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Mushahid Hussain Syed

Mushahid Hussain Syed is a conservative journalist, geostrategist, and a former media mogul, currently serving as the senator, on a Pakistan Muslim League (Q) platform, to Senate of Pakistan. As of current, he is the current Secretary-General of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), a centrist conservative party.

Educated and graduated from the Forman Christian College University in Pakistan and the Georgetown University in the United States, Sayed started his career in the journalism when he became the founding editor of the former leading newspaper, The Muslim in 1970s and subsequently arrested by the Military Police for staging a demonstration movement against the military coup d'├ętat by General Zia-ul-Haq in 1979. He came to public limelight and international notice in 1997 when Sayed was appointed as the minister of ministry of information and mass-media broadcasting and subsequently called for successful nuclear tests, (see Chagai-I in 1998. Sayed was the principle media spokesperson and had the control of the media representative services in the country during his stay as minister. Sayed was again arrested in 1999 by General Pervez Musharraf who successfully staged a 1999 coup d'├ętat against the government of Prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Sayed was subsequently released in 2000 and later defected to splinter group of Pakistan Muslim League, and appointed as general-secretary of the splinter group. In 2008, he secured the nomination for the office of President of Pakistan but conceded his defeat in favor of Asif Ali Zardari

He studied at the Forman Christian College University in Lahore, from where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. He holds a Master of Science in Political Science from the School of Foreign Service in Georgetown University. While studying in the United States, he was president of the Pakistan Students Association. He represented Georgetown University at the Student Conference on United Staes Affairs at the United States Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference at Annapolis and the United State Department’s ‘Crossroads’ programme for foreign students.

He was also part of the international student group received by President Gerald Ford at the White House. He was awarded a Congressional Internship, rare for a foreign student, to work in the United States Congress in the summer of 1974. After completion of studies in the United States, he returned to Pakistan and became a member of directing staff at the country’s prestigious training institution for civil servants, the Pakistan Administrative Staff College. He then joined Pakistan’s oldest seat of learning, the Punjab University, as lecturer on international relations in the Political Science Department. He was among the four dissident teachers removed from the university in October 1979 for their campus activism during martial law.
Political career

Mushahid Hussain Sayed has served in the cabinet as federal minister of information from 1997 to 1999 in the Nawaz Sharif government. He was elected to the Senate of Pakistan in 2003. He was reelected in 2012. He was also selected the Secretary General of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q), Pakistan's predominant political party.

As information minister from 1997 to 1999, he was the country’s principal spokesman and appeared frequently on international television and radio channels to present Pakistan’s position on issues ranging from nuclear weapons to Islam and foreign policy.

He was a member of Pakistan’s five-member delegation led by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, which was received by President Bill Clinton for parleys at the White House in December 1998. He was also chairman of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Central Asia in 1992-93, which planned policy initiatives towards that region after the break-up of the Soviet Union. During the state visits of South African President Nelson Mandela, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to Pakistan, he was attached to them as minister-in-waiting.
Human right activism

He was also leader of Pakistan’s delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission at Geneva in 1993. After October 12, 1999, he was held without any charges as a political prisoner for 440 days, including a period in solitary imprisonment. The world’s leading human rights organisation, Amnesty International, declared him a ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ making him the first Pakistani to be so honoured for the year 2000.

Political journalism
In 1982, at age 29, he became the youngest editor of national English daily ‘The Muslim’ (now defunct) published from Islamabad, which was respected for its independent positions. Pursuant to an invitation, he wrote about his unique experiences in a special op-ed piece in ‘The New York Times’ titled ‘In the Cage, in Search of Grace’ on February 12, 2001. The Washington Post profiled him in detention on September 15, 2000, ‘Pakistan Keeps Gag on Former Spokesman'.

As a specialist on international political and strategic issues, he has lectured widely and his articles have been published in various national and international publications including ‘The New York Times’, ‘The Washington Post’, ‘International Herald Tribune’, ‘Jane’s Defence Weekly’ and ‘Middle East International’. He was elected co-chairman of the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) Media Conference of 100 countries, held in New Delhi in December 1983 and he is the first Pakistani journalist to have a syndicated column in the Indian media, writing regularly in the ‘Time of India’ and the ‘Hindustan Times’.

Mushahid Hussain is the author of three books. He is also chairman of the board of governors of Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a leading think-tank. He is Pakistan’s Representative to the 15-member Commission of Eminent Persons formed to reform and restructure the Organisation of Islamic Conference. He is also the vice president of the Centrist Democrat International’s Asia-Pacific chapter. On January 27, 2006, he was awarded Congressional Medal of Achievement by the House of Representatives of the Republic of the Philippines.

He served as Senator and Chairman of the Foreign Relations, Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Committee of the Senate. He has also been a member of the parliamentary committee on Kashmir, joint parliamentary committee on Balochistan, functional committee on government assurances, functional committee on human rights and finance committee.

He has been a guest lecturer at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute, Harvard University, MIT, the Middle East Institute, the Stimson Centre, Oxford University and Georgetown University’s Centre for Christian-Muslim Understanding.

As a journalist, he has a broad range of professional experiences including covering summits, interviewing leaders and reporting on conflicts like Palestine, the guerrilla war in Western Sahara and the Iran-Iraq war. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, he was one of the first journalists from the area to personally visit Kabul and interview leaders there. Mushahid Hussain Sayed led Pakistan's delegation to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights at Geneva. Amnesty International in 1999 declared Mushahid as a Prisoner of conscience. Released in December 2000, Mushahid had been held in detention for 440 days.
Presidential candidate

Mushahid Hussain was nominated by Pakistan Muslim League (Q) as their candidate for President of Pakistan. 

He lost the Pakistani presidential election, 2008 to Asif Ali Zardari, who was elected President of Pakistan. 

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