Khawaja Muhammad Asif
|خواجہ محمد آصف|
|Minister of Defence|
19 April 2022 – 10 August 2023
|Prime Minister||Shehbaz Sharif|
|Preceded by||Pervez Khattak|
27 November 2013 – 28 July 2017
|Prime Minister||Nawaz Sharif|
|Preceded by||Naveed Qamar|
|Succeeded by||Khurram Dastgir Khan|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
4 August 2017 – 26 April 2018
|Prime Minister||Shahid Khaqan Abbasi|
|Preceded by||Sartaj Aziz (as Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs)|
|Succeeded by||Khurram Dastgir Khan|
|Minister for Water and Power|
7 June 2013 – 28 July 2017
|Prime Minister||Nawaz Sharif|
|Deputy||Abid Sher Ali|
|Preceded by||Ahmad Mukhtar|
|Succeeded by||Syed Javed Ali Shah (as minister for Water Resources)|
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (as minister for Energy)
|Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources|
31 March 2008 – 13 May 2008
|Prime Minister||Yousaf Raza Gillani|
|Succeeded by||Asim Hussain|
|Minister for Sports|
31 March 2008 – 13 May 2008
|Prime Minister||Yusuf Raza Gillani|
|Member of National Assembly of Pakistan|
13 August 2018 – 10 August 2023
|Born||9 August 1949|
Sialkot, West Punjab, Pakistan
|Political party||Pakistan Muslim League (N) (1993-present)|
|Spouse||Musarrat Asif Khawaja|
|Relations||Farooq Naek (cousin)|
|Alma mater||University of the Punjab|
Khawaja Muhammad Asif (Urdu: خواجہ محمد آصف; born 9 August 1949) is a Pakistani politician who served as the Defence Minister of Pakistan from April 2022 till August 2023. He had also been a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan from August 2018 till August 2023. Previously, he was a member of the National Assembly from 1993 to 1999 and again from 2002 to 2018 and till date. In May, 2019 he took the charge and became the Parliamentary Leader of PML-N in the National Assembly of Pakistan.
He served as the Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Abbasi cabinet from August 2017 to April 2018 and simultaneously served as the Minister for Defence and Minister for Water and Power in the third Sharif ministry from 2013 to 2017.
Asif began his political career after getting elected to the Senate of Pakistan during the Sharif's first ministry in 1991. Since 1997, he had served as a member of the federal cabinet, in various positions. From 1997 to 1999, he was as the chairman of the Privatization Commission of Pakistan during the second government of Nawaz Sharif. He briefly held the cabinet portfolios of the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources in the Gillani ministry in 2008, with an additional charge as Minister for Sports.
Early life and education
Asif was born on 9 August 1949 in Sialkot, Punjab, to Khawaja Muhammad Safdar, an influential politician. He belongs to a Punjabi family of Kashmiri ancestry, whose ancestors settled in the Punjab generations ago from the Kashmir Valley. He received his early education at Cadet College Hasan Abdal. He attained his bachelor's degree from Government College University Lahore, before getting his L.L.B. degree from the University Law College, Lahore, in 1970. He later earned a Master’s in Economics from the London School of Economics in 1975.
Asif is a banker by profession and has worked in the different banks of the United Arab Emirates, where he lived for several years but returned to Pakistan following his father's death in 1991, in order to continue his father's politics.
In 2007, he was awarded honorary doctorate degree in international relations by the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations.
Asif began his political career in 1991 on returning to Pakistan following the death of his father after living in the United Arab Emirates for many years. In 1991, he was elected to the Senate of Pakistan as a candidate of Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) for three years. He was elected to the National Assembly of Pakistan from Constituency NA-110 (Sialkot) in 1993 general election.
He was re-elected to the National Assembly as a candidate of PML-N from Constituency NA-73 (Sialkot-II) in 2018 Pakistani general election. He received 116,957 votes and defeated Usman Dar who received 115,464 votes. In May, 2019 he took the charge and became the Parliamentary Leader of PMLN in the National Assembly of Pakistan.
