Saturday, June 23, 2012

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf

Raja Pervez Ashraf (Urdu, Punjabi: راجہ پرویز اشرف; born 26 December 1950) is a Pakistani politician who is the 17th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan since June 2012. He was Federal Minister for Water and Power in the Yousaf Raza Gillani-led cabinet from March 2008 to February 2011. He is a senior leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party from Rawalpindi District.

Early Life
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf 1st (Current) PAKRAL RAJPUT PM OF PAKISTAN. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was born on December 26, 1950 in Sanghar, Sindh. He graduated from University of Sindh in 1970 and worked in agriculture before entering politics.

Political career
Ashraf was twice elected as a Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from his constituency of Gujar Khan, Rawalpindi District. Most recently, he won re-election in the February 2008 elections. He became the head of the water and power ministry in the coalition government of PPP, PML-N, ANP, JUI-F and MQM formed after 2008 elections. In the position he faced heavy criticism for repeatedly promising the country's power crisis would be over "by December" as the country suffered regular blackouts. He oversaw expensive "rental power" projects that generated very little power, earning the nickname "Raja Rental" in the Pakistani media. He has been accused of receiving kickbacks in the rental power projects, and of using illegal money to buy foreign property. He has denied wrongdoing, and as of June 2012, is defending himself before the Supreme Court. No official charges have been made against him. However, the Court did revoke his power as the minister for water and power in February 2011. Subsequently, he was appointed to the ministry of information and technology.

On 26 April 2012, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani was convicted of being in contempt of court for refusing to bring charges against President Asif Ali Zardari On 19 June 2012, he was retroactively ruled ineligible to hold the office by the Supreme Court. The ruling Pakistan People's Party nominated textile minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin to replace Gillani, but the nomination failed when the military issued a warrant for Shahabuddin's arrest on drug charges. Ashraf was then selected as the party's next option.

On 22 June 2012, Raja Pervez Ashraf was elected as the 17th Prime Minister of Pakistan by a 211-89 vote. Ashraf and his cabinet were sworn in on the same day. His selection as Prime Minister restored the country's government after several days of turmoil where official the country was without a government. The Associated Press said Ashraf's election was "unlikely to calm the tensions roiling the country" and noted that many observers expected him be eventually be ousted like his predecessor. Political analyst Raza Rumi said Ashraf was likely choosen by the PPP because they knew he would not last long.

Immediately after his election, Ashraf said that the economy, inflation, and the country's power crisis would be his top concerns. "Our country cannot afford politics of confrontation at this time," he said. He also said he wanted to deal with the United States on "an equal footing." However, he will likely have to deal with the court's demands to charge Zardari before doing much else.

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