KARACHI: The nomination of Mohammad Zubair as the 32nd governor of Sindh was just a confirmation of media reports which had started emerging hours after the death of former governor retired Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqi, bringing an end to speculation and rumours about different names and candidates for the slot.
However, the curiosity which remained was about those facts which could explain his political and personal history for the common man. Those facts are not much known even to Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders suggesting his not very old association with the party where he enjoys a key position and close connection with its top brass.
The eldest son of retired Gen Ghulam Omar, Mr Zubair is the elder brother of Asad Umar, a key leader of the PML-N’s archrival Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf. Brotherhood aside, both leaders from the ruling and opposition parties were often seen toeing party lines and arguing against each other in TV shows.
PML-N Sindh leaders confirmed that Mr Zubair had joined the party in 2007-08 and soon became a key person in the N-League.
Before jumping into active politics in his late 50s, Mr Zubair was seen hosting shows on the country’s business and economy on a private news channel on the back of his strong finance and corporate background.
He did his MBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), where he remained part of its board of directors being a nominee of students in 1980. After graduating from the prestigious institution, he became a member of its faculty and started teaching financial management in the evening campus between 1981 and 1986.
He spent more than a quarter of a century at a key position of a leading global IT company from 1981 to 2007 where he undertook several assignments in Paris, Rome, Milan and Dubai.
After joining the PML-N, he became part of the party’s economic planning team, tax reforms’ experts and media committees in 2012, a year before the general election.
When the party formed the government in the Centre, Mr Zubair was appointed chairman of the Board of Investment in July 2013 where he stayed till December 2013. He was appointed minister of state and chairman of the Privatisation Commission in December.
However, his contribution to the country’s privatisation effort is lesser known than his loyalty to the party leadership, which he proved almost daily on different TV shows defending Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his children with regard to the Panama leaks affair. In the recent legal battle Mr Zubair — with a few other PML-N leaders — has established himself as the face of the party.
Apart from all qualities, professional skills and political loyalty, the PML-N leaders confirmed that the nomination of Mr Zubair was also made due to his personal background only to meet the “tradition” in Sindh’s power-sharing structure, which has seen for decades an Urdu-speaking governor while a Sindhi chief minister in office.
“That consideration was definitely in sight when the nomination was done by the party leadership,” Senator Nehal Hashmi of the PML-N replied when asked about that particular aspect. “He [Mr Zubair] belongs to an honourable Urdu-speaking family and has a history of serving the party and the country. The decision I believe would strengthen the federation and provincial coordination and relations.”
Published in Dawn January 31st, 2017