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New Pakistani PM Ashraf was an agriculturist before entering politics

Friday June 22, 2012 09:59:38 PM, IANS

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Islamabad: An agriculturist before entering politics and propped by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as a cover candidate, the country's new prime minister, Raja Pervez Ashraf, came to the fore only after the main contender was mired in an illegal drugs quota scandal.

Born Dec 26, 1950, in Sanghar town in Sindh province, Ashraf was the federal minister for water and power, and information and technology in the government of ousted prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

He hails from a family of agriculturists and that remained his occupation too until he joined the PPP, Dawn News reported.

Ashraf received a graduate's degree from the University of Sindh in 1970. He and his wife have two sons and two daughters, and they live in Gujar Khan.

He was elected to the National Assembly in 2002 from the Rawalpindi-II constituency.

Ashraf is a member of many committees in the National Assembly, including the Standing Committee on Kashmir and the Standing Committee on Law, Justice and Human Rights, according to the website.

Currently the PPP secretary general, Ashraf has travelled to Saudi Arabia, Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, the UAE, China, Belgium and North Korea on official tours.

According to the Washington Post, the choice of Ashraf "seemed to guarantee continued political turmoil".

It said he is "associated with a persistent energy crisis that has crippled the country with blackouts, water shortages and steep increases in the price of fuel".

Ashraf, as energy minister 2008-2011, was also mired in a corruption scandal involving private leases of power plants, the Post said.

Dawn News said he was accused of receiving kickbacks in a power project and is currently defending himself in the Supreme Court.

The apex court declared Ashraf involved in the power project scam and revoked his power as the minister for water and power. However, when the federal cabinet was expanded, Ashraf was given the ministry of information and technology.

He has also been accused of buying property abroad with illegal money.





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