Mamnoon Hussain: Indian-born president-elect of Pakistan

Published: September 6, 2013
Mamnoon Hussain. PHOTO: AFP

Mamnoon Hussain. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: Mamnoon Hussain, who will be sworn in Monday as the 12th president, is a well-respected but low-profile businessman who was born in India and led a successful career in textiles.

A staunch loyalist of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but with no power base of his own, Hussain’s time in office will cement the country’s democratic transition back to a ceremonial head of state.

He will formally preside over a government that must solve a power crisis, kick-start the economy, counter a Taliban insurgency and navigate a tricky alliance with the United States.

Often photographed smiling, the 73-year-old Hussain – who sports a cropped moustache – has spent most of his life as a key member of the business community in Karachi.

He owns a textile firm and was president of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry at one point during Nawaz’s second term as prime minister from 1997 to 1999.

In 1999, Nawaz surprisingly appointed him governor of Sindh. But his tenure was cut short when Nawaz was deposed in a military coup.

Hussain was a key figure in Karachi for Nawaz.

“He is a selfless and straight-forward man who makes friendship out of sincerity not of utility,” Tariq Khaliq, a friend of Hussain’s for more than half a century, has said.

“He is thoroughly noble and a simple man and unlike traditional Pakistani politicians.”

Born in Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, in 1940, he was still a child when he fled with his family to Karachi after the 1947 partition.

He studied at the Institute of Business Administration in Karachi and inherited his family’s modest cloth business, which he exported and traded in the local market.

He served as a secretary of the PML-N in Karachi, but his appointment as Sindh governor was considered something of a surprise in political circles.

Nawaz is understood to have been attracted by his loyalty and low-profile manner, and by selecting a president from the south he gives Karachi some stake in the federal government.

Hussain was elected president on July 30 by members of the four provincial assemblies and the federal parliament.

He won 432 votes and his only rival, Wajihuddin Ahmed, 77, after the main opposition Pakistan Peoples Party boycotted the vote.

He is married and has three sons who have careers in banking.

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Reader Comments (28)

    Sep 6, 2013 - 12:51PM

    Congrats Mr. Hussain.

    You r the 1st NRI who got top place in any country.


  • Nadir
    Sep 6, 2013 - 1:54PM

    Everyone born before 1947 is Indian born no?


  • jssidhoo
    Sep 6, 2013 - 3:33PM

    Why so much importance to his being Indian born ? He was 7 when he left India and has spent 66 yrs in Pakistan i think its about time one gets over 1947 .


  • Sep 6, 2013 - 3:47PM

    Congrats sirRecommend

  • Water Bottle
    Sep 6, 2013 - 3:57PM

    Every Pakistani of that time is Indian born. So, what’s so special about Momnoon?


  • GhostRider
    Sep 6, 2013 - 3:58PM

    DOnt make ill-informed and unsubstantiated claims…First of all he is not NRI he is a Pakistani citizen and there are numerous examples to nullify your claim for e.g.

    Pervez Musharraf, Gen. Aslam Baig, Dr. Abdul Qadeer khan, Cheif Justice Saeed uz zaman, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz..etc. etc these are the famous ones, there are many top politicians, militarymen and bureaucrats who are Urdu speaking. So take a hike!!


  • ModiFied
    Sep 6, 2013 - 4:02PM

    Sir, Agra is eagerly waiting to facilitate you. Please visit Agra before you go anywhere else.


    Sep 6, 2013 - 4:39PM

    @GhostRider: As per INDIAN LAW a person who has INDIAN ROOT n has other national passport can be termed as NRI.yes u can say musharf is nri bt y shd we count him when is is nt good for us he never made us proud.




  • csmann
    Sep 6, 2013 - 4:46PM

    Well,India has a Pakistani born PM?!!!


  • Prabhjyot Singh Madan
    Sep 6, 2013 - 5:17PM

    The news president has a good smile too. How much will he put in his kitty ? Any good guess from anybody. Rab rakha


  • Sep 6, 2013 - 5:27PM

    Actually ALL who were born before 1947 are Indian born. But regardless good luck to the new President of Pakistan


  • Ashok
    Sep 6, 2013 - 6:17PM

    Congratulations Mr President and hope your tenure will bring in cordiality and peaceful coexistence between our two countries.


  • Ali
    Sep 6, 2013 - 7:25PM

    true – pakistan was a part of india.pakistanis can’t disagree.


  • Silent Night
    Sep 6, 2013 - 9:57PM

    @Ali: That was an India created by European colonisers, and ceased to exist in August 1947. Pakistan was never a part of present day India founded by Indians. It is great credit to all of Pakistan that people who left settled lives for their belief in Pakistan, can reach its highest oiffices, and incidently President Hussain is not the first one to do so.


