Former Prime Minister Islamic Republic of Pakistan Ex-MNA NA-151 (Multan-IV)
Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians
Yousuf Raza Gilani
Elections 2013 : Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani did not take part in the election held on May 11, 2013 due to legal complications regarding his candidacy. He fielded all his sons in the elections to remain in the politics. His elder son, Abdul Qadir Gillani took part as a PPPP candidate from NA-151 (Multan-IV).
Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani is a tall, softly-spoken man with an air of authority. He has been elected the Prime Minister of Pakistan, after having being elected an MNA in the Election 2008, and then subsequently being nominated as the candidate for Premiership.
A son from Multan:
Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani hails from Multan. He, however, was born in Karachi on the 9th of June, 1952. The Gillanis are among the most prominent of landowners and spiritual leaders in the south of the Punjab. Their home town is the ancient Punjabi city of Multan.
Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani belongs to an influential political family of Multan, which has always played a key role in Pakistan politics. He started his political career in 1978 after the death of his father Makhdoom Alamdar Hussain Gilani, who was a signatory to the Pakistan Resolution. Mr Gilani’s grandfather, Makhdoom Ghulam Mustafa Shah Gilani, and paternal uncle Makhdoom Raza Shah Gilani had been elected members of the legislative assembly after defeating the Unionists in the 1946 elections. Mr Gilani’s great grandfather, Makhdoom Raja Bakhsh Gilani, was both mayor of Multan in 1921 and member of the Central Legislative Assembly of India. He served as a member of the assembly from 1921 till his death in 1936 and was known as the father of the Indian Assembly.
Yousuf Raza Gillani received his schooling from La Salle High School, Multan. He then joined Forman Christian (FC) College, Lahore and finally did his ‘Masters in Journalism’ from the University of Punjab.
Yousuf Raza Gillani was the first elected chairman of the District Council, Multan. He defeated the local government minister Syed Fakhar Imam, some 25 years ago. Later in the 1988 elections, he defeated the then Punjab chief minister Nawaz Sharif on PPP ticket. In 1990, again on a PPP ticket, he was elected an MNA after defeating Makhdoom Hamid Raza Gillani, a former federal minister. In 1993, he defeated Malik Sikander Hayat Bosan and later became Speaker of the National Assembly. Mr Gilani contested the election in 1997 on a PPP ticket but unfortunately lost. He could not contest elections in 2002. Nevertheless, in the General Elections of 2008 he defeated PML-Q’s Sikander Hayat Bosan and made it to the National Assembly in a befitting manner.
A loyalist to the idea of democracy:
Yousuf Raza Gillani refused to join the renegade PPP enticed by the Musharraf regime, for he refused to strike a deal with Gen. Musharraf. Owing to this action, his loyalty is much admired within his party. He was jailed in 2001, serving five years following a conviction over illegal appointments in the National Assembly. His stance and defiance won him many admirers, even among the government. He was finally released on 7 October 2006 from Adiala Jail, after spending more than five years in prison.
More on imprisonment:
Yousuf Raza Gilani was arrested on February 11, 2001 under the auspices of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), an anti-corruption agency set up by the military government in 1999, over charges of that he misused his authority while he was Speaker of the National Assembly. Specifically, he was accused of hiring up to 600 people from among his constituents and placing them on the government's payroll. NAB claimed that Gilani inflicted a loss of Rs 30 million annually on the national exchequer. He was convicted by an anti-corruption court formed by Musharraf and spent nearly six years in prison.
Chah-e-Yusuf ki Sada (Reflections from Yusuf’s Well):
While in jail wrote a book Chah-e-Yusuf ki Sada (Reflections from Yusuf’s Well) while in jail. In the book he describes his decision to leave the Muslim League and join the PPP. Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani’s first term as a public servant was as a nominee of General Zia-ul-Haq. This means that he was not part of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s original PPP team. Mr Gillani was elected as the chairman of the Multan union council in 1983. Two years later he was elected to the federal parliamentand made Minister of Housing and Railways. It was during this stint that circumstances arose which led to his leaving the League. While serving as a minister he fell out with then Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Junejo. This led to him being replaced as minister and sidelined in the party. In the book, he writes: “I was furious, and helpless at the same time, I knew I could not continue… and then I made up my mind - Bhutto loyalist.” Mr Gillani says he went to Karachi to meet Benazir Bhutto, Zulfiqar Bhutto’s daughter, then very much in the political wilderness. Mr. Gillani says he presented his offer to immediately join the PPP. “Ms Bhutto said to me, ‘There is nothing I can offer you, why have you come?’” Mr Gillani said his reply was what sealed his relationship with the PPP and the Bhuttos. “I said to her, there are three types of people in this world: “Lovers of honour; lovers of wisdom and lovers of wealth. I am of the first type, and that is all I want.” Soon afterwards, General Zia dismissed Mr Junejo’s government. Mr Gillani then joined the PPP, months before the General’s death bought an end to its political exile. His notes in the book, is history - written and preserved.
