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Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo


Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo is a senior statesman, politician and the current minister of the ministry of states, frontiers and Kashmir affairs. He is the current provisional president of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Active in national politics since over 30 years, Wattoo dissolved his party and campaigned on party ticket of the Pakistan People's Party in 2008 general elections. On May 30, he joined the cabinet and served as an advisor to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani before assuming the charge of the ministry of states and frontier affairs.

Career highlights
Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo was first elected as Chairman District Council Okara in 1983 during the non-party elections of the Zia era. Then in 1985, he secured the office of the Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan on Pakistan Muslim League ticket. Thrice elected for the same office, he secured the office of the Chief Minister of Punjab in 1993 on the PML (Junejo) ticket after a vote of no-confidence in the Punjab legislature against PML-N's serving chief minister Ghulam Haider Wayne.

After a tug-of-war between Wattoo and Nawaz Sharif, the then restored (by Supreme Court) Prime Minister of Pakistan and head of the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML (N)), all assemblies were dissolved and only after a fresh election, Wattoo was elected the Chief Minister of Punjab again on PML (Junejo) ticket, ruling a coalition consisting chiefly of Pakistan People's Party (PPP), PML (Junejo), minorities, and some independents.

It was in 1995 that Wattoo formed his own PML (Jinnah), when he parted ways with Hamid Nasir Chattha who wanted to be the president of PML (Junejo), which Wattoo was previously a part of. The differences cropped up in the same year when Wattoo was removed as the Punjab Chief Minister in the power struggle between the province (headed by PML (Junejo) and the center (headed by rival PPP), leading Arif Nakai another PML (Junejo) candidate to be the new Chief Minister.

In Summer of 1995, Wattoo's father Mian Jahangir Ahmed Khan Wattoo died. Wattoo did not attend his father's funeral owing to the difference in religious ideology between a father and a son. Mian Jahangir Wattoo converted to the Ahmedi sect under the influence and training of the school headmaster of their native village, Muazzam, in Fazilka district, India. Wattoo, on the other hand, took his mother's and forefather's (except father's) religion and is a Sunni.

Painted corrupt by the PPP, PML-N, he was removed from the office of Chief Minister only to be restored to office a year later in 1996 by the High Court. Corruption allegations and court proceedings were started against Wattoo by archrival and then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of the PML-N, Mian Manzoor Wattoo was sentenced by an accountability court to more than 10 years in prison besides being fined 10 million rupees only later to be set aside by a higher court.

Amid mounting tensions within his district between his faction and his rival Syed Afzal Ali Gillani, his son Khurram Jahangir Wattoo was elected the Nazim of the populous tehsil of Dipalpur. Widely regarded as an astute politician, almost having never miscalculated any political situation besides trying to reconcile with his arch rival Mian Nawaz Sharif, Manzoor Wattoo was initially released on bail later to be exonerated of any wrongdoing. Earlier convictions were set aside and he was allowed to run for any public office.

His daughter Rubina Shaheen Wattoo served as a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan for the PML(Q). He actively began taking part in politics and soon became a close ally of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Having merged his political party, Pakistan Muslim League (Jinnah), in to the ruling PML (Q) on presidential advice, he was made the Senior Vice President of the ruling party. His relations with the party's leadership remained sour from the beginning, who tried at marginalizing Wattoo and anyone associated with him.

Wattoo remained part of the ruling PML (Q) until November 2007, despite differences with the party leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and the Punjab Chief Minister, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi who suffered heavily under Wattoo's reign in Punjab in 1993-95.

With the upcoming elections Wattoo left the PML(Q) due to differences in seat allocations for his constituencies and decided to run as an independent.

Wattoo announced to join forces with the Pakistan People's Party on May 29, 2008 along with party members in Islamabad soon after winning a decisive victory in February 2008 elections in which he won from two constituencies NA-146 and NA-147 as an independent and his daughter Rubina Shaheen Wattoo won PP-188. His local ally Mian Moeen Wattoo and Malik Abbas Khokhar also had victories with their common support. 

Wattoo served as Federal Minister for Industries and Production in the PPP government of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani and in November 2009, his portfolio was changed and he became Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas.

In 2012, his son, Khurram Jahangir Wattoo, who won NA-147 after his father left his home constituency was made the Parliamentary Secretary for Establishment and Cabinet Divisions by the PPP leadership.

In 2012, in a surprise move, President Asif Zardari instituted Mian Manzoor Wattoo as the Provisional President of the Pakistan Peoples Party Central Punjab which was at its weakest now owing to Punjab being the stronghold of the Shareef brothers further strengthened by stay orders by the new judiciary headed by Iftikhar Mohamed Chaudhry and the partial news coverage by Jang Group whose Daily Jang and GEO News have the most viewership in Pakistan.


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