In 1997 Government
He was appointed as the chairman of the Privatization Commission of Pakistan with the status of a minister during Second Nawaz Sharif ministry in 1997. His tenure was terminated following the counter-coup 1999 coup d'état in which then Chief of Army Staff, Pervez Musharraf, overthrew Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in response to Sharif indirectly hijacking Musharraf's plane and ordering it to land outside Pakistan.
During 2008 coalition government
He was briefly appointed as the Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources, as well as the Minister of Sports in the Gillani ministry in 2008 before his party pulled out of the Pakistan Peoples Party-led coalition government.
During 2013 Third Nawaz Sharif ministry
During 2017 Abbasi ministry
He had ceased to hold ministerial office in July 2017 when the federal cabinet was disbanded following the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif after Panama Papers case decision. Following the election of Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as Prime Minister of Pakistan, Asif was inducted into the federal cabinet of Abbasi and was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs for the first time. Earlier, Pakistan had no Minister for Foreign Affairs since the PML-N came to power in May 2013 as former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself held the cabinet portfolio of foreign affairs.
Controversy and scandals
Dual nationality controversy
In June 2012, a petition admitted by the Supreme Court of Pakistan's registrar stated that Asif holds dual nationality, and hence, according to Pakistan's constitution, he is not eligible to hold public office in Pakistan. Following this, the Federal Investigations Agency and the Supreme Court began an investigation pursuing inquiries of Asif's dual nationality charges. The court did not find him guilty of the charges petitioned against him; the petitioner who leveled the charges withdrew the accusations and issued a formal apology.
Rigging allegations in 2013 elections
Work permit controversy in 2018 elections
On 26 April 2018, he was disqualified from holding a public office for life by the Islamabad High Court over possessing a UAE work permit. He was unseated by the Election Commission of Pakistan as Member of the National Assembly. Following this Asif challenged his disqualification in the Supreme Court. In June 2018, the Supreme Court suspended the lifetime disqualification and declared the decision of Islamabad High Court null and void, and allowed Asif to contest elections.
Asset beyond means case
He was arrested on 29 December 2020 by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in assets beyond means case. He was released on bail by Lahore High Court on 23 June 2021 in the assets beyond means case.
Sexist statement in Parliament and widespread backlash
In July 2023 his labelling of female opposition leaders in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party as "trash and leftovers" led to a widespread criticism of his misogyny.
- Wasim, Amir (14 June 2018). "For PML-N, only family seems to matter". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
- "Marriage of Convenience". BOL News. 7 August 2022. Retrieved 22 June 2023.
Former Senate chairman and senior PPP leader Farooq H Naek and incumbent Defence Minister Khawaja Asif are the maternal cousins. The wives of both the politicians are real sisters.
- "If elections are held on time…". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
- "Who is Khawaja Asif? Meet Pakistan's first foreign minister since 2013". The Financial Express. 5 August 2017. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
- "Detail Information". 11 October 2007. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 9 July 2017.
- "Profile of Khawaja Muhammad Asif". Ministry of Water & Power. 17 October 2016. Archived from the original on 17 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Ghumman, Khawar (7 June 2013). "Experience and loyalty count in the PML-N kitchen cabinet". Dawn. Pakistan. Archived from the original on 29 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- "Medical college named after Khwaja Safdar". Dawn. Pakistan. 13 January 2011. Archived from the original on 28 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
- Jaleel, Muzamil (2013). "As Nawaz Sharif becomes PM, Kashmir gets voice in Pakistan power circuit". The Indian Express. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
Kashmir may have been missing from the agenda of the elections in Pakistan, but the country's new government will have Kashmiris in vital positions — beginning with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif himself. Sharif, 63, who was sworn in for a historic third term on Wednesday, belongs to a family that migrated to Amritsar from South Kashmir's Anantnag district in the beginning of the last century. Sharif's close confidant Ishaq Dar, and influential PML (N) leader Khawaja Asif — both of whom are likely to get important positions in the new government — too have roots in Kashmir. 'My father would always tell me that we are from Anantnag. We had migrated to Amritsar from there for business', Sharif told this correspondent in his office in Lahore's Model Town last month where he sat with his key associates tracking the results of the election. 'And my mother's family came from Pulwama'.
