Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
|Shahid Khaqan Abbasi
شاہد خا قا ن عبا سی
|Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources|
7 June 2013
|Prime Minister||Nawaz Sharif|
|Preceded by||Asim Hussain|
|Chairman of the Pakistan International Airlines|
27 December 1997 – 12 October 1999
|Preceded by||AVM Farooq Umar|
|Succeeded by||Saeed Ahmad|
December 27, 1958 |
Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan
|Political party||Pakistan Muslim League (N)
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles
George Washington University
|Profession||Electrical engineer, Entrepreneur|
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (Urdu:شاہد خا قا ن عبا سی; b. 27 December 1958) PE FE is a Pakistani politician, electrical engineer, conservative figure, businessman, entrepreneur, and the current Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources appointed since 7 June 2013.
Prior to that, he short-tenured as Minister for Commerce in 2008 in the Gillani ministry. Abbasi is an airline executive, having found and served as the CEO of the Airblue; in addition to that, he also served as Chairman and CEO of Pakistan International Airlines from 1997 to 1999.
Family background and education
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was born in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, on 27 December 1958 to a military family from Punjab. His father, Air Commodore Khaqan Abbasi, was a senior one-star rank officer in the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and a veteran of the Indo-Pakistan wars. Upon receiving an honorable retirement from PAF, Air Commodore Khaqan Abbasi successfully established an independent business venture and began taking part in the national politics on the Pakistan Muslim League platform. His father participated well in the general elections held in 1985 and became Minister of Defence Production in government of President Zia-ul-Haq. Khaqan Abbasi died while visiting the Ojhri Camp in 1988– a military accident that resulted in more than 100 deaths.
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi attended various schools in the country due to his father's posting, and studied at the Lawrence College in Murree. In 1978, Abbasi went to the United States to attend the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to study Electrical Engineering. He attained BSc in Electrical engineering from UCLA where his main focused was on the electrical applications of the avionics. In 1985, he went to attend the George Washington University (GWU) where he gained MEng in Electrical engineering, and qualified for the PE certificate.
Graduating from the GWU, Abbasi worked for the various projects in the United States before moving to Saudi Arabia to perform engineering works for the energy projects in Saudi oil industry. Upon returning to Pakistan, Abbasi joined the senior engineering staff of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) where he built several electric power transmission system in Murree, Kahuta, and Kotli districts. During this time, he began maintaining political relationship with the Pakistan Muslim League (N)'s regional leadership.
Chairman PIA and imprisonment
In late 1980s, Abbasi joined the PIA's Engineering department and later worked for the Precision Engineering Complex as senior electrical engineer. At PIA, he worked on his reputation as an administrator and engineer, and generally promoted at the corporate level of the PIA. After gaining PML(N)'s ticket, he participated well in elections held in fiscal period of 1988, 1990, 1993, and 1997. In each time, he maintained his ties with the PIA and gained influence in the corporate offices of the airline. From 1990 to 1993, he performed his duties as the chairman of National Assembly Standing Committee on Defence.
In 1997, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the nomination paper of Abbasi to be appointed as the Chairman of the PIA. In 1999, he played a crucial role in leasing of the 5 Boeing 747-300 aircraft from American Cathay Pacific to replace its 747-200 fleet.
In 1999, his tenure was terminated by General Pervez Musharraf after staging a self-coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Charges were leveled up against Abbasi for denying the landing of the PIA plane at the Jinnah International Airport, Karachi on his way back from Sri Lanka on October 12, 1999. General Musharraf pressured Abbasi to provide a testimonial statement against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for hijacking case, but Abbasi refused to release the statement. Abbasi stood a military JAG court which announced a solitary confinement for two years before being acquitted of all charges in March 2001.
AirBlue and Politics
He founded and established AirBlue which he served its first CEO. He introduced the first E ticket policy in the country. In short period of time, AirBlue began a main competitor of the PIA in its race for international contracts.
In 2006, he began his political activities on the PML-N platform, of which he became its senior leader. He performed well on general elections held in 2008 and eventually became Commerce Minister in cabinet of Prime minister Yousaf Gillani; though his tenure was short.
