Abida Hussain

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Abida Hussain
Syed Abida Hussain Press Photo (cropped).JPG
Abida Hussain in 2016
Minister of Food and Agriculture
In office
21 February 1997 – 12 October 1999
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Yousuf Talpur
Succeeded by Sikandar Hayat Bosan
Constituency NA-87
Minister of Population Control and Census
In office
21 July 1997 – 12 October 1999
Deputy Ahsan Iqbal
(Dy Chair. of the PLANCOM)
Preceded by Julius Salik
Succeeded by Omar Asghar Khan
Pakistan Ambassador to the United States
In office
26 November 1991 – 24 April 1993
Appointed by Nawaz Sharif
President Ghulam Ishaq Khan
Preceded by Najmuddin Shaikh
Succeeded by Dr. Maliha Lodhi
Personal details
Born Syed Abida Hussain
1948 (age 69–70)[1][note 1]
Jhang, Punjab, Pakistan
Citizenship  Pakistan
Political party Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Other political
affiliations
Pakistan Peoples Party
(2006–2013)
Spouse(s) Fakhar Imam
Children Sughra Imam
(Daughter)
Alma mater Bahauddin Zakariya University
(B.A. in Poly Sci.)
Profession Landlord, diplomat

Syeda Abida Hussain–Imam (Urdu: سيدہ عابدہ حسین‎  b. 1948[1]) is a Pakistani conservative politician, diplomat, and socialite on the platform of the Pakistan Muslim League (N).[2]

Born into a wealthy family that owns ranches and farm houses, she served the Pakistan Ambassador to the United States from 1991–93, and the Minister of Food and Agriculture Population Control in the second administration of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from 1997 until being removed in 1999.[3][4]

She is known for her political views that reflects to support towards the fiscal conservatism on economical issues and holds conservative views towards the environment and protected wildlife of Pakistan.:17[5]

Biography[edit]

Early life and family background[edit]

Abida Hussain was born in Jhang, Punjab in Pakistan, into an extremely wealthy family that owns farmhouses, cattle ranges, and ranches in 1948.[1] Her father, Syed Abid Hussain Shah, a landlord who was also an honorary Colonel in the Indian Army and a politician who was elected on a platform of the Muslim League for the seat in the Constituent Assembly of India in 1945–47.[6] Her father, Abid Hussain, first served as cabinet minister in the Ministry of Talents of Prime Minister Mohammad Ali Bogra in 1954–55, and later as cabinet minister in the administration of Prime Minister Feroze Khan in 1958.[6]

She was educated in the British education which was common in the country at that time, before the country switched towards the American-styled education in the 1960s.[6] She went to attend the elite Convent of Jesus and Mary in Lahore where she qualified for her Cambridge exams and later moved to complete her O and A-Level qualifications from Surval Montreux in Switzerland.[6] She spent additional semesters in studying history in Florence in Italy but did not obtained her degree and returned to Pakistan after being arranged to marry Fakhar Imam, her cousin, who was a bureaucrat at that time.[6][7][8]

After the military takeover in 1999 and the presidential ordnance enforced in 2002, Abida was disqualified from taking participating in national politics due to lack of submitting the proof of baccalaureate degree to the Election Commission, which is a requirement.[7] In 2002, she went to attend the undergraduate program in Economics at the Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) but switched her major, and graduated with B.A. in Political Science in 2008.[9][7]

Personal life[edit]

Abida Hussain is married to Fakhar Imam who is also a politician on PML(N)'s platform.[6] Her children studied in the expensive colleges in the United States, as her daughters, Sughra and Umme Imam attended and graduated from the Harvard University in Massachusetts in the United States.[10]

Her son, Abid Hussain II, graduated in law from the Yale University and is a Juris Doctor from the Columbia University; he is also currently teaching law at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).[6] Only her eldest daughter, Sughra, pursued her footsteps and is also a politician on the PML(N)'s platform and currently tenuring in the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab.[11]

Public service in Pakistan[edit]

Mayor of Jhang[edit]

After her father's death in 1971, Abida Hussain entered in the national politics on the platform of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and contested successfully on a Jhang constituency during the general elections held in 1970.[12][13] After elected to the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, she was appointed as chairperson of the People’s Workers Programme, and sat as a backbencher in the Provincial Assembly.[14][13] In 1974–75, she was opposed to the nationalization of industries and land reforms initiated by the Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, causing the strains with her in the party.[12]

