The Politician

Humayun Akhtar Khan started his political career in 1990, when he joined Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz. He has contested in General Elections and been a member of national assembly many times.

The Long Journey In Politics

 

Humayun’s return to Pakistan was followed by a brief period of self-consolidation after which he began his career in active politics under the banner of the Pakistan Muslim League in 1990. Since then, his political outlook and prudent policy recommendations have earned him enviable goodwill from the electorate and the political establishment alike. In the last two decades, he has served as member of the National Assembly of Pakistan on numerous occasions and has been part of Pakistan’s Federal Cabinet for eight of those years.

 

Early Years

 

Though Humayun did not officially participate in the general elections of 1988, he was active in campaigning for IJI candidates. It was in these early years that he observed the importance of effective constituency work by establishing contacts at the grassroots level, engaging in social work, and participating in development-oriented politics.He also started working for his constituency NA-92 Lahore, comprising areas of Shahdara, Shahdara Town, Badami Bagh and Northern Lahore. He began by tackling the problem of underdevelopment, which seemed to touch every aspect of civic life. In framing strategies to address problems, he again came in direct contact with the grass-roots, gaining insight into their most basic needs and on how a strategic plan to overhaul the area’s working machinery could bring about visible improvement in people’s lives. This direct contact with affectees and stakeholders was to become the central hallmark of his constituency politics.

 

Member National Assembly (1990-93)

 

Humayun entered the fray of NA-92 in 1992, the constituency that had traditionally been a PPP stronghold with party stalwarts like Hanif Ramay, Ghulam Mustafa Khar and Dr. Mubashir Hassan having long collective associations with it. Humayun won it by a margin of approximately 14,000 votes against Rafiq Ahmad Sheikh of the PPP, becoming the first PML candidate to clinch this constituency.After the election victory, Humayun quickly established his position by initiating massive development programs for the first time in the history of the constituency. He addressed the people’s social and developmental needs, spending approximately Rs1 billion in projects including road networks, water supply, sewerage systems, and the establishment of schools, college, and hospitals.

 

Member National Assembly (1993-96)

 

The 1993 general election was to test Humayun’s political acumen to the hilt. Shortly before the election, PML leader Nawaz Sharif shuffled constituencies taking NA-92 for himself and moving Humayun into the infinitely more challenging NA-93, the stronghold of Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, commonly known as the “Larkana of Lahore”. When the PML swept Lahore in the 1990 election, the PPP candidate still held this seat by a good 13,000 votes.With only four weeks to the vote, Humayun managed to upset Aitzaz Ahsan by 4,000 votes. Upon victory, he set about employing his tried and tested model of leveraging the grassroots for development work and turned a PPP stronghold into a PML one. His election success was proof that people react to improvement in their living standards.

 

Member National Assembly (1997-99)

 

Around the time President Leghari dismissed Benazir Bhutto’s government on corruption charges in 1996 and paved the way for fresh elections, Humayun and party leader Nawaz Sharif developed differences, which led Sharif to deny Humayun his turnaround constituency of NA-93. Consequently, Humayun contested from Rahim Yar Khan and won by 57,000 votes. This victory led to his appointment as Minister for Investment and Chairman of the Pakistan Board of Investment.

 

Member National Assembly (2000-07)

 

Around the time General Musharraf announced general elections in the fall of 2002, most leaders from the Nawaz group – including Humayun – had moved to form the PML-Q. Humayun managed a close victory contesting against Akram Zaki of PML-N from NA-125 (once a part of what was once NA-93), leading Zaki to challenge the election results in the Lahore High Court, and subsequently in the Supreme Court of Pakistan, where the petition was dismissed.At the time of formation of government in 2002, Humayun’s name was chosen as most appropriate for the position of Prime Minister. Yet against popular advice, General Musharraf gambled on the Balochistan card and appointed Zafarullah Jamali instead. When the party sacked Jamali in 2004, friction between the President and Prime minister had reached high proportions, Humayun’s name was again considered as the most likely candidate. However, General Musharraf gave in to pressure from the Chaudhrys and banked on Citi banker Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz instead. Robbed of the premiership twice, Humayun returned to the Commerce Ministry and ended the term with record export earnings.

 

Parting ways with the Q-league

 

The February 2008 election resulted in a rout for the ruling PML-Q for a number of reasons: 1) Benazir Bhutto’s tragic assassination led to a natural sympathy vote for the PPP; that the unfortunate incident had a direct correlation to the PPP’s electoral success is beyond question; 2) people had come to associate all PML-Q party leaders with General Musharraf’s policies; a high growth that ran into high inflation towards the end of the term and accusations leveled by Asif Ali Zardari against the ruling party for murdering his late wife led to a dip in public opinion; 3) General Musharraf’s repeated clampdown on the media industry led media giants to unite in a campaign against his government, one timed and calculated to hit the Q-league hard during elections.Following defeat, an increase in the Chaudhry brothers’ arbitrary decision-making and family-based politics ruffled quite a few senior feathers within the party. When attempts at dialogue failed, Humayun allied himself with fellow party members Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri, Salim Saifullah Khan, Hamid Nasir Chattha, Gohar Ayub Khan, and Arbab Ghulam Rahim, boycotted the party’s 2009 elections and formed the breakaway PML-Q (Likeminded) faction. Of late, different PML factions, including PML-F, PML-Q (Likeminded), PML-Zia, and the Awami Muslim League have merged into an umbrella alliance called the Mutahida Muslim League, aimed at presenting voters with a united Muslim League at election time.On August 11, 2011, the PML-N and PML-Q (Likeminded) announced an alliance of their two parties. This is a significant step in the unification of the Muslim League vote bank.