Syed Qaim Ali Shah (Urdu: سید قائم علی شاہ ) is the Chief Minister of Sindh, Sindh President of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and an elected Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) from PS-29 (Khairpur-1). Formerly, Shah has been Federal Minister for Industries and Kashmir Affairs, a senator and a two time Chief Minister of Sindh (17th & 26th).
For his role as a founding member of PPP and his political experience, Shah enjoys the reputation of a being a Pakistani political maestro of sorts.
Syed Qaim Ali Shah was born to Syed Ramzan Ali Shah Jillani. Shah’s household was counted amongst Khayrpur state’s more influential and educated families. After completing his early education in Naz High School, Shah was married by his family to a relative before he proceeded to Karachi for higher education.
In Karachi, Shah enrolled at Karachi University and received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Later, he read law at S. M. Law College and received an L.L.B degree. During the course of his studies at SM Law College, Shah benefited from the company and guidance of his then professor, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, building a bond that would last for the duration of his professor’s life.
Shah entered politics by getting elected the chairman of Khairpur’s district council under Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s system of Basic Democracy in the 1960s. After that, there was no turning back. His close association with Bhutto led to his joining Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s PPP shortly after PPP’s creation in 1967.
He contested general elections of 1970 with a PPP-ticket from Khairpur Mirs and defeated his opponents, Syed Mohammad Baqir Shah (provincial president of National Awami Party (Wali)) and Syed Ghous Ali Shah. Recognizing young Shah’s capabilities, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed Qaim Ali Shah to his small cabinet by making Shah the Federal Minister for Industries and Kashmir Affairs.
After General Zia-ul-Haq’s coup d’état in July 1977, Shah was arrested along with Bhutto and other cabinet ministers. Unlike other PPP bigwigs such as Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Makhdoom Khaliq-uz-Zaman, Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, who either left the party or became inactive, Qaim Ali Shah remained loyal to the party. During the eleven years of Gen. Zia-ul-Haq’s rule, Shah, and members of his family suffered imprisonment, torture, virtual poverty (as accounts and lands were seized), and constant fear. Most notably, Shah’s politically active nephew, Syed Parvez Ali Shah Jillani attained ‘Prisoner Of Conscience’ status in Amnesty International’s 1985 report for enduring six years of torture in General Zia’s torture cells. Benazir Bhutto’s autobiography, Daughter of the East, records Parvez’s ordeal in greater detail.
With General Zia’s death and Benazir Bhutto’s return to the country, Shah was appointed the president of PPP-Sindh in recognition of his services to the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) and PPP. His landslide victory in the 1988 elections from his constituency, Khairpur Mirs, paved way for his appointment as the 17th Chief Minister of Sindh on December 2, 1988.
Subsequently, Shah was elected as a Member of Provincial Assembly (MPA), Sindh, in 1990, 1993, 2002 and 2008. 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.
Shah’s first marriage was arranged by his family during his teenage years to a cousin. After Shah completed his education in Karachi, his family, in accordance with the customs of the day, arranged his second marriage to Husn Afroze Brohi, sister of A. K. Brohi. Neither of his wives outlived him. Husn Afroze suffered from breast cancer and died in the late 1970s and Shah's first wife died from terminal illness a few years later. After several years as a widower, Shah contracted his marriage to his current wife according to the wishes of his family and friends.
Syed Qaim Ali Shah has four sons and eight daughters. The four children from his first marriage include Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah, Dr. Syed Liaquat Ali Shah, Shamshad Shah and Najma Shah. Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah is primarily an agriculturalist while Dr. Liaquat Ali Shah is an eye-specialist. Shamsad and Najma are housewives.
Syed Asad Ali Shah, Dr. Nusrat Shah, Naheed Shah Durrani, Nuzhat Shah, Dr. Nighat Shah, Dr. Nafisa Shah, and Syed Afzal Shah are his children from his marriage to Husn Afroze.
Syed Asad Ali Shah is the President of Institute of Charted Accountants Pakistan (ICAP), a board member of [http://www.ifac.org/About/ International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), a senior partner of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu's Pakistani firm, and Vice Chairman of Group of Experts on Accounting and Reporting, a forum of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Dr Nusrat Shah is a consultant gynaecologist and assistant professor at a public medical university. Dr. Nighat Shah is also a consultant gynaecologist, private practitioner, lecturer at Aga Khan University Hospital and current general secretary of Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Pakistan.
Naheed Shah Durrani is a civil servant. After scoring high marks on her CSS exam, she was selected based on her merit under General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime that was otherwise opposed to Naheed’s father. After 14 years of service in the foreign ministry, district management group, and finance ministry, Durrani has worked her way towards her current post as provincial secretary for education.
Dr. Nafisa Shah is a politician, journalist, anthropologist and painter. Dr. Nafisa Shah is a member of the National Assembly, Chairperson of National Commission for Human Development (NCHD), Member of Standing Committee on Economic Affairs, Finance and Minorities. She has the distinction of being counted among a few female politicians with over ten years of experience of field politics and an even smaller number of parliamentarians with the distinction of completing doctorate and postgraduate studies from the prestigious Oxford University.
Syed Afzal Shah Jilani is an actuarial scientist living and working in the US.
Nuzhat Shah is a child with special needs and Shah’s youngest daughter, Mona, is studying medicine in Pakistan.
Qaim Ali Shah’s 22 grandchildren also give him cause for pride, joy and comfort. Many of them are achieving distinctions in their careers and receiving honors at universities and schools in Pakistan and abroad.