- "Prominent Abdalians in Civil Sector". www.cch.edu.pk. Archived from the original on 16 February 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- "Profile / Khawaja Asif". Senate of the Pakistan. Archived from the original on 19 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "Khawaja Muhammad Asif". Pride of Pakistan. Archived from the original on 9 July 2023.
- "Khawaja Muhammad Asif". Dawn. 28 April 2013. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- "PRIVATE POWER & INFRASTRUCTURE BOARD". www.ppib.gov.pk. Archived from the original on 8 May 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
- "Profile". www.mofa.gov.pk. Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- Siddiqui, Naveed (15 November 2017). "Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif conferred with an honorary PhD by Swiss University". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 15 November 2017.
- "Federal cabinet unveiled: Enter the ministers – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 8 June 2013. Archived from the original on 29 October 2016. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- "Election Result NA-110 Sialkot -I Punjab | Pakistan Election 2013 - geo.tv". Archived from the original on 16 April 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Geo.tv: Latest News Breaking Pakistan, World, Live Videos". www.geo.tv. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2018.
- "NA-110 from Sialkot goes to Khwaja Muhammad Asif – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 12 May 2013. Archived from the original on 28 October 2016. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
- Birmani, Tariq Saeed (29 July 2018). "Khawaja Asif remains unbeaten in Sialkot's NA-73". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
- "NA-73 Result - Election Results 2018 - Sialkot 2 - NA-73 Candidates - NA-73 Constituency Details - thenews.com.pk". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 2 August 2018.
- Jamil, Farah (7 June 2013). "26 member Cabinet to take oath today". Aaj News. Archived from the original on 21 January 2017. Retrieved 31 October 2016.
- Dawn.com, Agencies (27 November 2013). "Khawaja Asif given additional charge of defence ministry". DAWN.COM. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 2 August 2017.
- "Additional charge: Khawaja Asif made defence minister – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 27 November 2013. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- "PM Nawaz Sharif steps down; federal cabinet stands dissolved". Daily Pakistan Global. Archived from the original on 28 July 2017. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
- Khan, Sanaullah (4 August 2017). "New cabinet takes oath: Khawaja Asif foreign minister, Ahsan Iqbal interior minister". DAWN.COM. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
- "Pakistan Swears In New Federal Cabinet". Newsweek Pakistan. 4 August 2017. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
- "Pakistan gets new cabinet, Khawaja Asif is foreign minister". www.hindustantimes.com. 4 August 2017. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
- "Kashmiris, Arains to decide NA-110 winner". DAWN. 24 September 2002. Archived from the original on 5 March 2017. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- "SC suspends membership of three MPAs over dual nationality". Dawn. 13 June 2012. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
- "SC dismisses PTI petition challenging Khawaja Asif's election as MNA – The Express Tribune". The Express Tribune. 10 November 2016. Archived from the original on 15 November 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- "IHC disqualifies Khawaja Asif over possessing UAE iqama". DAWN.COM. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- "Khawaja Asif out of politics for life, rules IHC". www.pakistantoday.com.pk. 26 April 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2018.
- Nasir Iqbal, Haseeb Bhatti (1 June 2018). "SC overturns Khawaja Asif's 'disqualification for life', allows him to contest elections". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "NAB arrests PML-N leader Khawaja Asif in assets beyond means case". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 29 December 2020.
- Baloch, Saher (2023) The fury in Pakistan sparked by a misogynist minister, BBC News 2 July
- "Pakistan's Former Foreign Minister Arrested In Assets Beyond Means Case". NDTV. 30 December 2020 – via PTI.