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Kasuri: from lawyer to foreign minister

November 25, 2002


ISLAMABAD, Nov 24: Mian Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, who was sworn in on Saturday as Foreign Minister of Pakistan, belongs to one of the old political families of the Punjab.

His father, the late Mian Mahmud Ali Kasuri, was one of the top lawyers and widely regarded as the father of the human rights movement in Pakistan. As law minister in the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s cabinet, he contributed to the framing of the original 1973 Constitution, which later underwent amendments under different governments.

Mian Khurshid Kasuri, a Barrister-at-Law from Gray’s Inn, London, was Parliamentary Affairs Minister. After completing his higher education, Mr Kasuri started his political career by taking active part in the political movement launched by the Combined Opposition Parties alliance against Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan for the restoration of democracy.

He was sent to Britain, the United States in 1972 on official assignment in the wake of the Bangladesh tragedy to represent Pakistan‘s point of view.

Mr Kasuri entered politics at an early age and joined the Tehrik-i-Istiqlal and became secretary-general of the party. He was arrested on various occasions for taking part in a movement launched by the political parties in February, 1981 for the restoration of fundamental rights of the citizens, removal of restrictions placed on the free functioning of the press and the establishment of an independent judiciary.

After the formation of the People’s Democratic Alliance prior to the 1990 elections, Mian Khurshid Kasuri was unanimously elected its first secretary-general.

Mr Kasuri was one of the few members of the Pakistan Muslim League Parliamentary Party and its Central Working Committee who always expressed his views on all national issues frankly and fearlessly regardless of whether the government of the day liked his views or not.

He visited China as a member of the PML-N delegation in 1996.

He also attended the International Parliamentary Union conferences held in Seoul and in Cairo in 1997 as a member of the Pakistan parliamentary delegation.

Mr Kasuri had the privilege of accompanying Air Marshal Muhammad Asghar Khan to Iran and other Middle eastern countries in October 1977. This visit contributed significantly to the improvement of relations between Pakistan and Iran.

Mian Kasuri was sent as the prime minister’s special envoy to Russia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and the European Union after Pakistan’s nuclear explosion and the Kargil crisis to explain Pakistan’s point of view.—Ahmed Hassan Alvi