Friday March 31, 2023

Shehbaz, Hamza: one of most prominent father-son duos in politics

April 17, 2022

LAHORE: Pakistan’s new premier, Shehbaz Sharif, and his son, Hamza, have now emerged as one of the most prominent father-son duos in politics, though this is nothing new in the international policy making arena.

Research shows that three generations of the Sheikh Abdullah family in Held Kashmir have held the position of chief minister in the troubled valley.

Sheikh Abdullah, his son Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah have all called shots in the power corridors of the Indian-Occupied Kashmir.

In India, the world’s largest democracy, the appointment of Basavaraj Bommai as Karnataka’s chief minister had made him join the illustrious club where a chief minister’s son had gone on to become a chief minister himself.

Basavaraj's father, S.R. Bommai, was also the CM of the state for a brief period in the late 80s in the Janata Dal government.

According to famous Indian newspaper “The Deccan Herald,” H.D Kumaraswamy is another example, who also stepped into the shoes of his chief minister father, Deve Gowda. Andhra Pradesh’s chief minister, Jagan Mohan Reddy’s father, Rajasekhar Reddy, had also held chief minister’s position for a few years in 2004.

Another set of such examples are Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party’s Karunanidhi and his son M.K. Stalin. While Stalin took oath as Tamil Nadu CM for the first time in 2021, his father Karunanidhi had held this position for almost two decades between 1969 and 2011.

Hemwati Bahuguna held the position of Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister between 1973 and 1975, while his eldest son, Vijay Bahuguna, was elected as the chief minister of Uttarakhand State in 2012.

Father-son duo of Biju Patnaik and Naveen Patnaik also held the chief minister’s post in Odisha state of India. Another Indian father-son duo who held chief minister’s position are Shakarrao and Ashok Chavan.

While Shankarrao held the post twice, his son sat on this cozy chair from 2008-2010 as chief minister of Maharashtra.

Arunachal Pradesh chief minister, Pema Khandu’s father, Dorjee Khandu, had also held the position of chief minister of that state from 2007 to 2011. Jharkhand’s chief minister, Hemant Soren’s father, Shibu Soren, was also the state’s chief minister.

It is imperative to note that the founder and the former President of Shiv Sena, Bal Thackeray, was a powerful influence and a force to reckon with in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

After his death in 2012, his son, Uddhav Thackeray, took charge of carrying forward his father’s legacy by taking up the position of President of Shiv Sena.

Under the tutelage of Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena transitioned from a religious cum political party to a mainstream political party.

Similarly, the Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo, Lalu Prasad Yadav, is one Indian politician doused in controversies and legal battles since what seems like forever.

Lalu Yadav served as the chief minister of Bihar twice and the Minister of Railways for five years.

He was booked under multiple scams and is currently serving his due in jail for the fourth fodder scam case.

The Deccan Herlad writes: “Both his sons, Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav have inherited their father’s political gene.

Tejashwi Yadav currently is the leader of opposition in Bihar Legislative Assembly and has formerly served as the deputy chief minister of Bihar in the Nitish Kumar government.

Tej Pratap Yadav, on the other hand, was the former Health Minister of Bihar.

From what is evident from the statements made by the sons and the father with respect to each other, theirs seems to be a closely knit political family with the sons having understood the political landscape and the intricacies of politics from their father’s experiences.”

Another strong father-son duo is that of Mulayam Singh Yadav and Akhilesh Yadav who have their stronghold in Uttar Pradesh.

Mulayam Singh is the founder of Samajwadi Party and had served as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh thrice for three non-consecutive terms.

The Indian media house under review states: “Mulayam’s son, Akhilesh Yadav, followed his father’s footsteps deftly.

He became the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in 2012 serving his complete tenure of five years.” There does not seem to be a dearth of powerful father-son and father-daughter duos in Indian politics.

The Deccan Herald asserts: “Pranab Mukherjee-Sharmistha Mukherjee, Rajiv Gandhi-Rahul Gandhi-Priyanka Gandhi are others who have made their mark in the Indian political scenario.

How deserving are these young leaders is still a subject of debate and one that will not die out soon, but democracy being the people’s government that it is would probably take care that one who finally gets to sit on the political throne is the one who has ‘righteously’ defeated the others.”

We all know that former Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, and his younger brothers, Shehbaz and late Abbas, are already among the celebrated set of siblings to have made a mark in their country’s politics, along with the likes of Pakistan’s first Chief Martial Law Administrator and second President, Muhammad Ayub Khan (1907-1974), and his younger brother Sardar Bahadur Khan (1908–1975), who had formed the first formidable pair of siblings to greet the country’s political arena.

While President Ayub Khan had ruled between 1958 and 1969, his brother Sardar Bahadur Khan was the ninth chief minister of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (the-then NWFP).

Interestingly, after the 1962 elections, Sardar Bahadur Khan became Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly of Pakistan during the government of his brother, President Ayub Khan, a very rare case of its kind anywhere on the planet!

Another former Pakistani premier and president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and his daughter, late Benazir Bhutto, are the only father-daughter duo who held reins of the country as head of governments.

Benazir’s husband, Asif Zardari, then became President of Pakistan in 2008 after her untimely death.

In Bangladesh, first president and later prime minister, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and his daughter, premier Sheikh Hasina, also ruled their countries.

In Sri Lanka, Sirima Bandaranaike, became world’s first woman premier in 1994, after her husband, Dias Bandaranaike, had served in the same capacity in 1956.

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi, served as her country’s State Counsellor (equivalent to a Prime Minister), as did her father, General Aung San, who was premier of the British Crown Colony of Burma.

Three members of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, have served as Indian premiers, while several others have been members of the parliament.

The rise of these political sibling pairs and trios in arms are enough to make one wonder whether electability might just be genetic.

The 43rd American President, George Walker Bush Junior, was the eldest son of President George Bush senior, whose younger son John Ellis "Jeb" Bush had served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007.

The Kennedy family had also been prominent in American politics. John Kennedy was sworn in as the American President in 1961.

John had named his younger brother Robert as the attorney general, and a year later their baby brother, Ted Kennedy, was elected to fill the President’s old Senate seat in Massachusetts, a post he held until 2009.

Robert had also served in the Senate from 1965 until his assassination in 1968.

Fidel Castro had served as the Prime Minister of Cuba from 1959 to 1976, and President from 1976 to 2008. Due to failing health, in 2006 he transferred his responsibilities to his brother and the Vice-President Raul Castro, who formally assumed the Presidency in 2008.

Former Polish President, Lech Kaczynski, had served as his country’s head of state from 2005 until 2010 and as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until December 2005.

On April 10, 2010, his aircraft had crashed in Russia, killing him, his wife Maria and all 96 people on board.

He was the identical twin brother of the former Polish Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

David Miliband served as a former British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2007 to 2010. He and his brother, a noted Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, were the first siblings to sit in the British Cabinet simultaneously since Edward, Lord Stanley and Oliver Stanley in 1938.