Raja Pervaiz AshrafPolitician
Biography Of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf
Ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan
Affiliation(s): Pakistan People’s Party
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf (born 26 December 1950) is a businessman, agriculturist, and politician who served as 25th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 22 June 2012 until completing his designated term on 16 March 2013.
Prior to be elevated as Prime minister, he previously served as the Minister for Water and Power in the Yousaf Raza Gillani-led government from March 2008 to February 2011. A senior-ranking leader in the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from Rawalpindi District, Ashraf assumed premiership on 22 June 2012 after Yousaf Raza Gillani was disqualified over contempt of court charges. Shortlisted by the PPP as a candidate for the post, he was eventually elected based on a 211–89 vote in the National Assembly. Tackling the corruption scandals, one of the major achievements during his premiership was his interest to develop and implement hydro projects in particular Neelum-Jhelum project of 970 MW.
The project had received a big jolt when the Chinese Exim Bank refused to release $448 million loan linking it to the restoration of the Safe City Project in Islamabad which has been stopped by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.During his tenure Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) had launched a number of mega and medium-sized projects in Gilgit–Baltistan.
Personal life and childhood
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was born on 26 December 1950 in Sanghar, interior Sindh. He graduated from the University of Sindh in 1970 and was involved in agriculture before entering politics. He is married to Nusrat Pervaiz Ashraf and has four children, which include two sons and two daughters. Ashraf belongs to the Minhas clan of Pakhral and is originally from Gujar Khan, an industrial town in the Rawalpindi District of the Potohar region in northern Punjab. The Potohar region is home to numerous prominent political and military personalities.Ashraf comes from a middle class Potohari-speaking family of landowners who have had a traditional background in politics. An uncle of his served as a minister in the cabinet of Ayub Khan during the 1960s. His parents owned agricultural land in the town of Sanghar in Sindh, where he was Born and brought up. Ashraf is multilingual and can fluently speak English, Urdu, Punjabi and Potwari and Sindhi.
He is regarded as an important PPP loyalist and leader in the Rawalpindi region. He contested parliamentary elections in 1990, 1993 and 1997. He won in elections held in 2002 and then in 2008, following which he was appointed as federal minister for water, and as power minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani.
Member of Parliament
Ashraf has been twice elected Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan (MNA) from his constituency of Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi District. He won re-election in the February 2008 elections. During his time as an MNA, he served as a member of the Standing Committee on Kashmir and the Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights. Before his ascendance to the post of prime minister, he was also the secretary general of the PPP.
Prime Minister of Pakistan
On 26 April 2012, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani was convicted of being in contempt of court for refusing to bring charges against President Asif Ali Zardari. On 19 June 2012, Gillani was retroactively ruled ineligible to hold the office by the Supreme Court. The ruling Pakistan People’s Party nominated textile minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin to replace Gillani, but the nomination failed when the Anti-Narcotics Force issued a warrant for Shahabuddin’s arrest on drug charges. Ashraf was then selected as the party’s next option.
On 22 June 2012, Raja Pervez Ashraf was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan by a 211–89 vote.Ashraf and his cabinet were sworn in on the same day. His selection as Prime Minister restored the country’s government after several days of turmoil where officially the country was without a government. The Associated Press said Ashraf’s election was “unlikely to calm the tensions roiling the country” and noted that many observers expected him be eventually be ousted like his predecessor. Political analyst Raza Rumi said Ashraf was likely chosen by the PPP because they knew he would not last long. On 24 July 2012, the Government informed the Supreme Court, one day before expiry of the court’s deadline, that it has not taken a decision on reopening of the graft cases against President Zardari.
On 15 January 2013, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the arrest of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf for alleged corruption as Ashraf was accused of kickbacks from rental power plants that were part of a project intended to serve as part of the solution to Pakistan’s power problems. The media derided Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as Rental Raja. The arrest order came at the same time as the Long March culminated in the national capital of Islamabad. None of the accused in the rental case has been convicted so far. The rental power case is pending with independent Supreme court for nearly four years and no conviction has been made. Ashraf has time and again demanded clearance of his name and denies all the charges. Ashraf in his appearance in the Supreme Court categorically denied such charges and offered his complete cooperation with all authorities and courts. A member of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party referred to the arrest order as “a conspiracy” while Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik, claimed that “Even after this order, (Ashraf) is the prime minister and, God willing, he will continue as prime minister.” The accountability court in Islamabad indicted former Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and six others in the rental power case on 16 January 2014.
Raja Pervez Ashraf appointed his son-in-law Raja Azeem in World Bank (Executive Director-Pakistan and others) in violation of rules and an example of Nepotism prevalent in Pakistani political elite.
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