ISLAMABAD: Mamnoon Hussain, who is set to be elected as president of Pakistan on July 30 courtesy the numerical strength of his party, started his politics as a Muslim Leaguer in 1969.
At the time, he was made joint secretary of the Karachi chapter of the League when former minister of state for foreign affairs Zain Noorani was its president.
Nothing much is publicly known about his usually low profile. However, from amongst the Leaguers, senior PML-N Senator Mushahidullah is quite aware of different facets of Mamnoon Hussain’s career and offered a peep into it.
He says the would-be president has done MBA from the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi as well as Darse Nizami course. Mamnoon Hussain originally hails from Agra (India).
Mamnoon Hussain’s group has a lot of say in the politics of the Karachi chamber and Gymkhana where it has been contesting their elections, winning and losing. Once he was also president of the Karachi chamber. He has a good say in a set of Karachi-based businessmen.
Mamnoon Hussain has his textile business and office in Allahwali Market Karachi. He is not a big businessman but has contacts with wealthy industrialists and entrepreneurs. He always arranged their meetings with PML-N President Nawaz Sharif in Karachi.
He was seen actively involved in the PML-N since 1993 when Nawaz Sharif was in the opposition. He pooled ample funds, which covered almost half of the price of the sprawling PML-N Central Secretariat located on the Margalla Road Islamabad that the party then purchased. As Pervez Musharraf imposed martial law, the new PML-Q stormed the office and captured it. It continues to be with it, and the PML-N has made no bid to get it back.
Before Mamnoon Hussain was appointed governor of Sindh by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999 to serve in this position for less than six months, he worked as advisor to the provincial chief minister (Liaquat Ali Jatoi) for an insignificant portfolio.
After the promulgation of military rule in October 1999, Mamnoon Hussain firmly stood with Nawaz Sharif when multitudes of PML-N leaders simply abandoned their party. He would always be seen with other PML-N leaders when incarcerated Nawaz Sharif would appear in the anti-terrorism court in Karachi in connection with the plane hijacking case.
During all this period starting in 1993, Mamnoon Hussain has held different positions in the Sindh branch of the party. However, he would leave the PML-N post after his election as president. His son holds a senior executive post in the Citibank.
Mamnoon Hussain’s rivals, Raza Rabbani of the PPP and Justice (R) Wajiuddin, also come from Karachi. Although the PPP is engaged in a hectic campaign for Rabbani, it is likely to finally boycott the election on the ground that the Supreme Court advanced the polling day without hearing it, which deprived if of the sufficient time to campaign. Even if he remains in the field, he has no chances to win.
Mamnoon Hussain earned the expected support of Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s Jamiat Ulemae Islam (JUI) on Thursday only after the latter held a meeting with the prime minister. The JUI has thirty-six votes in the Electoral College. At the same time, the Awami National Party (ANP) extended backing to Raza Rabbani. It has 15 votes, 12 from the Senate, one from the
National Assembly and two from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly.The most convincing feature, among a host of characteristics of Mamnoon Hussain that appealed Nawaz Sharif to sponsor him, is the strong belief that he will be a non-interfering, non-intruding president, who will at no stage create problems for the prime minister. Mamnoon Hussain has already stated that he did not want to be a president like Asif Ali Zardari or Ghulam Ishaq Khan.