Minister of Petroleum
In 2013, Abbasi successfully competed for the NA-50 for Rawalpindi district on the PML-N platform against PPP and PTI. Abbasi secured ~134,439 votes with a percentile of 57.10%. In 2013, he was appointed as Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and took oath on 8 June 2013.
Controversies + Corruption
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has spent many laborious years on various job positions, cementing his reputation as a corrupt man. His journey for corruption initiated when he was appointed the Chariman for PIA by our very own Nawaz Sharif. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi wasted no time in putting his devious mind to work and ordering 12 new Boeing Airplanes for PIA. On the surface, such a step seems innocent and beneficial for the national airlines. But upon more investigation, it was found that Mr. Shahid Abbasi dropped some extremely vital, spare parts of the Boeings and replaced with them poor quality Boeing components, sneakily pocketing the money he saved by purchasing cheaper, low-quality components. In another scandal, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was also accused for importing 200 computers allegedly for the airlines operations but were misaapropriated, costing the national exchequer an astounding Rs. 11 million loss. However, the court acquitted Mr. Abbasi on the basis of lack of incriminating evidence, even though the prosecution produced seven witnesses before the trail court. However, one cannot say for sure that some political influence was not used in this acquittal. Furthermore, he also aided our Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in one of the biggest examples of blatant disregard of public feelings. In the 1997’s Nawaz Sharif government, Nawaz Sharif expended all his efforts in convincing expatriate Pakistanis to send their dollars to Pakistan. In stark contrast, the Prime Minister himself- costing the national exchequer a whooping Rs. 110 crore- went on 28 foreign trips for “governance” purposes. Nawaz Sharif had also promised to return the special Boeing plane to PIA for the airline’s commercial operations. But like most of his other promise, these were just empty words. In a glaring display of breaking his promise to PIA, Nawaz Sharif- with the help of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi- made a 1.8 million USD renovation of his aircraft, transforming it into a palace of luxuries. Hypocritically, Nawaz Sharif would always preach lessons of simple living and austerity to the general public, but would not accept anything less that specially-cooked , seven-course meals that were prepared by a cook hired by Shahid Khaqan Abbasi specifically to meet the dietary demand of the Prime Minister, including the well-known favorite of Nawaz Sharif, “Gajrela”. Another example of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s loot and plunder is his activities as the owner of a private air line called Air Blue. Recently, Air Blue has resolved to start operations from Birmingham (Britain) to Pakistan from 28th September 2014. In a manipulating move, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi is withdrawing all PIA management staff from PIAs office in Britain in order to create a prolonged management vacuum designed to put his airline in a more favorable light and take over the market share of PIA. Similar policies have been carried out by the current Petroleum Minister numerous times, proving to be disastrous for Pakistan’s national asset, PIA, but Shahid Abbasi seems to be least concerned about the consequences of his greed-ridden decisions. An instance in 2013 in which the Joint Action Committee of PIA Employees (JACPIAE) accused Shahid Khaqan of continuing to interfere in PIA’s internal affairs while he was running his own private airline, resulting in a conflict of interests. Shahid Abbasi influenced various operational decisions of PIA that has resulted in the downfall of the national airlines. Lastly, in the tragic 2010 Air Blue plane crash on the Margallah Hilss, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also displayed his true colors and concern for the people of Pakistan, the people he has an obligation to serve. When the horrific air crash happened, this blue-eyed boy of Nawaz Sharif completed disappeared from the scene, only gracing the public with his presence and empty condolences after three days. Such is the extent of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s indifference. Such examples of Shahid Khaqan’s callous nature only makes me apprehensive as to what good this man can do for this country as the Petroleum Minister. He has already made the people of Punjab and KPK suffer for more than a week due to critical petrol shortage brought about by Mr. Khaqan’s poor governance and negligence of petroleum management in the favor of the poorly designed LNG deal with Qatar. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi seems to be in a hurry to sign this deal despite the fact that the new gas reserves that have been discovered in Sindh.
