ISLAMABAD - The tale of two brothers, Mohammad Zubair and Asad Umar, becomes all the more interesting as both have chosen politics as their career but on different political trajectories.
The two siblings of retired Gen Ghulam Omar are graduated from the same known business school of the country but when both took politics as a career, the one joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and other joined the rival party — the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Now Muhammad Zubair is considered a senior leader of the PML-N and has recently resigned from the position of governor Sindh while Asad Umar is being portrayed as the future finance minister of the next PTI government in the centre.
Both brothers are among the economic teams of the two rival parties.
The story of both the brothers becomes more interesting as Zubair at one time had been enjoying key positions in the last PML-N government and Umar at the same time was among the top leadership of his party that helped the party to play the role of a strong opposition against the ruling party. The story doesn’t end here as now Zubair has alleged that the July 25 election was completely rigged while, on the other hand, the younger brother Umar is busy in saying that the elections were conducted free and fair as compared to other elections in the political history of Pakistan.
Zubair, the other day visited the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s headquarters in Bahadurabad, Karachi, in an effort to convince the party not to forge a coalition with the PTI in the centre. He later told the media that the PTI had emerged as the “biggest beneficiary” of the alleged rigging in the July 25 election. This is mere a co-incident or it would remain a mystery that both the brothers joined politics in 2012 after remaining on top positions in the private sector and within a short span of time, both gained important positions in their respective parties. Umar was being considered the highest paid CEO of any company in Pakistan when he left Engro Pakistan in 2012 and joined the PTI as a technocrat. PTI chief Imran Khan in his campaign of the 2013 general election used to give the example of Umar that a man has left his highest paid job only to serve the masses.
The PTI gave a ticket to Umar in the August 2013 by-election on a National Assembly seat of Islamabad (old NA-48) that was vacated by the then PTI leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi who had won more than one NA seats in the 2013 election. Umar defeated PML-N candidate Ashraf Gujjar and, for the first time, became the member of the National Assembly. After this, he continued playing his role as a public representative in and out the parliament and also remained a member of the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Finance. At the same time, he kept on advising the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on matters related to planning and economic under the directions of Imran Khan.
Umar, a Karachiite, graduated from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi in 1984 and holds an MBA degree. He first joined the Canada-based Exxon Chemical Pakistan and then returned to Pakistan to join Engro Corporation in 1985. In 1997, he was appointed the first CEO of Engro Polymer and Chemicals, the petrochemical company of the group. He became the President and CEO of Engro Corporation in 2004 till he took early retirement in 2012. He is being credited for turning a chemical company into a major conglomerate and is considered one of the most popular and the highest-paid CEOs in Pakistan.
Zubair, the outing going Sindh governor, was an appointee of the PML-N. He took the oath of his office in February 2017 after the death of his predecessor retired justice Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui. Before this, the last PML-N government first appointed him the chairman of the Board of Investment. Then he was made the chairman of Privatization Commission of Pakistan with the status of a state minister. He remained on this position from 2013 to 2017 till he was appointed as the 32nd governor of Sindh.
After joining the PML-N, he also remained part of PML-N's economic, tax reforms and media committees.
Zubair is also a graduate of the IBA and holds an MBA degree. After completion of his education in 1981, he became a member of the IBA’s faculty and had been teaching financial management in the evening classes between 1981 and 1986. In the same year, he joined the famous IT Company, IBM, and held various positions during his 26 year-long career there, until his resignation in 2007. He undertook several assignments at IBM in Paris, Rome, Milan and Dubai. After his resignation, he had first started hosting TV shows on the country’s business and economy. On 28 July, he announced to resign from the office of Sindh governor as he was the appointee of the last PML-N government.
Mohammad Zubair (L) and Asad Umar – the brothers who share a deep interest in politics but have chosen quite different paths for realisation of their goals