Photo: premier.gov.ru / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)
Born: July 9, 1952
Age: 67 years
Born Place: Karachi
Books: Cah-i Yusuf se ?ada
Siblings: Ahmed Mujtaba Gillani, Nargis Moeen Bokhari
Spouse: Fauzia Gillani
Net Worth: ₨77.5 million (US$470,000)
Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani, also spelled Gilani (Urdu: یوسف رضا گیلانی; born 9 July 1952), is a Pakistani politician who served as 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 25 March 2008 until his retroactive disqualification and ouster by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 26 April 2012. He currently serves as the vice-chairman of the central executive committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party.
After 1988 general elections, he secured his ministerial appointment in the Ministry of Tourism in the government of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and since then, he had been a senior member of parliament for the Multan District. After his party securing the plurality in the 1993 general elections, Gillani was elevated 15th Speaker of the National Assembly by the-Prime minister Benazir Bhutto, a post he held until 16 February 1997. On 11 February 2001, Gillani was imprisoned in Adiala Jail by a military court instituted under President Pervez Musharraf on accusations and charges of corruption, and released on 7 October 2006.
In the wake of 2008 general elections, his party formed a four-party coalition alliance and nominated him for the office of Prime minister. He is the first prime minister that holds the distinction (thus far, the only prime minister to have achieve this milestone) for successfully presenting five consecutive federal budgets. As Prime minister, Gillani announced the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, rehabilitation of the troubled and war-torn tribal belt, and promised to reduce the federal budget deficit as well as announcing his ambitions to improve the system of education. This was followed by announcing the new agriculture, land and economic policy that lifted the bans on labour and students’ unions, while worked and implemented the new energy and nuclear policies to tackle the energy crisis in the country. But his policies, without meaningful economic reforms, led to a high rise in inflation and sharp decline in economic performance, a period referred to as “Era of Stagflation”.
A consistently strong US ally as prime minister, Gillani was ranked as 38th most powerful person in the world by Forbes. After years of confronting and resisting the Supreme Court of Pakistan rulings to reinstate the corruption cases against Benazir and Asif Zardari, he was convicted by the supreme court of violating the article 63(1)(g) of the constitution of Pakistan, on 26 April 2012. The verdict was rendered by the Supreme Court when it found him the guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against president Asif Ali Zardari, but it gave him only a symbolic sentence “till the rising of the court”, a sentence lasting 30 seconds. Finally, on 19 June 2012, he was disqualified and ousted by the Supreme Court from holding the prime minister office, with the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry clarifying that: “Gillani had ceased to be [the] prime minister and (is) disqualified from membership of parliament on 26 April 2012, the date of his conviction”.
On 5th June, 2020 , American blogger Cynthia D. Ritchie accused Yousaf Raza Gillani and other government officials of rape and molestation while he was in office. He has denied the allegations.
PERSONAL LIFE AND BACKGROUND
Makhdoom Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani belongs to an influential Sufi Muslim family of Multan. He is a descendant of the Sufi saint Sayyid Musa Pak Shahid Gilani.
His father Makhdoom Syed Alamdar Hussain Gilani was one of the signatories of the Pakistan resolution and later served as a provincial minister in Punjab. His uncle Makhdoom Syed Wilayat Hussain Shah served as the chairman of District council Multan whereas he also remained a member of the legislative assembly. His grandfather Makhdoom Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah also served as the chairman of the Municipal Corporation of Multan and later got elected as a member of the legislative assembly in the 1945–46 general elections. His great gandfather Makhdoom Syed Sadar-ud-din Shah Gilani was invited to the Delhi Darbar in 1910 whereas Sadar-ud-Din Shah Gilani’s Brother Makhdoom Syed Rajan Baksh Gilani remained a member of the legislative council and later served as the first Muslim mayor of Multan.
