Khawaja Muhammad Asif

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Khawaja Muhammad Asif
Defence Minister of Pakistan
Assumed office
27 November 2013
President Mamnoon Hussain
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Naveed Qamar
Constituency NA-110
Minister of Water and power
Assumed office
7 June 2013
President Mamnoon Hussain
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by Ahmed Mukhtar
chairman of the Privatization Commission
In office
18 February 1997 – 12 October 1999
Preceded by Naveed Qamar
Succeeded by Shaukat Aziz
Personal details
Born Khawaja Muhammad Asif
(1949-08-09) 9 August 1949 (age 65)
Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan
Citizenship Pakistan
Nationality  Pakistan
Political party Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Spouse(s) Musarrat Asif
Alma mater Punjab University
London School of Economics
Occupation Banker, businessman
Cabinet Sharif ministry
Religion Islam

Khawaja Muhammad Asif (خواجہ محمد آصف; born 9 August 1949 in Sialkot), is a Pakistani politician, banker, senior conservative thinker, and the current Defence minister as well as Power and Water minister, serving in this capacity since June 2013.[1]

A senior parliamentarian from the Pakistan Muslim League, his electoral career started in 1991 from the NA-110 of Sialkot, Punjab.[2] He is noted for initiating the privatisation of banking sector as well as his tough rhetoric against Pervez Musharraf.[1] In addition, he also short-tenured in the Petroleum ministry in the Gillani cabinet.[3] Differences seemed to develop between Khwaja Asif and Nawaz Sharif when he offered to resign alleging that he did not have control over his own ministry.[4]


Education and banking career[edit]

Khawaja Muhammad Asif was born in Sialkot, Punjab, Pakistan, on 9 August 1949. He is of the Kashmiri decent.[5] His father, Muhammad Safdar, was an activist of Pakistan Movement and had been well known in country's political circles.[2] His father was a supporter of the President Zia-ul-Haq's conservative programmes.

After attending a local high school in Sialkot, he entered in the Punjab University to study business and law in 1965. In 1970, he graduated dual degrees, with an BA in Business administration and LLB in civil law.[2] Upon graduation, Asif went onto join the banking industry before moving to the United Kingdom to continue further post-graduation studies. In 1972, Asif attended the London School of Economics (LSE) where he worked on researching on business-based economics and earned MSc in Economics from LSE in 1975. Upon graduation, he joined the senior banking staff of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in the 1980s.[2]

Eventually, he moved to United Arab Emirates (UAE) to take over the local branch; he spent several years as senior banker and finally elevated as senior official of the BCCI.[6]

Career in politics[edit]

By 1990, Asif had become close to Agha Hasan Abedi (founder of BCCI) while managing a BCCI's corporate branch in UAE. It was through Hasan Abedi, Asif began to maintain political relationship with the conservative Pakistan Muslim League (N). In 1991, Asif resigned from the BCCI and returned to Pakistan, shortly after the death of his father. In 1991, he first competed for NA-110 constituency for Sialkot and eventually becoming a junior Senator until 1993.[7] From 1993–96, he worked on PML(N)'s public image and participated well for NA-110 constituency during the general elections held in 1997.[7]

Asif was appointed chairman of the Privatization Commission and implemented a rigorous deregulation as well as privatization of banking sector.[7] His tenured was eventually terminated by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999 after staging a self-coup.[8] On 12 October 1999, Asif was arrested and was subjected to torture in a prison.[8] Despite the pressure by Pervez Musharraf to defect, Asif remained loyal to PML(N) and continue his criticism on Pervez Musharraf.[8] In 2002, he again defended the NA-110 constituency in general elections held in 2002.[8] From 2002–07, Asif worked on PML(N)'s public image and party's programme. During this time, he drew a wide criticism on Musharraf and the growing influence of the military in national politics. In 2006, Asif heavily criticised the role of the military at the public circle and well quoted: "people started openly criticising negative role of institutions which in fact was defaming these institutions in the eyes of general public."[8] Responding to charges leveled up against him against the military, Asif stated he could, on record, sacrifice his life for the institution of military.[8] Eventually, his arguments provided a basis for the military to withdraw from the politics and helped the institution to work onto to restore its image in the civil society.[8]

In 2008, Asif again stood well for his NA-110 constituent during the general elections.[7] He was briefly appointed as the Minister Petroleum and Natural Resources with an additional charge of sports before his party pulled out of the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government in 2008.[7]

From 2009–12, he vigorously worked and played a key role in stopping mega corruption at different levels and also created hurdles for future for any corrupt elements; such notable cases include" Rental Power Plants case and LPG quota case.[8]

Minister of Water and Defence (2013–)[edit]

In 2013, Asif participated to defend the NA-110 constituency in the general elections, against Firdous Ashiq Ivan of the PPP.[9] Asif secured ~92,848 votes with a percentile of 52.46%.[9] On June 7, 2013, he was appointed in the Ministry of Water and Power as its minister.[10]

After the appointments of joint chief committee were finished, Asif was appointed Defence Minister, with an additional department on 27 November 2013.[11] Upon becoming Defence Minister, Asif tightened the government investigations on Musharraf who is facing the treason trial.[12]

Other issues[edit]

Dual nationality proceedings[edit]

On 4 June 2012, the FIA and the Supreme Court of Pakistan began an investigation and inquiries on Asif's dual nationality charges.[13] A petition admitted by Supreme Court's registrar stated that Asif holds dual nationality, and hence, according to Pakistan's constitution, he is not eligible to hold public office in Pakistan.[13] The petition also included names of 13 other current members of National and Provincial assemblies in Pakistan. However, the court didn't find him guilty in this regard[13] and the petitioner who levelled charges apologised and withdrew from accusations.[13]


  1. ^ a b Public domain, Govt. publications. "Ministers in Nawaz cabinet". Prime Minister's Secretariat press release. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d Govt of Pakistan. "Minister for Water & Power". Govt. of Pakistan. PID. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Sajjad Malik, "24-member federal cabinet takes oath" Daily Times, 1 April 2008
  4. ^
  5. ^ et. al. dawn staff writer and editor (28 April 2013). "Khawaja Muhammad Asif". Dawn Newspapers,2013. Dawn News. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  6. ^ et. al., PD. "Profile of Chairman". MInistry of Power and Water. Private Power and Infrastructure Board. Retrieved 9 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Kazmi, Imran; (April 28, 2013). "Khawaja Muhammad Asif by Dawn". Dawn Newspaper, 2013. Dawn Newspaper. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h Noorani, Ahmad (April 15, 2014). "Khawaja Asif — the best choice for defence minister". News International, April 15, 2014. News International. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b et. al. "Election results". ECP release to POL. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  10. ^ Hussain, Tayyab (8 June 2013). "25-member cabinet takes oath". Pakistan Today. Pakistan Today. Retrieved 22 September 2014. 
  11. ^ WEbdesk (27 November 2013). "Additional charge: Khawaja Asif made defence minister". Express News: Express Tribune, 2013. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  12. ^ Yousaf, Kamran (28 April 2014). "Controversial remarks: Khawaja Asif may lose defence portfolio". Express News, 2014. Express News. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  13. ^ a b c d "SC resumes hearing in dual nationality case". 13 June 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 

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