Aitzaz Ahsan

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Aitzaz Ahsan
Aitzaz ahsan.jpg
Leader of the House of Federation
In office
12 March 2012 – 12 March 2015
In office
Minister for Law and Justice
In office
Preceded by Rana Sanaullah Khan
Succeeded by Ashtar Ausaf Ali
Minister of Interior
In office
4 December 1988 – 6 August 1990
President Farooq Leghari
Preceded by Malik Nasim Ahmad
Succeeded by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan
In office
18 November 2002 – 18 November 2007
Constituency NA-124 Lahore-VII
In office
2 December 1988 – 3 November 1990
Constituency Lahore
Personal details
Born (1945-09-27) 27 September 1945 (age 72)
Murree, Punjab, British India
(now in Punjab, Pakistan)
Political party Pakistan Peoples Party

Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan (Urdu: چودھری اعتزاز احسن‎; born 27 September 1945) is a Pakistani politician and lawyer serving as the Pakistan Senator from Punjab, a seat he was first elected to in 1994.

Born in Murree, Ahsan studied law at the Government College, Lahore and received a LLM from the Downing College, Cambridge. Ahsan became the Planning and Development Minister for Punjab in 1975. After the Operation Fair Play Ahsan became a prominent figure of the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy. Ahsan was elected to the National Assembly from Lahore in 1988 and served as the Interior minister of Pakistan under Benazir Bhutto's first government and served until 1990.

Ahsan was elected as a member of the Senate in 1994. He re-joined the cabinet after Benazir re-election, and went on to serve as the Minister for Law, Justice and Human Rights until 1997. He served as the minority leader in the Senate between 1996 and 1999. Ahsan was elected to National Assembly again in 2002, and went on to serve as the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association between 2007 and 2008. Ahsan was elected to the senate in 2012 and in 2015 became the minority leader.

Early life and education[edit]

Ahsan was born on September 27, 1945 in Murree, Punjab.[1][2] He belongs to a Jat family of the Warraich clan,[3] and grew up in Lahore.[4]

He received his early education from Aitchison College. He then enrolled in Government College, Lahore and later studied law at Downing College, Cambridge.[5][1][2][4] He was at Gray's Inn in 1967.[5] He then appeared in Central Superior Services examination[1] where he reportedly topped.[2] He however did not join the government service.[1]

Political career[edit]

Ahsan returned to Pakistan in 1967. He joined Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)[4] and began his political career in 1970s.[1] He was elected as the member of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab for first time on the ticket of PPP in by-elections held following the Pakistan General elections of 1977 from Gujrat constituency.[1] He was inducted in the provincial cabinet of Punjab and was appointed as the Provincial Minister for information, planning and development.[1][2][5] Ahsan was in his twenties during his tenure as provincial minister.[4] He resigned from the provincial cabinet and left PPP[1] following the incident in which Punjab Police opened fire on a rally of lawyers during the Pakistan National Alliance demonstrations against the alleged rigging of elections by the PPP government in 1977.[5] Ahsan joined Tehrik-e-Istiqlal.[1]

He rejoined the PPP following the Operation Fair Play[5] and actively became involved with the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy and for his participation in the MRD, he was repeatedly imprisoned.[5][1] He was reportedly jailed for two years during Zia -ul-Haq presidency.[4] He was elected as the member of the National Assembly of Pakistan on PPP ticket for the first time in Pakistan General elections of 1988 from Lahore constituency.[1][6] He was inducted into federal cabinet and was appointed as the Minister for Law and Justice,[5] along with the additional portfolio of the Ministry of Interior and Narcotics Control.[7][4] He was re-elected as the member of the National Assembly of Pakistan on PPP ticket for the second time in Pakistan General elections of 1990 from Lahore constituency.[1][6]

He lost the Pakistan General elections of 1993 to Humayun Akhtar Khan of Pakistan Muslim League.[6][1] In 1994 he was elected as the member of the Senate of Pakistan for the first time representing PPP,[1] where he sat as Leader of the Opposition until 1999.[5] In Pakistan General elections of 2002, he ran for the membership of the National Assembly on PPP seat from two constituencies. He was re-elected as the member of the National Assembly for the third time from constituencies of Bahawalpur and Lahore.[1] He retained his Lahore seat.[8] Ahsan did not run in the Pakistan General elections of 2008 due to his involvement in the Lawyers' Movement for the restoration of deposed judges.[6][1]

