Syed Qaim Ali Shah; a politician par excellence

By: Ali Murad Bhatti

Syed Qaim Ali Shah, was born to an educated middle-class family in Khairpur district 13 September 1928.

Syed Qaim Ali Shah is a lawyer by profession but he started politics by participating in the local bodies election during Ayub Khan’s era and represented his district. He joined the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the late 1960s and contested and won national assembly elections in 1970 and 1977.

He served as a federal industries minister during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s premiership. After the government was sacked and martial law was imposed in 1977 by General Ziaul Haq, Mr Shah remained loyal to his party. He survived the repressive years of Gen Zia and Jam Sadiq Ali, when the party was almost crippled. After frontline PPP leaders in the province – Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Makhdoom Khaliq-uz-Zaman, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, etc – either left the party or became inactive, Mr Shah took over the PPP’s reins in Sindh.

He was the party’s provincial chief when it won the 1988 elections, notably in Sindh, and was subsequently made the chief minister although he was replaced after about a year. In the 1988 elections, Mr Shah defeated the then incumbent chief minister, Syed Ghaus Ali Shah, whom he has since continued to defeat in all subsequent elections except those held in 1996 when after his defeat, the party had him elected to the Senate, the upper house of the Parliament. He was re-elected in 2002.

He lost the only election of his career in 1997 when the PPP was nearly routed from parliament. Later, he made a bid for a senate seat, and won his first and only senate term in late 1997.

He won seven out of eight general elections he contested, becoming a MPA six times, and Member of National Assembly (MNA) and senator once. Shah completed his 2nd term as Chief Minister of Sindh on 21 March 2013