===Demand for Resignation===
=== Should Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (petroleum minister) Must Quit=== One of the most credible journalist of Pakistan wrote a open letter to Prime Minister of Pakistan on 19th Jan 2015 demanding resignation of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The contents of his letter are Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif doesn’t need any opposition to make his government weak and unpopular, as some of his handpicked ministers have done the job “well”, which even his rival like Imran Khan could not do in four months. The Punjab wheel has almost jammed, thanks to the mysterious “oil crisis”. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Minister for Petroleum, has reasons in his defense, but there are good enough reasons to believe why he should have stepped down by now or if not should have been sacked. Let Sharif brothers go in private cars and search for petrol, ask people what they think about them and how they could address this issue. This crisis is certainly not because of Imran Khan. (1) Are the deserted roads of the Punjab, including the hearts of Sharifs — Lahore and Rawalpindi — not enough reason to sack the minister and order a high-powered enquiry into the real cause behind the crisis.
(2) Why his ministry could not foresee the expected crisis and that too of such a serious nature, which may now take at least 10 to 15 days to be over. (3) If the report that secretary petroleum and other senior officials had informed the minister about the possible crisis, why the prime minister was kept in dark. If the officials were not even aware of it, they should not only be suspended, but also sacked after an independent probe. (4) The minister should resign because all this has happened under his “nose” and he was not aware of it. If he was aware and did not do anything, not even alerted the people, he should be sent home. (5) He should quit or be sacked because this crisis may not end here, but it will soon result into a major energy crisis.
(6) On the political front, this crisis has once again put the government back to square one, after it has somewhat recovered from the “dharna crisis.” (7) The Ministry of Petroleum has given real boost to the opposition’s upcoming movement, after gas load shedding and electricity crisis had already put Sharif on the defensive. (8) If for not any other reason, the minister for petroleum could have saved his PM from real embarrassment if he had accepted the moral responsibility and tendered his resignation, which should have been accepted. The move could have defused the situation. (9) The prime minister has already been alerted that due to the current crisis he must do everything to keep bigger plants alive as warned by a senior official, that if they go down, the entire system could collapse, as Guddu power plant as already been closed.
(10) Why till last week, the country was not even aware of the upcoming crisis and government was looking very confident.
Now, the prime minister has called a high-powered meeting on the “oil crisis” today and has also cancelled all his other engagements, which also means his visit to Karachi. Sharif, who is in Saudi Arab for few days, will be taking some major decisions in this regard. The question is what measures will be taken and how soon the crisis will be over? It is also time for the prime minister to review the performance of his other ministers. It’s high time that some heads must roll, which are bringing shame and embarrassment to the PML-N government. This is the third PML government, but the first in whose tenure a sense of deprivation is building up in the Punjab for the first time. The province is worst affected because of CNG crisis, oil crisis, gas crisis and political crisis. However, one of the reasons why Sharif is reluctant to take action against his minister’s poor performance was the pressure, particularly of his brother Shahbaz Sharif. Mian Shahbaz Sharif could have set a good example had he resigned after the Model Town, tragedy in which many people were killed and injured. The incident followed by Multan and Faisalabad killing of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers further deepened the crisis for the younger Sharif. But, the present oil crisis has become the mother of all crises under Sharif’s third government. The impact of this crisis will also come in the near future when the summer will start and experts have already predicted massive load shedding. Therefore, what the prime minister, needs to realise is that his own cabinet is not doing enough to address these issues and is providing a strong base for the opposition to capitalize on the government weaknesses. Imran Khan, who has already unnerved Sharifs, can take advantage of the situation and it can become a fit launching pad for another movement by the PTI. The opposition within Parliament is also gearing up and may not provide much relief to the PML-N if the oil crisis is not over soon. All these crises can also affect the National Action Plan against terrorism, which the army would not like to see and that too so soon. Thus, the government needs to take some bold steps even if it means sacking/replacing of few ministers and top bureaucrats. Secondly, Sharif must resolve the PTI crisis and give go ahead for formation of a judicial commission and make all efforts to bring the PTI back to Parliament. Thirdly, the government must engage its coalition partner JUI-F and address its grievances. Fourthly, it’s time that the PM and PML-N involved the MQM in addressing issues of urban Sindh as they already have a better understanding with the PPP. Wheel-Jam in the Punjab and that too because of a minister demands an apology from the government to the people of Punjab. This is the least they can do.Crisis after crisis, some created by the opposition and others by the government ministers have maddened the government, making it quite unpopular in its strong constituency, the Punjab.
