Mamnoon Hussain was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, in 1940 but migrated to Pakistan where he completed his higher education. Hussain was an alumni of the prestigious Institute of Business Administration in Karachi — his hometown — from where he graduated in 1965.
A long-time loyalist of Nawaz Sharif, he was associated with the Muslim League through the 70s and 80s. In 1993, amidst the drama surrounding Sharif’s removal from Prime Ministership by Ghulam Ishaq Khan, there was much speculation surrounding Hussain’s possible leadership of the party.
This ultimately failed to materialise, although he was the acting PML-N President in Sindh at the time. He also previously served as an adviser to the then chief minister of the province, Liaquat Jatoi. Hussain served a short stint as Sindh governor from June to October 1999 and was removed after the military coup of General (retd) Pervez Musharraf.
Many analysts claim this was a pivotal moment in his career, seeing the candidacy as a reward for his loyalty to Sharif during the tumultuous times for PML-N in 1999. However, he generally maintained a low profile in the party after Musharraf’s rule ended.
In 2002, Hussain contested the elections from Karachi’s NA-250 but remained unsuccessful.
In 2013, when Sharif selected him as a candidate for the Presidency, Hussain was serving as senior vice-president of PML-N and running a textile business in Sindh. Political analysts and civil society had claimed that his appointment by the PML-N was a response to calls from PPP and others to look to provinces other than Punjab in appointing individuals to high offices.
“I belong to Karachi. If elected, I’ll try to resolve Sindh’s issues and restore peace in Karachi,” Hussain had said. “Development and progress will begin from Sindh.”
The PML-N member had dissociated himself from his would-be predecessors, saying he doesn’t want to be like President Asif Ali Zardari or ex-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.
Sharif had referred to the PML-N nomination of Hussain as choosing someone who was "non-controversial".
Hussain was elected as the 12th President of Pakistan on July 30, 2013 and 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.
Hussain completed his five-year term on September 8, 2018.
He was diagnosed with cancer in February 2020 and breathed his last on July 14, 2021. He leaves behind a wife and three sons.