In 1977, her rival, Haider Bharwana, earned the electoral ticket from her constituency from the PPP, which led her to ouster from the PPP and omit her participation in the general elections held in 1977.[13] In 1979, she was successfully elected as a Mayor of Jhang, becoming the first woman to head a city government, and was again successful for the election of mayorship in 1983.[15]

When the general elections held in 1985 were announced, she went to join the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and participated for the Constituency NA-87 against clergist, Rehmatullah Bharwana; she was noted as the first woman first women to be elected to the National Assembly on a general seat.[16] In 1988, she sided with the conservative faction led by Fida Mohammad Khan, and joined the PML(N) led by its President Fida Mohammad.[17]

During the general elections held in 1990, she fought the election against the influential cleric, Haq-Nawaz Jhangvi, who later found the violent LeJ after losing the elections for Constituency NA-87 to Abida Hussain.[18] After her name was placed on the hit list by the LeJ, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif became concerned of her safety, and immediately appointed her as the Pakistan Ambassador to the United States effective immediately in 1990.[1][18]

Pakistan Ambassador to the United States[edit]

On 26 November 1991, Abida Hussain took the charge of the plenipotentiary of the Pakistan Embassy in the Washington, D.C. in the United States— she was the first woman diplomat to be appointed as the Pakistan Ambassador to the United States.[1][18] Her appointment came at the troublant time for the foreign relations with the United States, due to Americans placing the military embargo on the Pakistan's military.[7] She acted as Pakistan's principle negotiator with the United States Department of State, and described the meetings with the American officials stressful due to Americans keep demanding the rollback of the clandestine atomic bomb program.[19]

At the time of her launch of her autobiography, she later identified the issue of nuclear weapons was the principal source of distress between bilateral ties of Pakistan and the United States.[19] Hussain has written in her memoir that the "conversations and negotiations with the American functionaries and the American politicians were quite rough. Because they would make only one demand— "Roll back your [atomic] program". And, since I was quite clear that we cannot do that, our conversations were not friendly."[20][21] In talks with the Prime Minister Sharif in Islamabad, Abida Hussain recommended cancelling of the acquisitions of the F-16s fighter jets and have funds refunded from the United States government, which Sharif was also of the same view point.[20]

Abida later leveled accusations on the American contractor, General Dynamics, of bribing her after making the suggestions as the contractor wanted Pakistan to continue funding the F-16 program for the Pakistan Air Force till the contract ends.[20] She also maintained that the Chair of the Board of Directors of the General Dynamics, offered her to pay off her children's expensive education in Harvard and Yale, and also offered an estate in Washington, D.C.– she rejected the offers and confided her conversation to Prime Minister Sharif in 1993.[20][22]

In an interview with The Telegraph in 2016 in India, Abida Hussain claimed that, U.S. Vice President Al Gore mistook her twice as her deputy chief was the ambassador.[1] After the general elections held in 1993, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto recalled her from her diplomatic assignment, and posted Dr. Maliha Lodhi, a career officer, as the Pakistan Ambassador to the United States.[23]

Minister of Food and Census in Sharif administration[edit]

After returning to Pakistan, Abida Hussain worked towards the agriculture, and sat in the opposition bench in the Parliament, and credited Sharif of agriculture revolution by introducing effective tube wells during the election campaign of Nawaz Sharif in 1997.[3]

In 1994, she was implicated of receiving financial funding from the intelligence community, and testified in the case hearings in 2016 at the Supreme Court of Pakistan that "we (conservatives) were led to believe that it was an election fund for members of the government."[24]

After successfully defending her constituency during the general elections held in 1997, Abida Hussain joined the second administration of Prime Minister Sharif as the Minister of Food and Agriculture and later becoming the Ministry of Population Control and Census.[25][26] She was later rumored to be appointed in the United Nations as Permanent Representative of Pakistan but this appointment was never considered.[27]