Dear Mr Minister,
On January 21, 2015, five days into the predicament caused by the petrol shortage, you finally tendered an apology, obligated under directives from the prime minister. Shifting blames is a national sport, where the proverbial buck is passed around, ownerless, until the next big catastrophe fades it into a background of inexplicable discrepancies and rampant but forgotten incompetence. This time, however, you have crossed the line. Siphoning the blame on to other state organs will not save you now. Your goodwill capital tank is empty. Your apology is running on empty fumes. And other puns.
Allow me to give you a few examples of what officials do in the so-called civilised world. Portugal’s Miguel Macedo, the interior minister, resigned over a corruption probe in November 2014. America’s Julia Pierson, the first female director of the Secret Service, resigned in the face of criticism in October 2014. Spain’s justice minister resigned over a failed attempt to restrict women’s rights, bowing to pressure from public protests in September 2014. South Korea’s prime minister tendered his resignation after a passenger ferry accident that claimed 300 lives in April 2014. These are just few of the many recent examples.
Do you feel that a mandated, vacant apology is enough to make up for tormenting millions of Pakistanis? In the Lahore High Court on January 22, the counsel for the government reiterated that there had been no petrol crisis. Other members of your administration have also denied the very existence of any crisis, and even gone so far as to label this a conspiracy against the government. This is not unabashed denial. It is disrespect.
On January 20, your comrade, Minister of Commerce, Khurram Dastgir Khan smiled on television, denied the existence of any crisis, and identified panic buying as the real culprit for continued shortage. According to him, the national demand is 12,000 tonnes of fuel daily, and for the last two days, the supply had been increased to 15,600 tonnes. Had this been the case, the streets would be drenched in oil, there would be no serpentine lines at petrol stations, and millions would not feel beleaguered. This is not unabashed denial. It is disrespect.
Minister of Finance, Ishaq Dar, on January 19, casually shifted the blame to Pakistan State Oil, claiming his ministry had no part in the crisis. Mr Dar, who chairs several committees, and took the credit for a ‘historic step’ when (attempting to) eliminate the circular debt in 2013, now has absolutely nothing to do with the situation. The minister, along with you, and everyone else involved, is simply absolved of all blame. Surely, the blame must lie with the public and the private sector. Or Imran Khan. Or perhaps, India? Anywhere but here. This is not unabashed denial. It is disrespect.
The government seems perpetually stuck in the Raiwind paradox. Smooth sailing causes ministers, officials and bureaucrats to clamber over one another to seize the glory. But if anything goes awry, the Raiwind paradox demands that all fingers be pointed in any and all directions, except inwards. We have ministries for planning and development, a ministry for finance, another for commerce, yet another for petroleum, and one for water and power, and a wide range of bodies to help structure and regulate the acute energy sector shortages that plague the country. Yet, with the sheer volume of resources at your disposal, you were unable to predict a pending crisis, mismanaged it, gave false statements to cover your ineptitude and incompetence, and brazenly continue to manage the portfolio.
The committee constituted to probe the issue comprised two individuals: Zahid Muzaffar, the chairman of the OGDCL board of directors, adviser to the prime minister on petroleum, and a close friend of Mr Dar; and Zafar Masud, a member of the OGDCL board of directors. Within 24 hours, the government was absolved, and Ogra was squarely positioned in the crosshairs. Was this probe supposed to be funny? No one is laughing. The sheer depth of state negligence and ineptness, leading to mass public distress is inexcusable. You have disrespected the people of this nation, and categorically disgraced yourself. You should resign, effective immediately, for so singularly and indisputably failing at your job. That is what a responsible government official would do. Not that I am accusing you of being responsible.
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