ISLAMABAD - After successfully winning the NA-156 (Multan-III) seat, Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi will most likely hold a powerful portfolio in the upcoming federal cabinet led by party chief Imran Khan.
Though he was a strong aspirant for the Punjab chief minister’s slot before elections, at least for the time being, it seems not possible because he had been defeated by an independent candidate on the provincial assembly seat PP-217 (Multan-VII).
Qureshi, who leads a major segment of like-minded people within the PTI, hails from the Qureshi family of district Multan, which is also the caretaker of the Bahauddin Zakariya shrine.
His father, Sajjad Hussain Qureshi, was a prominent politician and a member of the PPP in the 1970s. The senior Qureshi supported the presidency of Gen Ziaul Haq after former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s hanging and later served as the governor of Punjab from December 1985 to December 1988.
Born in Murree, Qureshi received his early education from Aitcheson College and went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in history from Forman Christian College and a then a law degree from Cambridge University.
He made the entry into parliamentary politics as a member of the Punjab Assembly from Multan as an independent candidate in 1985. Later, he joined the Pakistan Muslim League led by former prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo. The party was a bunch of leagues unified by military dictator Ziaul Haq.
He contested for a provincial assembly seat again in 1988 on a ticket of Pakistan Muslim League led by former premier Nawaz Sharif. He was re-elected to Punjab Assembly and served as the Minister of Planning and Development in the cabinet of the then chief minister Nawaz Sharif.
In 1990, Qureshi joined the re-organized Manzoor Wattoo led Pakistan Muslim League–Junejo and he was once again elected to the Punjab Assembly from Multan. He served as the finance minister in the cabinet of the then chief minister Manzoor Wattoo from 1990 to 1993.
In 1993, Qureshi again switched his loyalty and joined the Pakistan Peoples’ Party for the first time elected to the National Assembly from Multan and served as minister of state for parliamentary affairs in the former premier Benazir Bhutto-led cabinet.
After the end of the Bhutto’s government, he was also made a spokesperson for the party, he was defeated by PML-N’s Makhdoom Javed Hashmi in the 1997general election from Multan.
He also served as district nazim of Multan during 2000-2002 but he resigned and contested the 2002 general election from Multan and made it to the National Assembly against and Benazir Bhutto appointed him as the president of PPP Punjab chapter. In 2008, he again managed to reach the National Assembly and served as the foreign minister in the Yousaf Raza Gillani-led cabinet. However, he was dropped from the cabinet after a reshuffle in 2011. Some analysts believe that his exit from the cabinet was caused by Raymond Davis controversy.
Whatsoever the reasons were behind his leaving the cabinet but one thing was quite clear that he left the PPP during its peak and resigned from the National Assembly seat in 2011 and announced his support for the Imran Khan-led PTI.
He again made it to the National Assembly in 2013 and led his party from the front in the Lower House of Parliament because Khan was rarely seen in House during the last five years.
Contrary to most other politicians having a religious background, he knows foreign affairs and economy quite well and he is a dynamic leader with excellent communication skills.
He would be a senior minister in the Khan-led federal cabinet as his rival within the party Jahangir Khan Tareen had already been ousted from electoral politics by the Supreme Court.