KARACHI: There is no more Mir Zafarullah Jamali, a soft-spoken and affable gentleman with an ingenious grin.
Mir Jamali, Pakistan’s first prime minister from the turbulent Balochistan province, was a cool-headed politician who preached unity and discouraged war, even in the face of animosity.
His early education was in Balochistan, followed by Lawrence College, Murree, Aitchison College and Government College, Lahore. He was born in Rojhan Jamali on Jan 1, 1944. From the latter school, he earned a Master’s in History.
In him, his childhood and schooling instilled tenderness and sympathy. He never exerted his power without speaking to other parties, except as a tribal chief. This characteristic became his driving force, too in politics.
As their immense natural wealth were used to help all but them, Zafarullah Jamali was aware of the injustices perpetrated against the Baloch.
He recalled the 1952 discovery of Sui gas, but until the 1980s, its advantages did not hit the Baloch. When his people were seeking their freedom, many of them were arrested for sedition.
He recalled that an army operation to suppress an insurrection led by Sher Mohammad Marri was undertaken when he was a student in Lahore. It lasted until Gen Yahya Khan, in 1969, took over. The action caused on the hapless tribes a major loss of life and property.
As their demands were viewed as a sign of revolt and suppressed ruthlessly by the Ayub Khan government, they began to feel isolated.
Determined to end the torment of his unfortunate homeland, he decided it was time for something to be done.
By then, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had founded a party that vowed every person social justice. He was accompanied by the 26-year-old Jamali. He had high hopes that with the aid of the charismatic Bhutto, he would repair the wounds suffered by Ayub Khan on Baloch.
But it quickly transformed that dream into a nightmare.
He attempted to establish an environment conducive to resolving Balochistan’s problems in cooperation with Bhutto, but disillusionment set in when Balochistan’s regional governments and the then North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) were dismissed in 1973. It preceded a military action.
This escalated the situation and contributed, under Khair Bakhsh Marri, to the founding of the Baloch Liberation Army. There came another army action, resulting in a vast number of kills and untold suffering.
Yet Jamali, the moderate, declined to give up hope. He contested and won the Balochistan Assembly election in March 1977 on a PPP ticket. He then entered the cabinet of the provinces, led by Nawab Muhammad Khan Barozai, as minister of food and information.
On July 5, 1977, Gen Ziaul Haq overthrew the Bhutto administration. But after the Movement for the Return of Democracy (MRD) began its struggle, he set out to give his military dictatorship a civilian facade in 1983. He was attempting to cobble a civilian government led by a loyal prime minister together.
For the work, he weighed the names of Illahi Bakhsh Soomro, Mohammad Khan Junejo, and Mir Zafarullah Jamali, settling for Mr Junejo. As minister of state for local bodies, Jamali Sahib entered the Zia cabinet.
Elected governments were established in the centre and in the provinces in December after the death of Ziaul Haq in August 1988. Zafarullah Jamali served from June to December as Balochistan’s chief minister.
After the dismissal of Benazir Bhutto’s government in November 1996, he again served as caretaker chief minister for three months.
He joined the Muslim League of Pakistan in 1990, which was headed by Nawaz Sharif.
Jamali joined the PML-Q after Gen Musharraf overthrew Nawaz Sharif in 1999, and was awarded with the premiership in 2002.
He did what he was given as prime minister, but his pliability did not go down well with the supreme of his faction, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain. On June 26, 2004, he was left with no alternative but to leave. As a backup, Musharraf took in Shaukat Aziz.
Mr Jamali’s stances in the prestigious offices made no impact as prime minister and earlier as chief minister of Balochistan. Nevertheless, after that, he led a peaceful life of reverence, self-esteem and serenity.
Jamali’s resume reveals, in addition to politics, that he played hockey for Punjab. His love for the game has brought him to several notable events. He has worked as the boss of the Pakistan Hockey Federation and represented the country as a delegate at the 1984 Olympics.
At the United Nations sessions in 1981 and 1991, he had the distinction of representing Pakistan.
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Jamali was a scion of an illustrious family in the Pakistan Movement that played a part. His son, Mir Jaffar Khan Jamali, was a close Quaid-i-Azam associate.