Former president of Pakistan and PML-N loyalist Mamnoon Hussain passed away in Karachi on Wednesday after a prolonged illness, according to his family and party leaders. He was 80.
Hussain served as the 12th President of Pakistan between September 2013 and September 2018. He had replaced Asif Ali Zardari and was succeeded by Arif Alvi.
He was diagnosed with cancer in February last year and was under treatment at a private hospital in the city for some days where he breathed his last, according to his former coordinator and PML-N Sindh additional secretary general Chaudhry Tariq.
Hussain has left behind a widow and three sons. The time and place of his funeral prayers will be announced later, Tariq said.
Politicians belonging to various parties expressed grief and condolences at the passing of the former president.
President Arif Alvi expressed sorrow over his demise, saying he shared the pain of his bereaved family.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif also shared sadness over Hussain's death. "Today, we have lost a valued person who loved Pakistan and had a good character," a tweet by the PML-N president's account quoted him as saying.
"He was Nawaz Sharif's trustworthy, loyal and ideological companion. He steadfastly stood by the party through all the highs and lows.
"His services for the country and the nation will be remembered for long," Shehbaz said.
Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed his condolences on Hussain's demise. “May Allah bless his soul & give strength to the bereaved family to bear this irreparable loss, ” he was quoted as saying by the ISPR.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said she was deeply saddened by the former president's passing.
"He was a sincere man who served Pakistan with completely honesty," she tweeted.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted: "My deepest condolences on the passing of former President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain. May Allah grant his family the strength to bear this great loss."
PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan also conveyed his condolences, praying for strength for Hussain's family and friends to cope with the loss.
Sindh chief minister's adviser Murtaza Wahab also shared sadness at Hussain's demise, saying "he served his office with grace and dignity."
Who was Mamoon Hussain?
A textile businessman from Karachi, Hussain was born in 1940 in Agra and migrated with his parents to Pakistan in 1947.
He was a graduate of the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi.
Chaudhry Tariq and another PML-N leader, Nasiruddin Mehmood, told Dawn.com that Hussain received his education up to Matric at home, before going to attend college.
He mostly remained associated with the shoe business of his family which was established on a big scale in the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Later, he also started exporting fruits. “He may be considered one of the pioneers among fruit exporters,” Mehmood commented.
Hussain joined politics in the late 1960s following his close association with politician-cum-businessman Abdul Khaliq Allahwala.
He remained the joint secretary of the then Muslim League in the 1970s. He subsequently turned his focus on his business and was considered an active member of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
When Nawaz Sharif came to power in 1990 for the first time, Hussain along with some of his businessmen friends joined the PML-N and remained an active member of the party. He was governor of Sindh from June to October 1999 when Nawaz's government was overthrown by the then army chief, Gen Pervez Musharraf.
There was a time during Gen Musharraf's era when Hussain held three posts in PML-N Sindh at the same time as the party was under persecution, recalled Tariq.
He also served as an adviser to then-chief minister of Sindh Liaquat Jatoi. In 2002, Hussain contested the elections from Karachi’s NA-250 but remained unsuccessful.
He was elected as the president when the PML-N came to power in 2013.
Hussain resigned from his membership of the PML-N soon after the results of the election were announced in what was seen as a symbolic move to establish himself as a non-partisan president.
“After completing his tenure as president of Pakistan on Sept 9, 2018, he nearly abandoned politics and adopted a very low profile,” Nasiruddin said.