Ahsan was elected as the member of the Senate for the second time in the Pakistani Senate election, 2012 on technocrat seat representing PPP.[1][9] In 2013, he reportedly resigned from Senate membership.[10] In 2013, Ahsan become opposition leader in the Senate.[11] In 2015, he for the second time became opposition leader in the Senate.[12]

In late August 2018, Ahsan was nominated by the PPP as a candidate for the 2018 presidential election according to media reports.[13] On 4 September 2018, he clinched 124 electoral votes behind Arif Alvi (352) and Fazal-ur-Rehman (184) in the election.[14]

Law career[edit]

Professionally, Ahsan is a barrister at law[5] and a senior advocate in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.[1] He is senior partner of Aitzaz Ahsan & Associates.[5] Ahsan has represented several high-profile Pakistani personalities including three Prime ministers of Pakistan in various cases such as Nawaz Sharif, Benazir Bhutto and Yousaf Raza Gillani[5][15][1] and former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari.[7][4] He had served as President of Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan.[7]

He is known for representing and leading the lawyers campaign to reinstate former Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.[4][5][16][17][1] In 2008, Ahsan Was awarded the Asian Human Rights Defender Award by the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission in reconginition.[18] Ahsan was arrested following Pakistani state of emergency, 2007.[5] He was house arrest in his house in Lahore for four months.[4] He was released in March 2008.[19] Ahsan is also a noted human rights activist in Pakistan.[5]

Other work[edit]

Ahsan is the author of the book The Indus Saga and the Making of Pakistan[4] and its Urdu translation, Sindh Sagar Aur Qyam-e-Pakistan which presents the cultural history of Pakistan.[20] He has also co-authored the book Divided by Democracy with Lord Meghnad Desai of the London School of Economics.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t "Aitzaz Ahsan". DAWN.COM. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Profile". Senate of Pakistan. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  3. ^ "Why Cheema ditched PPP". DAWN.COM. 11 March 2004. Retrieved 17 August 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Traub, James (1 June 2008). "The Lawyers' Crusade". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan". DAWN.COM. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  6. ^ a b c d "PPP decides tickets for six NA seats in Lahore". The News. 24 March 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c "Aitzaz blasts Asif, says most graft charges justified". DAWN.COM. 2 June 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  8. ^ "Aitzaz to retain Lahore seat". DAWN.COM. 13 October 2002. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "12 elected unopposed to Senate from Punjab". DAWN.COM. 16 February 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "PPP downfall: Aitzaz Ahsan resigns from Senate – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  11. ^ "Fresh adjustments: Zafarul Haq appointed Senate house leader – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  12. ^ "PPP plays another hand: Aitzaz Ahsan named as leader of opposition in Senate". The Express Tribune. 11 March 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  13. ^ Guramani, Nadir (August 19, 2018). "PPP nominates Aitzaz Ahsan as candidate for president: sources". Dawn. 
  14. ^ Chaudhry, Fahad (September 5, 2018). "PTI's Arif Alvi officially declared winner of 13th presidential election". Dawn. 
  15. ^ "Gilani to appeal contempt conviction: Aitzaz Ahsan – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 26 April 2012. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  16. ^ Chief Justice Chaudhry reinstated Archived 6 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ "I am innocent, want open trial: Justice Iftikhar". DAWN.COM. 23 March 2007. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  18. ^ "Munir, Ahsan win Asian rights award". DAWN.COM. 24 January 2008. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  19. ^ "Lawyers' leader Aitzaz Ahsan freed – Hindustan Times". Hindustan Times. 15 September 2014. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  20. ^ Aitzaz Ahsan representative for NA-124, Lahore-VII Archived 30 June 2006 at the Wayback Machine.
Political offices
Preceded by
Malik Nasim Ahmed Aheer
Interior Minister of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Mian Zahid Sarfraz