Moonis then returned to Pakistan to look after the several businesses owned by his family. In 2008, he was elected a member of the Punjab Assembly from a PML-Q ticket. He had contested from two seats in the 2008 election – one in Lahore (PP-152) and the other in his hometown of Gujrat (PP-110). He lost the seat in Lahore but won in Gujrat.
In 2011, Moonis took centre stage in the media after being heavily implicated in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scandal. At the centre of the scandal were some lucrative property deals involving NICL, which were allegedly abetted by Moonis. The powerful MPA was accused of appropriating around Rs 320 million from the scam during his father’s tenure as Punjab chief minister.
Moonis was arrested in March of 2011, and was in jail for several months as a result. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had started investigating the NICL scam after the Supreme Court had taken suo motu notice of it.
Moonis was acquitted by a court in October that year. By the time the apex court took up the case again, Moonis had left the country, although it was unclear as to whether his name was still on the Exit Control List or not.
Finally, in July 2012, the Supreme Court too dropped charges against Moonis, after the FIA said it could not be proved whether or not the money in his bank accounts was gained from the scam.
Moonis is once again planning to contest in the 2013 election, and will likely be running from Gujrat’s PP-110 – the seat he won in 2008. His father had successfully contested from the same constituency six consecutive times before that. His competition in PP-110 is likely to be a former PML-Q member who recently joined Pakistan Peoples Party at Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar’s behest.
Moonis, however, would not be running from Lahore's PP -152 this time — the seat he lost in 2008. Furthermore, in accordance with the PML-Q-PPP seat adjustment plan for the 2013 election, he would be contesting from Mandi Bahauddin’s PP-118.
— Research and text by Heba Islam