Ghulam Sarwar Cheema

Ghulam Sarwar Cheema, Profiles of Pakistan Leaders, PAKISTANI LEADERS ONLINE
Ex-Federal Minister of Defence
Colonel (Retd) Ghulam Sarwar Cheema Late


Born in Gujranwala on March 10, 1941, Colonel (Retd) Ghulam Sarwar Cheema studied at Central Model School, Lahore, Cadet College, Hasanabdal. He got his MA (Political Science) degree from the Government College, Lahore, and was awarded a gold medal. He also earned LLB and Business Management degrees from the Cambridge University, UK.

His father Ghulam Haider Cheema had retired from the Pakistan Army as major and was twice elected member of the National Assembly in 1970 and 1977 on ticket of the Pakistan People’s Party. It was because of his father’s association with the Pakistan People’s Party that Colonel (Retd) Cheema was compulsorily retired from the army by General Ziaul Haq in 1981.

The zodiac sign of Colonel (Retd) Cheema is Pisces while his hometown is Khanki Headworks in Wazirabad tehsil of Gujranwala district. He is currently residing in Islamabad. He can be contacted at <ghulamsarwarcheema@yahoo.com>.

In his early life, Colonel (Retd) Cheema was an ardent sportsman. He was fond of swimming and riding. He used to play squash in early days and now enjoy watching cricket. He has been leading in extracurricular activities both in school and college. He has also been editor of the college magazine. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah are his ideal personalities while he was inspired by poet-philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Besides being a politician, he is an agriculturalist.

Colonel (Retd) Ghulam Sarwar Cheema joined politics after death of his father in 1982 and remained affiliated with the Pakistan People’s Party till 1994 when he quit the inherited party and joined the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. He plans to serve his constituents in whatever capacity he can till Allah Almighty permitted him.

He considers the absence of rule of law the top problem of Pakistan and thinks that it has led to the destabilisation of all state institutions thus bringing the nation to the imposition of emergency in the country on November 3, 2007.

In political arena, he is admirer of the leadership qualities of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Mian Nawaz Sharif.

As far as hobbies, leisure pursuits and idea of recreation are concerned, he thinks that a leisure pursuit or hoppy should isolate one from the day to day happenings. His favourite pastime is reading books and meeting friends.

His is inspired by Karl Marx as an author. He likes poetry very much and his favourite poets are Milton and Allama Iqbal. He likes any good music that elates his mind. He likes horses as a pet.

He had one brother and two sisters. His elder sister was widowed three years after her marriage while younger one died in 1985. His younger brother is a retired government officer. His own family includes one daughter and two sons. His daughter is a medical doctor and was also a member of the National Assembly from 2002-2007 on a reserved seat. His elder son runs his private business (defence trading and IT) while his younger son was inducted in the government service in 1997 but was released from service (citing political affiliation). He is presently involved in business with his brother but could join family politics.

Colonel (Retd) Cheema won his first election in 1988, defeating the then sitting speaker of National Assembly. He served as Pakistan’s defence minister and chairman of the Pakistan International Airlines from 1988 to 1990. Since his constituents were deprived of any opportunities for almost a decade, his foremost demand was provision of jobs so he was able to induct over 7,000 people from his constituency in various government and private jobs.

He contested four elections and won twice a National Assembly seat and once a Punjab Assembly seat. If elected again, his utmost desire is to provide justice to a common man and try to establish the rule of law. He says being a soldier by training he would also like to improve the image of Pakistan’s armed forces in the eyes of a common man with a hope to disassociate the military from politics so that the forces gain the same respect from the nation they enjoyed after 1965 war.

He thinks the way things are going on Quaid-i-Azam’s Pakistan will be nowhere in 20 years from now. He wants youth not get dejected from poor political leadership and wants them to think and act as a nation and stand up for social injustices because God helps only those who help themselves.

He says he was going to become a professional lawyer but after the 1958 martial law, his father remarked: “This country will not see the rule of law in my lifetime; forget to be a barrister and join the army.” He did so in 1959 and had a very distinguished career for 22 years.

He proudly says that till his retirement in 1981, there was hardly any officer to have achieved a military Profile close to his. He has been instructor at Infantry School, platoon commander/instructor at Pakistan Military Academy, brigade major of an Infantry Brigade, distinguished allied graduate of Fort Benning Georgia (USA), instructor at Command & Staff College, Quetta and instructor in War Wing of the National Defence College.

He would have been a brigadier at the age of 39 but the then Army Chief General Ziaul Haq did not promote him. In fact, he was released from service citing reasons “compulsory premature retirement due to no fault of officer.” At 40 years of age with no monetary benefits (as given today) and small children, he struggled very hard to make a living. He says when the president (as well as the army chief) does not like one it is indeed a miracle to make ends meet. He had to work almost 18 hours a day to make a living as well as remain in contact with his constituency to handle the family’s political struggle.

He passed away on 9th November 2012 and buried in his ancestral graveyard in his village.

(Profile by : Xainab Mirza)