LAHORE - For the first time in the history of Jamaat-e-Islami, the party members did not re-elect a sitting Ameer for the office of party head.Sirajul Haq, currently deputy Ameer of JI and Senior Minister in KPK government, has been elected as the fifth Ameer of the Jamaat for next five years. He will take oath as JI Ameer in first week of April, and was quoted as saying he will resign from the ministerial slot before assuming charge as JI head.History shows that whenever a sitting Ameer was nominated by the JI Shura, he was reelected for next term. But, Syed Munawar Hasan despite being nominated by the JI Shura for reelection was voted out by party members.Although, it was reported that Munawar expressed his inability to lead the party for next term in a party Shura meeting but the Shura did not accept his excuse and nominated him as candidate for party head along with incumbent JI General Secretary Liaqat Baloch and JI deputy Ameer Sirajul Haq.According to the JI election scheme, the JI central Shura nominates three persons for the top slot of the party although the members (Arakan) are free to vote for anyone else as well.The election result was announced by the head of the election team, Abdul Hafeez Ahmed, at a press conference at JI headquarter in Mansoora on Sunday announced the victory of Sirajul Haq. He said that five year term of Munawar Hasan would end in April.Abdul Hafeez said the election of JI Ameer was held through secret ballot. He said that ballot papers were issued to 30,759 members (Arakan) out of the total of 31,301 members and as many as 25,533 ballot papers were received back. Thus, the vote turnout was 85 per cent. But, he did not tell that how many votes were cast for which candidate.Majority of the party men present on the occasion were very excited to hear the announcement of Sirajul Haq’s victory. They were thanking God and admiring party tradition and process of transparent election for party leadership. They were saying that the party also broke its tradition of electing the sitting ameer for next term.Outgoing JI Ameer Syed Munawar Hasan told this correspondent that smooth transfer of power was tradition of his party. He confirmed that in the JI Shura meeting he had expressed his inability for next term due to unsound health and old age. He said although the Shura did not accept his excuse but this factor influenced the opinion of members.Munawar said that he welcomed Sirajul Haq as new JI chief and expressed his hope that this development would be beneficial for the Jamaat. He said due to this new responsibility Siraj would resign from his ministerial seat. Although party constitution doesn’t put a bar on holding the two offices simultaneously, yet it is too difficult to do and hence unadvisable, he said.Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif felicitated Sirajul Haq on his election victory. In a statement, he expressed the hope that new JI Ameer will play his positive role for promotion of democratic values. MQM chief Altaf Hussain, PTI chief Imran Khan, PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Pervez Elahi and others also congratulated Siraj on becoming new JI chief. Sirajul Haq was born in December 1962, at Samar Bagh in district Dir. He did his masters in Political Science from University of Peshawar and is well-versed in several languages including Urdu, Pashto, Persian and Arabic.Sirajul Haq remained Nazim-e-Aala of Islami Jamiat Talaba from 1988 to 1991. He was elected member of the KPK (then NWFP) provincial assembly in 2002 but resigned from the assembly seat in protest against the drone attack at Doma Dolla Madrisah. He was reelected as MPA last year and presently is the Senior Minister in the KPK.Syed Abul Ala Maududi was the founding Ameer of JI and after him Mian Muhammad Tufail was elected as second JI Ameer. Qazi Hussain Ahmed was third JI chief while Syed Munawar Hasan was forth to head the religio-political party.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 31-Mar-2014 here.