It is difficult to imagine the PPP without Makhdoom Amin Fahim. It is also hard to come to terms with the fact that the bespectacled leader from Hala, often spotted with an ajrak shawl around his neck, is no longer amongst us. Mr Fahim, 76, passed away after a prolonged struggle with cancer at a private hospital in Karachi. He had only recently been brought back to the city after treatment in Germany, which did not bear fruit.
Mr Fahim had played a relatively low key role in politics in recent times, and had focused on his role as the head of the Sarwari Jamaat, one of the largest spiritual groups in the country. He was also devoted to poetry, writing his own verses and avidly reading those of others. But of course it was his role as a politician that he was best known for. Tributes have poured in after the news of his death broke, with the prime minister praising his leadership abilities and accolades being proffered from across the political spectrum. Mr Fahim had carried forward the long political legacy of his family from Hala and first entered parliament on a PPP ticket in 1970. He had since then stayed loyal to the party, through the highs and the lows — a rarity in Pakistan’s political culture. A loyal aide to Benazir Bhutto, notably during her years in exile following her father’s execution, he served as minister during her two tenures in power. He was also applauded by many for turning down an offer to assume the premiership in 2002, made by General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Mr Fahim was seen as a key candidate to take over the leadership of the PPP after Benazir’s assassination, but dynastic politics reigned supreme. Mr Fahim was also overlooked when Yousaf Raza Gilani was preferred over him for the role of prime minister in 2008. While being dogged by allegations of misuse of power in recent years, he nevertheless will also be remembered for his loyalty to the PPP and his quiet leadership through several decades.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2015.
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