In 1998, she notably oversaw the successful and peaceful nationwide census in all over the country.:225[28]:2[29] When India conducted the nuclear tests in May 1998, Abida Hussain became one of the war hawk in the party, ultimately calling to break policy of deliberate ambiguity, and conduct the atomic tests in response to India.[17] Over the Kargil front in 1999, she sided with Prime Minister Sharif, and ultimately suggesting to call for the meeting with the Chairman joint chiefs Gen. Pervez Musharraf over this issue.[30]

After the military takeover of the federal government in 1999, Abida was imprisoned in Adiala Prison alongside with the leadership of the PML(N), and an inquiry was opened on her financial wealth that ultimately called her "a major defaulter.":contents[31]

Though, she was later released in 2002 with no inquiry actions taken against her.:contents[31] Abida Hussain later testified that the inquiries were drop due to her agreeing on a deal with the Musharraf administration to defect to the splinter faction under Shujaat Hussain, that would allow her to take participation in the general elections that were held in 2002.[32] Despite agreeing on a deal with Musharraf's administration, she was disqualified to take further participation in general elections held in 2002, mainly due to failure to submit the proof of baccalaureate degree at that time.[32]

Political positions and views[edit]

Abida Hussain's political views reflects the fiscal conservatism on economic issues, and environmental conservatism on wildlife issues in her country, as she opposed to the issue of nationalization of corporate industry by the government as it did not suit well with the conservative industrialists.:17[5] She also sided with Prime Minister Sharif's over many national security issues, and called for the civilian control of the military after 1999.:359[30]

In 2002, Abida Hussain was disqualified from participating in the national politics by the Election Commission due to her lack of proof to submit the baccalaureate degree after the controversial new executive order signed by President Musharraf.[33] The new order eventually forced her to attend the university for the college degree to ensure the survival of her political career.[33] In 2006, she conditionally agreed to join the Pakistan Peoples Party after disagreement arises with the PML(N) over the policy issues.[34][35] In 2007, she harbour doubts on Musharraf' promises on giving security to Benazir Bhutto and reportedly Benazir Bhutto to avoid attending the political rally in National Park in Rawalpindi, which Benazir Bhutto attended and was assassinated.[24][36] In 2008, Abida and her husband, Fakhar, reportedly lost the general election, and reportedly seek their retirement after Abida and Fakhar left the PPP in 2012.[32][37]

