Who is Ahsan Iqbal?

Published May 6, 2018

Born in 1958, Ahsan Iqbal is a Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart who currently holds the post of Minister of Interior and Minister for Planning and Development, under the premiership of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Iqbal has been associated with prestigious educational institutions such as Government College Lahore, University of Engineering and Technology (Lahore), University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and Harvard University.

He has been elected as an MNA four times — in 1993, 1997, 2008 and 2013.

Iqbal played his role in several key government positions. He served as deputy chairman Planning Commission and chairman Pakistan Engineering Board and was also a chairman for the National Steering Committees on Information Technology and IQM and Productivity.

Iqbal has to his credit Pakistan's first national IT policy which was formulated upon his initiative. He also taught Management at the Mohammad Ali Jinnah University in Islamabad (2000-2007) and chairs a think-tank called Better Pakistan Foundation.

The PML-N leader also served as federal minister for education with an additional charge of minorities’ affairs for a short period of time before his party pulled out of the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government in 2008.

Iqbal, like fellow party leaders, has been an advocate of a sovereign foreign policy and is of the opinion that post-9/11 US policies have fuelled anti-American sentiment among the Pakistani public. He is also in favour of the Nawaz government’s 1998 policy on ties with neighbouring India.

A party stalwart, Iqbal was also made part of PML-N’s parliamentary board tasked with selecting candidates for the 2013 election. The board mostly comprised of Nawaz loyalists who kept the party alive during the Musharraf regime.

Last year the federal cabinet member, who oversees the $54 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, became a subject of controversy when he was found to be a holder of Iqama (work permit) of Saudi Arabia.

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