Mushahid Hussain Sayed

Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Profiles of Pakistan Leaders, PAKISTANI LEADERS ONLINE
General Secretary
Pakistan Muslim League
Senator
Mushahid Hussain Sayed

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed is secretary general of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML). He has been a cabinet minister, journalist, university teacher and political analyst.

He studied at the FC College in Lahore, from where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree. He has a Master’s degree from the School of Foreign Service in Georgetown University. While studying in the US, he was president of the Pakistan Students Association. He represented Georgetown University at the Student Conference on US Affairs at the US Military Academy at West Point, the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference at Annapolis and the US 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 Congressional Internship, rare for a foreign student, to work in the US 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Currently, he is a senator and chairman of the Foreign Relations, Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas Committee of the Senate. He has also been 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 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.

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.