Despite his background as a student of law, Makhdoom Shahabuddin has made a name for himself primarily as a politician and agriculturalist – his portfolios at various times throughout his career include the treasury, planning and development, health and textiles.
He hails from Mianwali Qureshian, an important political centre in Rahim Yar Khan and is known to be more interested in finding jobs for the unemployed rather than the development of the region – he is responsible for the employment of hundreds during the time Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has remained in power.
He is the Sajjada Nasheen of the Darga Sharif Makhdoom Hameeduddin Hakim in the Meo Mubarak village.
Shahabuddin matriculated from Sadiq Public School Bahawalpur, spending his first intermediate year at Government College Rahim Yar Khan before migrating to FC College Lahore. His close ties to Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi are on account of their time spent studying with him in FC College. After his graduation, Shahabuddin studied law at Punjab Law College Lahore.
While Shahabuddin’s political career started with the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), he largely witnessed success as part of PPP.
He contested his first election from NA 148 in 1988 with the PML ticket, losing to his uncle contesting the constituency with a PPP ticket. Contesting the same constituency in 1990 with the PPP ticket, Shahabuddin defeated his cousin and was elected as a member of the National Assembly. In 1993, he won the constituency’s seat again, defeating his uncle Makhdoom Ruknuddin, and served as the treasury minister in Benazir Bhutto’s government subsequently. Shahabuddin was elected as the chairman of the Southern Peoples Party, when President Asif Ali Zardari, as acting PPP chairman, established a separate chapter for southern Punjab. He is also part of PPP’s central executive committee.
Before Yousaf Raza Gilani’s disqualification as premier, Shahabuddin was part of his Cabinet as textiles minister.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2012.