Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as the new prime minister is a controversial choice to the say the least. Currently fighting a corruption case in the Supreme Court, he is also blamed fo r the country’s energy woes.
Ashraf was born on December 26, 1950, in Sanghar, Sindh. He received his early education in Sindh and graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Sindh in 1970. In 1974, he received a diploma in industrial management from England.
Ashraf’s family migrated to Gujar Khan tehsil, in northern Punjab, where they became associated with the agricultural sector. Before joining the Pakistan Peoples Party, Ashraf worked in the agriculture, farming and real estate sectors.
The new premier served as the water and power minister from 2008 to 2011 and later retained his position in the federal cabinet led by Yousaf Raza Gilani as the information and technology minister in 2012.
He was elected twice as a member of the National Assembly from his constituency, NA-51 Rawalpindi-II of Gujjar Khan in 2002 and 2008.
Ashraf also served as the chairman of Social Action from 1994 to 1996. He was also a member of the National Assembly Standing Committees on Kashmir Affairs and Law, Justice and Human Rights.
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was given the title of Raja Rental after he was accused of receiving kickbacks in the rental power projects. He was also accused of buying property in London from money earned through corruption in various scams.
He is currently defending himself in the Supreme Court.
On March 30, the apex court had directed the National Accountability Bureau to proceed against those who were in the post of minister for water and power from 2006 till the next general elections. As a result, on April 20, NAB issued arrest warrants for 33 persons, including Ashraf.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.