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September 29, 2012

Gujrat politics: Saeed’s son may challenge his uncle Ahmed Mukhtar


Web Desk
September 29, 2012

ISLAMABAD: Over five decades old deep-rooted family relations and the Sharif brothers’ relentless attempts to completely besiege the Chaudhrys of Gujrat in the latter’s hometown in the next general elections resulted in Chaudhry Ahmed Saeed’s joining of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
Sharifs believe that heavyweight Ahmed Saeed’s induction has further dented the Chaudhrys after the massive damage done to them by the switching over of the Nawabzadas of Gujrat except Ghazanfar Gull, who belongs to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), to the PML-N a few days back.
Four politically influential brothers and nephews of Ghazanfar Gull have deserted, making him the only Nawabzada standing with the PPP in Gujrat. However, his antipathy with the Chaudhrys of Gujrat is also so intense that he has announced he would contest against them as an independent even if the PPP did not award him the ticket.
The two brothers, Ahmed Saeed and Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Water and Power minister have estranged relations for over a decade now. Their multifaceted sprawling family business has been amicably divided between them, sources close to the billionaire pedigree say.
Ahmed Saeed, who is not keeping a good health, may not add any huge number of votes to the PML-N because of being politically inactive for years in Gujrat, but he has certainly brought nobility and dignity with him. He enjoys a lot of respect in Gujrat as well.
One source said health would be the main impediment if Ahmed Saeed did not contest next elections from Gujrat. In that case, his son Arif Saeed, who is currently serving as Chairperson of Punjab’s Technical Education & Vocational Authority and Vice Chairman of the Daanish Schools system in an honorary capacity, may jump in the electoral fray to challenge the Chaudhrys and, maybe his own uncle, Ahmed Mukhtar.
However, the former defence minister Ahmed Mukhtar has publicly aired his reservations over the bid of his elder brother

or his son to contest elections.
A source close to Arif Saeed said the young man draws no salary or perks and privileges and even bears the expenses of entertainment in his office from his own pocket.
The two-year ban that a civil servant faces to take part in elections will not apply to Arif Saeed because in 1993 the Supreme Court held that Ishaq Dar, who acted as chairman of the Board of Investment in an honorary capacity, can’t be considered a government employee and thus he can contest elections, the source said.
Sharifs’ patriarch late Mian Mohammad Sharif used to have superb relations with the father of Saeed and Mukhtar, Chaudhry Mohammad Hussain, dating back to the sixties when the two families set up and expanded their industries.
Another source said that during their lifetime Mian Sharif and Mohammad Hussain would visit each other’s houses several times for consultations. They had immense admiration for each other.
“All along, Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif have been very respectful of Ahmed Saeed, regarding him as their elder,” the source, who knows the two families for decades, told The News.
Ahmed Saeed, who is highly respected by all and sundry for his integrity and credibility, has mostly stayed away from politics while Ahmed Mukhtar has been contesting elections against the Chaudhrys from Gujrat and has been winning and facing defeats.
But despite being in the PPP, Ahmed Saeed’s relations with Sharifs have never been even slightly affected. During the tenure of Benazir Bhutto as prime minister, he was made Chairman of the Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan. In Pervez Musharraf’s time, he was appointed as the chief of the Pakistan International Airlines.
The source said that while heading the national carrier, he always bought air tickets for travel inside and outside of Pakistan from his pocket, and drew no salary or other perks and privileges as he held the office in an honorary capacity.
Several years back, Ahmed Saeed set up a Businessmen’s Trust Hospital in Lahore, which was later renamed as Shalamar Trust Hospital. Now, it also has a medical college and a nursing school.
Malik Amin Aslam, former member of the National Assembly from Attock, Mustafa advocate, son of Justice (retd) Khalilur Rehman Ramday, and Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Aamir Ali Ahmed are the sons-in-law of Ahmed Saeed.Mustafa Ramday’s wife is a partner with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in the Polo Lounge restaurant, a family source said.

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