Mushahid Ullah Khan – A Fearless Democrat (Obituary)

Veteran politician and senior PML-N leader, Senator Mushahidullah Khan, passed away in Islamabad after a prolonged illness. He was a senator for the past 12 years and was set to retire from the upper house on March 11 While the PML-N had once again issued him the senate ticket for the upcoming Senate polls.

He was considered a giant of the PMLN and remained loyal till his last breath. During the eras of political victimisation, he was present in the list of politicians who make bold and upright statements without any fear.

He was born in Rawalpindi in 1953. He spent most of his life in Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Khan had 4 brothers and 2 sisters. Mushahidullah did his schooling at Islamia High School, Rawalpindi. Later on, he went to Gordon College, Rawalpindi, to complete his Graduation. In 1997 he received his LLB degree from the University of Karachi.

He started his political career after joining the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami and then became a trade union leader while working for the PIA.

Later on, in 1990 Khan joined Pakistan Muslim League N and developed a special affiliation with the party. In 1994 he was made the General Secretary of Labour Wing. He served the post till 1999.

Following the Oct 1999 coup, when many of the PMLN’s leaders joined hands with General Pervez Musharraf, Mushahidullah chose to take on the military strongman head-on.

On Oct 13, Mushahidullah convened a press conference where he was less than flattering about the newly-imposed military regime and summarily resigned from the two lucrative positions he held at the time as administrator of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and as an adviser to the Ministry of Labour and Manpower.

Khan was also beaten up at Karachi’s Regal Chowk while he was holding a press conference. His clothes were torn and he was moved to the Central Jail and then Landhi Jail for more than a month.

In 2000 he was appointed as a PMLN chief coordinator till 2001. Later on, he was given the post of Information Secretary for 1 year.

Mushahidullah Khan was made the Vice president of Pakistan Muslim League N Party in 2002.

He ran for the Senate Assembly’s seat in the 2009 Senate Elections as a member of PLM (N) and received the maximum votes. He also served as the party spokesperson for many years.

He again elected a member of the Senate Assembly in the 2015 Senate Elections. In 2015 he was made the Benazir Income Support Program’s Chairman, but he refused to accept the post, and later, he was made Climate Change Minister.

However, in August 2015, he was forcefully asked for resignation when he gave an interview to BBC Urdu.

In an interview, he alleged that General Zaheer Ul Islam (Ex-DG ISI) wanted to overthrow the civil and military leadership of Pakistan during the 2014 Azadi march, which was led by PTI’s Imran Khan and PAT’s Tahir Ul Qadri.

The Army official however dismissed his allegations as baseless and Mushahidullah Khan was forced to resign. Mushahidullah also claimed that he had heard Zaheer Ul Islam’s telephone conversation centred on executing the 2014 dharna and that the audio had been recorded by the Intelligence Bureau.

After the appointment of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he was again given the same Ministry of Climate change. On 31st May 2018, he was stopped to hold the office after the completion of tenure.

The senior PML-N leader was the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation.

He was a member of the Committees Council of Chairpersons, House Business Advisory Committee, Cabinet Secretariat, Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Inter, Provincial Coordination, Power, Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, Parliamentary Committee on National Security, Parliamentary, Consultation Committee on Legislative Business, Committee of the whole.

He was also part of the parliamentary committees on Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Members of the Election Commission of Pakistan, Kashmir, and National Security.

Khan is blessed with 4 children. One of his daughters, Rida Khan, Currently, is a PML-N MNA on a reserved seat.

Mushahidullah Khan’s efforts for democracy will never be forgotten. For the PMLN, a loyal, irreplacable and exceptional companion has departed this world.

Raja Furqan Ahmed

Raja Furqan Ahmed is the News Editor of The Pakistan Daily.

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