Family and education
Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani was born on 9 June 1952 in Multan, Punjab, West-Pakistan. Gillani moved to Lahore, Punjab, attending the Forman Christian College University. He attended Government College University and obtained his B.A. in Journalism in 1970, and followed by an MA in Political journalism from the University of the Punjab in 1976. In an interview given to Vasatolah Khan of BBC Urdu, Gilani maintained that “if he had not pursue his career in the national politics, he would have been a civil engineer.”
Gillani is married to Fauzia Gillani, together they have four sons and one daughter, and five grandchildren. His eldest son, Abdul Qadir Gillani, started his own political career from Multan, and in 2008 he married the granddaughter of Pir Pagara Shah Mardan Shah II, an influential political and religious leader of Sindh. Abdul Qadir is alleged to have been involved in a corruption case over arrangements for pilgrims to Mecca and in a scandal at a state-owned insurance company. Gillani’s three other sons Ali Qasim Gillani, Ali Musa Gillani and Ali Haider Gillani are triplets. Qasim Gillani is currently doing his undergraduate studies at Brunel University of London. Gillani’s daughter Fiza Gillani is the Good-Will Ambassador of Women and has one son called Asfandyar Gillani. Musa Gillani completed his Masters at Queen Mary University of London in 2009 and was an MNA in his father’s cabinet. Ali Haider Gillani studied at School of Economics in Lahore. Ali Musa Gillani after completing his studies is now actively participating in politics. Ali Musa was questioned by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) agents over a scandal.
On 9 May 2013, his son, Ali Haider Gilani, was kidnapped by several armed men in Multan in central Pakistan during an election rally. A group called the Al Mansuri Brigade kidnapped him. He spent three years in captivity, before being rescued in a joint operation between American-led NATO special forces and Afghan forces in May 2016.
Prime Minister of Pakistan
On 22 March 2008, after weeks of consideration, the elite members of the Central Executive Committee accepted the nomination of Gillani over populist Ameen Faheem for the post of prime minister. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Peoples Party completed consultations and negotiations with the other parties to form a coalition alliance and the alliance endorsed the nomination. The formal announcement of the name of prime minister was expected to be made that night.
On 22 March at 9:38 pm Islamabad, (16:38 GMT), Gillani was officially announced by the peoples party as its candidate for the premiership of the country. Many analysts said that they would not be surprised if Zardari succeeded Gillani after a few months. It was reported on 24 March 2008, that Zardari said he was not interested in the job of prime minister and that Gillani would serve until 2013 in the position. Speculation that Zardari might be gunning for the premiership grew stronger when he picked the less popular Gillani over Ameen Faheem, a much powerful member of the central executive committee. Fahmida Mirza, the newly elected Speaker of the Assembly, insisted there was no plan to replace Gillani. She added, however, that if Gillani did not do a good job, all options were open.
On 24 March 2008, Gillani was elected Prime Minister by Parliament, defeating his rival, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi of the PML-Q, by a score of 264 to 42. He was sworn in by Musharraf on the next day. On 29 March, he won a unanimous vote of confidence in Parliament.
On the same day, following the vote of confidence, Gillani announced his programme for the first 100 days of his administration. Some of the points he announced were:
- Frontier Crimes Regulations and Industrial Relations Order repealed.
- A “truth and reconciliation commission” proposed.
- PM House budget cut by 40 percent.
- Special counters at airports for parliamentarians to be removed.
- No money to be spent on the renovation of government buildings and residences.
- A freedom of information law to be framed, while PEMRA will be made a subsidiary of the information ministry.
- Talks to be initiated with extremists who lay down arms and ‘adopt the path of peace’.
- A new package for tribal areas promised.
- Employment commission to be set up.
- Madressah authority to implement a uniform education curriculum.
- One million housing units to be built annually for low-income groups.
- Irrigation channels to be bricklined.
- Appointed Prof. Ghulam Hussain Saleem and Wazir Ibadat adviser to the prime minister for Gilgit Baltistan Affairs.
- A lifting of the bans on elected labour and students’ unions.