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Makhdoom Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani
The first Multani Prime Minister of Pakistan

Makhdoom Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani (born June 9, 1952) is the new Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was nominated by Pakistan Peoples Party, with the support of coalition partners, Pakistan Muslim League (N), Awami National Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (F) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement on 22 March 2008. Yousaf Raza Gillani is the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan from the Saraiki-speaking belt. Another Seraiki-speaking politician, Balakh Sher Mazari, served as the caretaker prime minister for a brief period in 1993.

Gillani is also the present vice chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party, a former Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan (1993-1997) and former Federal minister (1985-1986). He has publicly vowed to restore the judges of the superior courts by the 16 April 2008, which is the key demand of PML-N.

Family and education

Makhdoom Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani belongs to an influential and spiritual family of Multan, born on June 9, 1952 in Karachi, Pakistan. His father was a descendant of Syed Musa Pak, a leading spiritual figure of Multan who had hailed from the Iranian province of Gilan. One of Gillani's maternal aunt is the wife of Pir Pagara. Makhdoom Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani is married and has four sons and one daughter, Fiza Gillani and one grandson. The eldest son of Yousaf Raza Gillani, Makhdoom Syed Abdul Qadir Gillani, will marry the grand-daughter of Pir Pagara on March 24, 2008 in Karachi. Yousaf Raza Gilani has Gilani has four sons and a daughter.

Gillani recieved early education at La Salle High School at Multan. He graduated with BA in 1970 and MA in Journalism from University of the Punjab in 1976. Afterwards, he went to England to complete a masters degree.

Political career

Yousuf Raza Gillani began his political journey from the platform of Pakistan Muslim League during General Zia-ul-Haq's martial law in 1978. He joined the Muslim League's Central Working Committee. He was also a cabinet member in the three-year government of Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo. He served as Minister of Housing and Works from April 1985 to January 1986 and Railways Minister from January 1986 to December 1986.

After a short stint with the Muslim League, Gillani become part of the Pakistan Peoples Party in 1988 and has since remained PPP's loyal and steadfast supporter. In the Benazir Bhutto government of 1988-1990, Gillani was again a cabinet minister: He was Minister of Tourism from March 1989 to January 1990 and again served as Minister of Housing and Works from January 1990 to August 1990.

In the Benazir government of 1993-1996, Gillani was elected the Speaker of National Assembly of Pakistan, which he stayed till February 1997.

He has been elected various times as Member of National Assembly from Multan. In the 2008 general election, he beat PML-Q leader Sikandar Hayat Bosan.


Yousaf Raza Gillani was arrested on 11 February 2001 under the auspices of National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the government's anti-corruption agency set up by the military government in 1999, over charges of the misuse of his authority while he was Speaker of the National Assembly. Specifically, he was accused of hiring up to 600 people from his constituency on government payroll.[5] NAB claimed that Gillani inflicted a loss of Rs 30 million annually on the national exchequer.[6] He was convicted by an anti-corruption court formed by President Pervez Musharraf and spent nearly six years in prison.

The legal proceeding were perceived by many as politically motivated -- his party, the PPP, was in opposition to President Musharraf, who had embarked on a campaign to coerce party members to switch sides. Thus his conviction by Musharraf backed courts and subsequent prison sentence is seen by a mark of loyalty within the PPP. His imprisonment was widely condemned by various people across the country including Syed Mushahid Hussain who is a senior leader of PML-Q.[citation needed] He was finally released on 7 October 2006 from Adiala Jail, after spending more than five years in prison. He subsequently denied that the release was part of any deal between PPP and the military government, as the original sentence ran for 10-year imprisonment.