  • Not Hairaan
    Sep 6, 2013 - 11:07PM

    @Silent Night:
    Sorry to disappoint you, India was not created by the European colonisers. It has a 5000+ year old history, and presently day Pakistan is part of that India. The sooner we Pakistanis realize it the better. We have common languages, cultures, foods and corrupt politicians, essentially, we share the same DNA.


  • Silent Night
    Sep 7, 2013 - 2:29AM

    @Not Hairaan: The 5000 years you are talking about is of a geographical area, such as North America, not a nation state. This geographical area always had multiple states throughout these 5000 years, and any temporary singularity that was achieved was through force, the last being the force of the British Empire. You can say that Pakistan was/is part of the Sub-Continent, but claimaing that Pakistan was part of India is historically, geographically, and intellectually incorrect. By the way, if you want to talk about DNA then all humans share the same DNA, not just Indians and Pakistanis. Hope this clears up your confused, colonial disappointment.


  • Sidster
    Sep 7, 2013 - 3:20AM

    @Not Hairaan: we do not eat the same food. We do not worship idols and do not have same religious holiday. India was made because Hindus started calling India Hindustan. No kingdom in India had total control of Indian Subcontinent. Mughal empire united or conquered India completely. Even Arabs called anything beyond present day Iran as Hindko territory.


  • indian
    Sep 7, 2013 - 7:21AM

    indians never called india hindustan it is the muslims who called it .


  • Pradhan
    Sep 7, 2013 - 12:36PM


    Its not Mughals(not plural) Only Aurangzeb was able to rule the whole India. It is just for 20 30 yrs. Its his reign where all these religious kattar panti started. By the way after him also there is another dynasty who ruled atleast 90% of the lands known as India today Maratha dynasty who almost ended Mughal empire.

    I won’t go to Ashoka era but you should also know that The hindu you know were never called themselves Hindu. It was a name given to people who live in Hindustan. Hindustan is the name given to this land by foreigners. Basically if you think about it, anybody whose forefathers are from this lands I mean who is not an Arab or afghan is basically a Hindu. Anyways you would never understand….


  • Abid P. Khan
    Sep 7, 2013 - 12:53PM

    indians never called india hindustan it is the muslims who called it . “

    Some years back journalist Kuldeep Nayyar claimed that Pakistanis were the only ones who called India as Bharat, no one else does.


  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Sep 7, 2013 - 1:28PM

    Nawaz Sharif born in Jaati Umra India and Mamnoon Hussain also born in India.How amazing the situation has been because both Indian born leaders are governing Pakistan and Pakistani nation.May Almighty bless Pakistan and see what happens to Pakistan and Pakistani nation?????


  • jun
    Sep 7, 2013 - 8:27PM

    @INDIAN SHIA: First NRI? Liaquat Ali Khan , General Zia Ul Haq , General Pervez Musharraf all were NRI


  • Babloo
    Sep 7, 2013 - 8:49PM

    The largest empire in the Indian subcontinent, was the Asokan empire about 2500 years ago, who ruled the subcontinent from his capital in Pataliputra, Bihar. You can find his pillars, all over Pakistan, NWFP, Afganistan to south of India. In fact, Tribune , recently carried a news item about the neglect this official, historical pillars built by Asokan admnistration , all over his empire, now face in Pakistan. The capital of the Asokan pillars ( the 3 lions and the wheel ) , are the official emblem of India. Those Asokan pillars are the oldest, surviving structures in the Indian sub-continent.


    Sep 7, 2013 - 9:49PM

    [email protected]:
    Dear liquakat ali was PM. n musharf was nt elected president. N Zia is nt NRI. even though he born in Jalandhar consider as punjabi only as punjab belongs to both nation


  • Sep 8, 2013 - 3:17PM

    Readers/ Bloggers,
    Hold your horses!
    First of all; It doesn’t matter where he is from.
    The whole of the South East Asia was the Indian subcontinent (the soil) before partition.
    In actual fact it was British India.
    I am unsure if the term NRI is correctly used over here.
    Moreover ‘Who cares’ as long he is able to deliver. No one is bothered weather he is an Indian or a Red Indian.


  • Sep 9, 2013 - 12:54PM

    Muslims and Hidus are two different nations. Hindus worship idols while Muslims worship Allah, the only God. However, being the residents of one geographical area, the two nations should respect each other and try to live in a peace and cordial atmosphere. Both the nations should try to raise the living standards of their people.Recommend

  • Maula Jatt
    Sep 9, 2013 - 1:41PM

    Babloo: The largest empires which ever ruled in South Asia were Skandr the Great, the Islamic Ummayyad Khilafah, Daryush Persia Empire, and Mughal Dynasty. The influence of Asoka was miniscule at best.


  • Xulfjan
    Sep 11, 2013 - 2:48AM

    This is a loaded caption…Did Indian newspaper wrote about ManMohan Singh as Pakistan born Indian Prime minister. I think it is silly and downright mischievous and totally uncalled for!


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