During the general election, in 2013, Abida Hussain supported the PML-N candidate in Jhang by-elections, and ran her daughter's successful campaign to be elected for the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab on the platform of the PML(N).[38] She reportedly quit the politics and currently overseeing the horse racing and breeding in her constituency.[1] In 2016, she spoke very high of Nawaz Sharif, whom she considered to be self-made man and leader in politics, and paid tribute to Sharif for the services his done for his country's environment and agriculture.[3][1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ According to the launching ceremony of Abida Hussain's book in Delhi in 2016, the Telegraph India noted and quoted her age 68 in 2016. While, earlier, the political taboloid, The Nation reported her age 66 in 2014.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Swamy, Kumara (13 March 2016). "'I don't think Mr Modi is politically interested in starting a serious conversation with Pakistan'". The Telegraph. New Delhi: The Telegraph , 2016. The Telegraph. Retrieved 29 May 2018. According to The Telegraph in India, Abida Hussain age was 68 in 2016. 
  2. ^ Hassan, Mubashir (21 February 2014). "Abida to keep 'small political role' sans active politics". The Nation. The Nation. The Nation. Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c Reporter, A (13 January 2015). "Pakistan's political history in the words of Abida Hussain". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspapers. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  4. ^ "COVER: A gilded life: Power Failure by Syeda Abida Hussain". DAWN.COM. 2015-07-13. Retrieved 2016-12-04. 
  5. ^ a b Far Eastern Economic Review. 1985. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Hussain-Imam, S. Abida. "Abida's Story". syedaabidahussain.com. Syed Abida Hussain bio (web). Retrieved 28 May 2018. 
  7. ^ a b c d Siddiqi, Muhammad Ali (13 July 2015). "COVER: A gilded life: Power Failure by Syeda Abida Hussain". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspapers. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 28 May 2018. 
  8. ^ "Syed Fakhar Imam". Pakistan Herald. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  9. ^ "Bittersweet memories of Abida Hussain". www.pakistantoday.com.pk. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  10. ^ "Syeda Abida Hussain – A Distinguished Parliamentarian". syedaabidahussain.com. Retrieved 28 May 2018. 
  11. ^ "Punjab Assembly". www.pap.gov.pk. Retrieved 27 May 2018. 
  12. ^ a b Moini, Qasim A. (9 February 2015). "We have failed to handle power, says Abida Hussain". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspapers, 2016. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  13. ^ a b c staff reporters, et.al. (27 September 2007). "Old rivals, new faces in Jhang political circus". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspapers. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  14. ^ "Punjab Assembly". www.pap.gov.pk. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  15. ^ "Abida narrates political autobiography". The Nation. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  16. ^ Recorder, Business. "Confessions of a feudal lord's daughter | Business Recorder". Business Recorder. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  17. ^ a b Hussain, Syeda Abida (2015). Power Failure: The Political Odyssey of a Pakistani Woman (1st ed.). Karahi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press. p. 707. ISBN 9780199401574. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  18. ^ a b c Reporter, A (13 January 2015). "Pakistan's political history in the words of Abida Hussain". DAWN.COM. Dawn Newspapers, 2015. Dawn Newspapers. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  19. ^ a b "Pakistan". 
  20. ^ a b c d "Political musings: Abida recalls her experience as ambassador to US - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 2016-05-16. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  21. ^ Farooq, Nasra Talat (2016-07-01). US-Pakistan Relations: Pakistan’s Strategic Choices in the 1990s. Routledge. ISBN 9781317358497. 
  22. ^ Political musings: Abida recalls her experience as ambassador to US - The Express Tribune". Abida quoted her conservation with the Chair of the General Dynamics, quote: You have two daughters studying in Harvard which is a very expensive school. Could we help you out with their education?
  23. ^ DAHLBURG, JOHN-THOR (1994-04-05). "Profile : New Envoy Aims to End Pakistan's 'Rogue' Image : Maleeha Lodhi's credentials include an eye for power, a blue-blood pedigree, a career in journalism and a thousand-watt smile". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  24. ^ a b "'I don't think Mr Modi is politically interested in starting a serious conversation with Pakistan'". 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  25. ^ "Pakistan's political history in the words of Abida Hussain". DAWN.COM. 2015-01-13. Retrieved 2016-12-04. 
  26. ^ Pakistan’s political history in the words of Abida Hussain
  27. ^ "Abida Hussain to be appointed new UN envoy". Daily Times. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  28. ^ Qadeer, Mohammad (2006). Pakistan - Social and Cultural Transformations in a Muslim Nation. Routledge. ISBN 9781134186174. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  29. ^ Population Headliners. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. 1999. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  30. ^ a b Akbar, M. K. (1999). Kargil: Cross Border Terrorism. Mittal Publications. ISBN 9788170997344. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  31. ^ a b Sehri, Inam (2012). Judges and Generals of Pakistan Volume - I. Grosvenor House Publishing. ISBN 9781781480434. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  32. ^ a b c Shahzad, Mohammad (1 May 2017). "Interview with Syed Abida Hussain-Imam". globalagemagazine.kipscss.net. Golden Age, 2017. Golden Age. Retrieved 30 May 2018. 
  33. ^ a b McCarthy, Rory (12 July 2002). "The general's elections in Pakistan". the Guardian. The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 29 May 2018. One senior Pakistan Muslim League leader, Abida Hussain, has reportedly just sat BA exams at a university in Multan to ensure she qualifies to stand in October's election. 
  34. ^ "Abida and Fakhar all set to join PPP conditionally". Daily Times. 2006-11-27. Retrieved 2010-01-10. 
  35. ^ "Row deepens after Abida, Fakhr join PPP". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  36. ^ "We have failed to the handle power, says Abida Hussain". DAWN.COM. 2015-02-09. Retrieved 2016-12-17. 
  37. ^ "Three heavyweights may join PML-N - The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2018. 
  38. ^ "Abida to keep 'small political role' sans active politics". The Nation. 

External links[edit]

  • Hussain, Syeda Abida (2015). Power Failure: The Political Odyssey of a Pakistani Woman (1st ed.). Karahi, Pakistan: Oxford University Press. p. 707. ISBN 9780199401574. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Najmuddin Shaikh
Pakistan Ambassador to the United States
November 1991 - March 1993
Succeeded by
Maliha Lodhi