KARACHI, April 7: The newly elected chief minister of Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, was born to an educated middle-class family in Khairpur district in the late 1930s.
A lawyer by profession, he started upon his career in public life by participating in the local bodies election during Ayub Khan’s era and represented his district. Mr Shah joined the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the late 1960s and contested and won national assembly elections in 1970 and 1977.
He served as a federal industries minister during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s premiership. After the government was sacked and martial law was imposed in 1977 by General Ziaul Haq, Mr Shah remained loyal to his party. He survived the repressive years of Gen Zia and Jam Sadiq Ali, when the party was almost crippled. After frontline PPP leaders in the province – Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Makhdoom Khaliq-uz-Zaman, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, etc – either left the party or became inactive, Mr Shah took over the PPP’s reins in Sindh.
He was the party’s provincial chief when it won the 1988 elections, notably in Sindh, and was subsequently made the chief minister although he was replaced after about a year. In the 1988 elections, Mr Shah defeated the then incumbent chief minister, Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, whom he has since continued to defeat in all subsequent elections except those held in 1996 when after his defeat, the party had him elected to the Senate, the upper house of the Parliament. He was re-elected in 2002 as well as in the recent Feb 18 polls, and has been nominated as the chief minister of the province.
Mr Shah attended primary school in his home district of Khairpur and went on to graduate from the University of Karachi. He obtained an LLB degree from the city’s SM Law College.
Having married three times (two of his wives have passed away), Mr Shah has four sons and seven daughters, all of them highly educated and the majority of them in government service.
His eldest son Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah is an official in the senior federal government and is currently serving in Balochistan.
Syed Liaquat Ali Shah is a doctor and is currently serving as a medical officer in the interior of Sindh.
Syed Asad Ali Shah is a self-employed chartered accountant. He was appointed adviser to the Sindh Chief Minister for Finance between 1993 and 1996 in order to compensate his father, who took up no ministerial responsibility in the PPP government elected in 1993.
Syed Afzal Shah has a doctorate degree and lives in the United States.
Of Mr Shah’s daughters, Naheed Shah Durrani is a CSS official and was selected during the Zia regime. She is currently serving as the Special Secretary Finance in the Sindh government.
Nighat Shah is a doctor working for the provincial government.
Journalist-turned-politician Nafeesa Shah served as the nazima of Khairpur district until 2007. She has now been elected to the national assembly.
Meanwhile, Shamshad Shah is a housewife while Nusrat Shah is also a doctor. Nuzhat Shah is a child with special needs while his youngest daughter, Mona Shah, is a teenager and is still completing her education.