Ghulam Ahmad Bilour
|Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour|
25 December 1939 |
|Years active||since 1970|
|Awami National Party|
|Relatives||Bashir Ahmad Bilour|
Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour (born 25 December 1939) is a former senior vice President in the Awami National Party (ANP) and former Federal Railways minister in Pakistan. A present and former three time Federal Minister in Pakistan, he has played a significant role in the ANP and its predecessor, the National Awami Party.
Early life and education
Known as Haji Sahib in Peshawar, Ghulam Ahmad Bilour hails from Peshawar city. His forefathers migrated to Peshawar from the Bajaur Agency long ago. His father, Bilour Deen, was a respected and successful businessman of the city. Born in Mohallah Hooda inside the Gunj Gate in the walled city of Peshawar on 25 December 1939, Bilour got his early education from the Khudad Model School and Islamia School Peshawar. He did his intermediate from Edwardes College and got married soon afterwards. He Graduated from Jamshoro University.
Early political career
As a youth, Bilour participated in the election campaign of Fatima Jinnah. He, however, joined active politics from the platform of the National Awami Party (NAP) in the 1970s and ever since has remained with the nationalist party.
A Hindko speaker, he was a close associate of non-violent Pakhtun leader Bacha Khan he has been elected from Peshawar as Member of the National Assembly four times.He was also member of senate from 1994 til 1997 on the ticket of ANP. He is also a prominent businessman in Peshawar. The eldest of four brothers, his family is one of many political dynasties in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
Ghulam Bilour is believed to be an aspirant for the party leadership after the present President Asfandyar Wali Khan completes his term in office.
In 1973, just after three years of joining NAP Bilour was arrested and spent almost three months behind bars. In 1974 he was arrested again. This time he spent almost 4 months in jail.
In 1975 the PPP Govt arrested all the four brothers including Ghulam Ahmad Bilour. In 1976 Bilour was arrested in Hyderabad conspiracy case and sent to the Hyderabad Sindh jail and spent two years in Jail along with Khan Abdul Wali Khan, Khan Amirzadah Khan, Ghous Bux Bazenjo, Attaulah Mengal, Afzal Khan Lala, Arbab Sikandar Khan Khalil and other senior leaders of National Awami Party.
Stand on Kalabagh Dam
Bilour is involved in the Kalabagh Dam Project. In 1991 when he was appointed Federal Minister for Railways, prime minister Nawaz Sharif called a meeting on Kalabagh and Bilour said during this meeting:
“Peshawar valley is surrounded by Hills from three sides. There is only one way out for water, if you build a dam over that region then the water level will raise 24 feet above than the plan area of NWFP. As a result this province will become a lake where people will come to catch fish”.
Time as Railways Minister
During his time as Railway minister, The Pakistan Railways seems to be speeding on a downward track. He always gave open statements regarding the failure of railway in Pakistan but nobody paid any attention.
On 18 January 2012, while giving an interview to GEO NEWS, he said, that the Railways did not have any money for fuel and had only two days' worth of diesel left adding that lack of funds and engines were the reasons behind the downward spiral of Pakistan Railways. He added that government had approved Rs 1.15 billion but the railways had not received any money till date. He said the biggest problem facing the railways was the lack of engines, and without those no revenue could be generated. He said that if the railways were to receive 400 engines than the deficit would end.
Further on an interview to a private New Channel, he said, he could not pull the trains himself, locomotives were needed for it. Talking on the floor of Senate, he demanded of the government to provide his department with 400 new locomotives. “Drag me in the streets with a noose around my neck, if I fail even after the provision of new locomotives”, Bilour said. He told the House that a total of 100 locomotives would be rehabilitated by the year-end and hopefully the freight service would become fully operational by then. Answering to a question, he said 12-13 locomotives were always under repair every month causing trains to delay. Pakistan Railways had a fleet of 280 locomotives at its disposal in 2008, but now out of a total of 147 locomotives only 112 locomotives were in working condition, he added.
During his time as Railway minister, Railways of Pakistan saw one of its darkest period where he and his family invested heavily in Road transport like Trucks and buses. Directly affecting Railways and destroying them systematically.
Calling for Assassination
On 22 September 2012, it was reported that Bilour had offered a $100,000 USD reward for the assassination of the maker of an anti-Islam film, the Innocence of Muslims. He was quoted saying he would pay the reward for the "sacred duty" out of his own pocket, and that members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda would be eligible for the reward. He was quoted in The Times as saying, "I also announce that if the Government hands this person over to me, my heart says I will finish him with my own hands and then they can hang me".
His party, the Awami National Party, told the BBC that "this was a personal statement, not party policy, but added that innnt would not be taking any action against him." The Pakistani Prime Minister said the Pakistani government rejected the Minister's statements. His statements were condemned by the United States government.
Defeat in 2013 Election
He participated in 2013 election, NA-1 Constituency only gaining 19000 votes and thus defeated by Imran Khan of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
- District Profile: Central Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa – Peshawar
- Personifying the art of politics The NEWS on 5 November 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2008
- Ghulam Bilour profile
- "Two Days of Fuel Left"
- "Can’t pull trains all by myself"
- "Anti-Islam film: Pakistan minister offers bounty"
- $100,000 bounty on Prophet film-maker, Francis Elliott and Aoun Sahl, The Times, p. 28, 24 September 2012
- "Anti-Islam film: Pakistan minister's bounty condemned". BBC. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- "Pakistan condemns railways minister's bounty on anti-Islam filmmaker". GlobalPost. 23 September 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- "Anti-Islam film maker killing: US slams Pak minister for $100k bounty". Indian Express. 24 September 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
- Shahzad, Asif (26 September 2012). "Pakistan Taliban: 'Amnesty' for bounty minister". Yahoo! News. AP. Retrieved 26 September 2012.