Interesting Facts about Gillani

Here are some interesting facts about Makhdoom Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani profile. These have been compiled from a variety of sources, including the BBC, Dawn, and Daily Times.
  • Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani was born on 9 June 1952 in Karachi but his family hails from the Punjab. The Gillanis are among the most prominent of landowners and spiritual leaders in the south of the province. Their home town is the ancient Punjabi city of Multan. Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani is a member of an influential political family of Multan, started his political career in 1978 after the death of 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.
  • His larger family has always played a key role in Pakistan politics. His great grandfather Syed Sadruddin Shah’s brother Syed Rajan Bux Shah was the first Gillani to be elected to Indian Legislative Council in 1921. He remained its member till his death in 1936. Gillanis joined the All India Muslim League in 1940s. Rajan’s nephew Syed Mohammad Raza Shah defeated Unionist party candidate and PPP’s another contender for premiership Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s grandfather Makhdum Murid Hussain Qureshi in 1946 elections. Raza Shah was the only non-official president of the Multan District Board before Partition, defeating British Depty Commissioner EP Moon in the elections. He was brother of Yousaf Raza’s grandfather Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah. Raza’s son Hamid Raza Gillani won National Assembly seats in 1962, 1965, 1977 and 1985. He served as parliamentary secretary in 1960s and as a federal miniuster in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s 1977 cabinet. He was elected to Senate of Pakistan in 1991. Mustafa Shah’s son and Yousaf’s father Makhdum Alamdar Gillani was elected to Punjab Assembly in 1951 alongwith his brother Syed Walayat Hussain Shah. Alamdar Gillani was elevated to provincial health minister in 1953. He joined newly born Republican Party in 1956 and was disqualified by Ayub government from electoral politics. His brother and Yousaf’s uncle Rehmat Shah filled the vaccum by joining Ayub’s Conventional Muslim League and winning a provincial seat along with Hamid Raza who kept on leading the family on the electoral scene till the time Yousaf ousted him in 1990. Another cousin of Yousaf Raza Gillani, Syed Tanvirul Hasan Gillani, also won a national seat in 1990 but from the platform of Islami Jamhuri Ittehad (IJI).
  • Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani holds an MA in journalism at the University of the Punjab. He also studied at the Forman Christain (FC) College in Lahore and at La Salle High School at Multan.
  • Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani is a tall, softly-spoken man with an air of authority, supporters say he is known for doing the right thing.
  • Mr Gilani was the first elected chairman of the District Council, Multan. He defeated the local government minister Syed Fakhar Imam, some 25 years ago. In 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 Gilani, 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 and lost the party did not win a single seat in Punjab. He could not contest elections in 2002. In 2008 he defeated PML-Q’s Sikander Hayat Bosan.
  • 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.
  • Yousuf Raza Gillani served as the Speaker of Pakistan National Assembly between 1993-96. In 1995, Mr Gillani issued instructions for the release of parliamentarians detained by his own PPP government. When the interior ministry refused to oblige, he had the matter brought on record - a quite unprecedented action.
  • Yousuf Raza Gillani refused to join the renegade PPP enticed by the Musharraf regime. Because he refused to do a deal with Gen. Musharraf his loyalty is much admired within his party.
  • He was sent to jail by Gen. Musharraf in 2001, serving five years following a conviction over illegal government appointments.After being sentences by the Musharraf regime in 2001 he told reporters that the charges were “concocted and were fabricated to pressurise him to leave the PPP… Since I am unable to oblige them, they decided to convict me so that I could be disqualified and an example set for other political leaders who may learn to behave as good boys.” Reportedly, 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.
  • Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani spent six years in jail and could not contest the 2002 elections. 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: “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, of wisdom and of wealth. I am of the first type, and that is all I want.” Soon afterward, 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.
  • Yousuf Raza Gilani has four sons and a daughter.
  • He is also related to Pir Pagara, the head of PML-Functional. Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani is a descendent of Moosa Pak Shaheed, a great saint of Multan, Yousaf’s mother was a sister of Makhdum Hasan Mahmood of Jamaldinwali, Rahimyar Khan. Makhdum Hasan’s other sister was married to Pir of Pagaro. Yousaf’s first maternal cousin Makhdum Ahmad Mahmood is provincial president of Pir Pagara’s Functional League. Ahmad Mahmood’s sister is married to General Musharraf’s former loyalist Jehangir Tareen.
  • Makhdoom Syed Abdul Qadir Gillani, Yousaf Raza Gillani’s eledest son, marry the grand-daughter of Pir Pagara on March 24, 2008 in Karachi. The same day that he is elected the Prime Minister of Pakistan.