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Veteran politician Mustafa Jatoi dies

November 21, 2009

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A former caretaker prime minister and veteran politician, died in London after a protracted illness. He was 78. — File Photo

ISLAMABAD Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, a former caretaker prime minister and veteran politician, died in London on Friday after a protracted illness. He was 78.

According to sources, his body will arrive in Karachi on Saturday morning and he will be laid to rest in his ancestral graveyard in New Jatoi village, about 10km from Naushehro Feroze.

He leaves behind six sons and three daughters.

Mr Jatoi served as caretaker prime minister for three months after former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed the first government of Benazir Bhutto on Aug 6, 1990.

Born on August 14, 1931, in the village of New Jatoi, Mr Jatoi was a confidant of the late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. After the 1970 elections, he held several important portfolios in the cabinet of prime minister Z.A. Bhutto before becoming chief minister of Sindh in 1973, the position he held till 1977, when then army chief Gen Ziaul Haq imposed martial law.

Mr Jatoi played an active role in the struggle against military rule from the platform of the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) and was put behind bars by Gen Zia, first in 1983 and then in 1985.

After developing differences with the PPP leadership in 1985, Mr Jatoi formed his own faction of the PPP — National People's Party (NPP). A number of PPP stalwarts and Mr Bhutto's friends whom Benazir Bhutto used to call 'uncles' joined the NPP.

He later headed the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), a nine-party alliance that fought the 1988 elections against the People's Party. He himself lost the elections, but later was elected member of the National Assembly by winning a by-poll in 1989. He now became the opposition leader in the house.

Interestingly, after the 1993 elections, the NPP joined the Benazir government as a coalition partner. His son Ghulam Murtaza Jatoi is a sitting MNA from Naushehro Feroze. Two of his other sons — Arif Jatoi and Masroor Jatoi — are MPAs while Asif Jatoi is a former senator.

Mr Jatoi was elected member of the West Pakistan assembly in 1958 and 1965. He was the eldest of four brothers.

After passing Senior Cambridge from Karachi Grammar School in 1952, he went to the UK for higher education in law, but could not complete his studies because of the death of his father.