On March 24, 2008, Yousaf Raza Gilani became the prime minister of Pakistan.
On April 26, 2012, he became the first prime minister to be convicted for contempt by the country’s highest court.
A former cabinet minister and speaker of National Assembly, Gilani joined the Pakistan People’s Party in 1988 under the late prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
But it was only after the PPP won elections for a third time in 2008, following Bhutto’s assassination in late 2007, that Gilani unexpectedly won a race to fill the power vacuum left by Bhutto.
Gilani started his political career with the PML as a member of the central working committee in 1978 during General Ziaul Haq’s tenure.
He was the federal minister for housing from 1985 to 1988 and later went on to become the minister for railways but resigned after developing differences. He then left the Muslim League and joined the PPP the same year.
Gilani defeated PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif from Multan in the 1988 elections and became the health minister in the Bhutto government. He also remained the housing and works minister during this period.
Gilani was in the key position of speaker National Assembly from 1993 to 1996.
His only political defeat came in 1997 at the hands of Sikandar Khan Bosan.
In 2001, he was arrested on charges of misuse of authority and could not participate in the 2002 elections.
He was released from the Adiala Jail on October 7, 2006, after which he authored a book called “Chah-e-Yousaf say Sada” about his time in jail.
He was elected as the prime minister by securing 264 votes against Pervaiz Elahi on March 24, 2008.
Born on June 9, 1952 in Karachi, Gilani is the son of an influential landowning family from Multan. His family has a long heritage as guardians of Islamic shrines and his father was an MNA as well.
(with additional input from AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2012.