Fazal-ur-Rehman (politician) : biography
Maulana Fazal-ur-Rahman ( b. 19 June 19, 1953), is an influential politician, powerful cleric, and the Secretary-General of the JUI(F). A strong proponent and supporter of leftist Islam, Rahman's role in the government of left-oriented PPP grew since 1996, and asserted his influential role in regional policy relating the Jammu Kashmir and Afghanistan. Rose to national politics in 1988, Rahman notably gathered his support and much publicized Benazir Bhutto's political campaign in 1993 general elections. After supporting Benazir Bhutto as becoming the Prime Minister, Rahman considerably influenced and assisted Benazir Bhutto to help shaping Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 1996.
After Benazir Bhutto departed from Pakistan 1998, Rahman continued to run Bhutto's legacy after accepting the appointment as an interim Leader of the Opposition until 1999. After the 2002 elections, Rahman took the office of Leader of the Opposition where he worked with Benazir Bhutto to oppose President Pervez Musharraf and Prime minister Shaukat Aziz. After successfully contesting in 2008 general elections, Rahman later deepened his role in a left-wing alliance led by PPP and provided an integral support to Yousaf Raza Gillani to form the government.
Early life and education
Fazal-ul-Rahman was born in Abdulkhel, D.I. Khan District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, on 19 June 1953. Rahman hails from an influential political family, his father Mufti Mahmud was a local clerical leader and had a strong vote bank in the Dera Ismail Khan. Rahman studied at the local Madrassa, a religious seminary, in DI Khan. Later, Rahman was accepted at the University of Peshawar where he studied Islamic studies, earning B.A. degree in Islamic studies in 1983. Rahman went to Cairo, Egypt, after being accepted at the Al-Azhar University. Unlike many of his colleagues who have only received degrees from madrassas, Rahman is a "refined product" of Al-Azhar University and studied and researched in religious Theology there, under reputed religious and divinity research scholars. In 1987, Rehman completed and published his master's thesis on political aspects of Islam and was awarded M.A in Religious studies from the Al-Azhar University. Upon returning to Pakistan, he participated in 1988 general elections for state parliament.
Career in the National politics
After returning to Pakistan, Rahman participated in 1988 general elections on a platform religious platform from a JUI(F) ticket. It was during this time period, Rahman built relations with Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and got acquainted with Prime Minister Benazir after she ordered an armed action in Jalalabad of Communist Afghanistan. Rahman is a fundamentalist with a difference, known for his proximity to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and had been under her political science circles as early as 1989. Although, a fundamentalism, he remained in the camp of the political alliances and parties led by Benazir Bhutto that were opposed to conservative leader, Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Muslim League. Only did he contest the election in alliance with the PML, in 1990 general elections, and then too he lost.
Involvement in Benazir Bhutto's government
After losing the 1990 general elections, Rahman frequently began to meet Benazir Bhutto at the PIDE in opposition to Prime Minister Navaz Sharif. Despite his fundamentalist orientation, Rahman publicly campaigned for Benazir Bhutto and with full vigor, supported her right to become the Prime Minister while keenly opposing the media campaign of the JeI in the 1993 against a woman heading the government of an Islamic republic. Rahman defused the criticism from the right-wing circles and fully endorsed Benazir Bhutto's campaign in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province.
After securing the plurality in the state parliament after the 1993 general elections, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto duly rewarded Rahman by approving his appointment as the chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee. As chairman, he became key delegation member of Benazir Bhutto's staff, and became fond of foreign travels taking with Benazir Bhutto. He frequently visited United States, Western world, China, and Japan as part of state visits of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In media, it was reported that Rahman spent more time abroad than in Pakistan. On a repeated state visit of Benazir Bhutto, Rahman frequently met with Clinton administration staffers and senior officials of the US State Department. His visit to India, he was most diplomatic in his statements and proved himself as worthy unofficial representatives of the country.
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