candidate of the PML-N in the 1997 general elections. That same year, he was appointed as the chairman of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. His tenure was terminated following the 1999 Pakistani coup d'etat, during which then-Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf, overthrew Nawaz Sharif and his existing elected government. Abbasi along with Nawaz Sharif and others were accused in the infamous plane hijacking case. Charges were leveled up against Abbasi for denying the landing of Musharraf's PIA plane at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, on his way back from Sri Lanka on 12 October, 1999. Abbasi was allegedly pressured to provide a testimonial statement against Nawaz Sharif for the hijacking case, but he refused to release the statement. Abbasi stood a military Judge Advocate General court, which announced his arrest. He remained in jail for two years and was acquitted by the court March 2001. In 2008, Abbasi in an interview alleged Musharraf himself took control of the plane.

He ran for the seat of the National Assembly as a candidate of the PML-N in Pakistani general elections, 2002, but was unsuccessful for the first time after he lost to a candidate of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).

He was re-elected to the National Assembly for the fifth time as a candidate of the PML-N from Constituency NA-50 in Pakistani general elections, 2008. The PML-N secured the second largest votes in the election so decided to form the coalition government with PPP with Yousaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Abbasi was inducted into the federal cabinet of Yousaf Raza Gillani in March 2008. He was appointed as the Federal Minister for Commerce however, his tenure was short-lived due to the PML-N's decision to leave the PPP led coalition government in May 2008.

Abbasi was re-elected to the National Assembly from Constituency NA-50 (Rawalpindi) for the sixth time as a candidate of the PML-N in Pakistani general elections, 2013. Upon the victory of PML-N in the 2013 national election, he was inducted into the federal cabinet and was appointed as the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources. During his tenure as Minister of Petroleum, he introduced the Liquefied Natural Gas terminal and importation of gas to control the shortage of gas in Pakistan, and because of that there are allegation of corruption against him which Abbasi denies.

On 28 July 2017, he had ceased to hold ministerial office when the federal cabinet was disbanded following the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after the Panama Papers case decision. A day later, Nawaz nominated his brother Shehbaz Sharif as his successor but as Shehbaz was not a member of the National Assembly, he could not be sworn in as Prime Minister. Therefore, Abbasi was chosen by Nawaz Sharif as an interim Prime Minister for 45 days which would allow significant time for Shehbaz to contest elections from Nawaz's vacated constituency, be elected to the National Assembly and become eligible to hold the office of Prime Minister.

On 1 August 2017, Abbasi was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly, defeating his rival Naveed Qamar of PPP, by 221 votes to 47. Later that day, he was sworn in as the 28th Prime Minister in an oath-taking ceremony at Presidency Palace.

Family and personal life
Abbasi is married and has three sons. His surname Abbasi is also the name of his clan, which is predominant in northern Punjab. He is one of the wealthiest parliamentarians in Pakistan, with a net worth of ₨1.3 billion (US$12 million) to ₨2.3 billion (US$22 million). His assets include shares in Airblue, a house in Islamabad, a restaurant business, and land properties in Murree.

Abbasi belongs to a wealthy and political family. Abbasi's father, Khaqan Abbasi, was an air commodore in the Pakistan Air Force. He entered politics and became Member of the National Assembly and later inducted as the Federal Minister for Production in the cabinet of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, until his death in 1988 at Ojhri Camp - a military accident that resulted in more than 100 casualties. Abbasi's brother, Zahid Abbasi, was also injured in that incident after which he went into coma and died in 2005, having remained bedridden for 17 years.

Abbasi's sister Sadia Abbasi has been a member of the Senate of Pakistan.

Abbasi's father-in-law, General Muhammad Riaz Abbasi, was the director-general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from 1977 to 1979.

Abbasi is an aviation enthusiast and an amateur skydiver.

 
 
 
 
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