On March 22, 2008, the PPP nominated Gilani for the post of Prime Minister. PPP completed consultations with coalition partners about the Prime Minister and its allies endorsed the nomination. The formal announcement of the name of Prime Minister was expected to be made that night.
On March 22 at 9:38 pm Islamabad, (1638 GMT), he was officially announced by PPP as its candidate for the premiership of the country. There was widespread speculation that he would be a "stand-in" for Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's widower. Zardari does not hold a seat in Parliament and would need to win a by-election before it would be possible for him to become Prime Minister.
On March 24, 2008, Gilani was elected as Prime Minister by Parliament, defeating his rival, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi of the PML-Q, by a score of 264 to 42. He was sworn in by Musharraf on the next day. On March 29, he won a unanimous vote of confidence in parliament.
Salient features – Vote of Confidence:
Following the vote of confidence, Gillani announced the programme for the first 100 days of his administration. Some of the points he announced were:
• Frontier Crimes Regulations and Industrial Relations Order repealed
• A “truth and reconciliation commission” proposed
• PM House budget cut by 40 percent
• Special counters at airports for parliamentarians to be removed
• No money to be spent on the renovation of government buildings and residences
• A freedom of information law to be framed, while PEMRA will be made a subsidiary of the information ministry
• Talks will be initiated with extremists who lay down arms and ‘adopt the path of peace’
• A new package for tribal areas promised
• Employment commission to be set up
• Madressah authority to implement a uniform curriculum
• One million housing units to be built annually for low-income groups
• Irrigation channels to be bricklined.
• A lifting of the bans on elected labor and students’ unions.
An Active Political Soul:
Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has widely traveled across the world in various capacities. He led Pakistani delegations to a number of international conferences. As Federal Minister for Tourism, he attended the World Tourism Organization’s meeting held in Paris, France in 1989. He also attended a meeting of Pakistan Association of Travel Agents held in New Delhi, the same year.
As Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani led Pakistani parliamentarians’ delegations to several Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Conferences that include; the 91st Conference held in Paris in 1994, the 92nd Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1995, the 94th Conference held in Bucharest, Romania in 1995, the 95th Conference held in Istanbul Turkey in 1996. He addressed the United Nations on the occasion of its Golden Jubilee celebrations arranged by IPU. Earlier in 1987, as a young member of Parliamentary Delegation, he participated in the 87th meeting of the IPU held in Cameron.
Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani actively participated in the Commonwealth activities. He attended the Conferences of the Speakers/Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth countries held in Papua New Guinea in 1994, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1995, in Bali, Indonesia in 1995 and in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1996. He also visited United Kingdom to participate in the 50 years celebrations of the end of 2nd World War by Commonwealth, where he also had a meeting with the Speaker, House of Commons.
As the leader of parliamentary delegations, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani attended the 1st Conference of SAARC Countries’ Speakers in New Delhi and the 1st PAK-PAC meeting in Las Vegas. In the same capacity, he also visited Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Nepal, Maldives, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Australia, Papua New Guinea and Hungary. The other countries where he represented the country include; Hong Kong, Singapore, Netherlands, Macao, Burma, Thailand, Greece, Japan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and UAE. He participated in Climate - the Change Conference held in Manila, Philippines in 1996. He also undertook a study visit to Johannesburg, South Africa, organized by National Democratic Institute (NDI) on accountability system in 1997.
As part of the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s entourage, Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani visited several countries, which include Peoples Republic of China, India, Turkmenistan and Turkey. He represented Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in the annual International Convention of Social Democratic Party in Copenhagen, Denmark in 1990, and later the same year in Italy. He also hosted and presided over the first ever international Conference of Women Parliamentarians, held in Islamabad in 1995.
Yousuf Raza Gilani has four sons and a daughter. His eldest son, Syed Makhdoom Abdul Qadir Gilani, started his own political career from Multan, and in 2008 he married the granddaughter of Pir Pagara, an influential political figure of Sindh. He has three sons -- Ali Qasim, Ali Musa and Ali Haider and a daughter named Fiza.