Quid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (1876–1948)
Asif Ali Zardari
Politician and the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born at Karachi on December 25, 1876.
He was a lawyer and politician who fought for the cause of India's independence from Britain, then moved on to found a Muslim state in Pakistan in 1947.
Jinnah entered politics in India in 1905 and by 1917 his charisma and diplomacy had made him a national leader and the most visible supporter of Hindu-Muslim unity.
His strong belief in gradual and peaceful change was in contrast to the civil disobedience strategies of Mohandas Gandhi, and in the '30s Jinnah broke from the Indian National Congress to focus on an independent Muslim state.
In 1940 he demanded a separate nation in Pakistan and by 1947 he managed to get it from the British and India. Through civil wars, a rotten economy and millions of displaced refugees, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah ("the great leader") pretty much built a country from scratch.
Sir Alama Mohammad Iqbal (1877–1938)
Poet, philosopher, and political leader Allama Iqbal was born at Silkot on November 9, 1877 and studied at Government College, Lahore, Cambridge, and the Univ. of Munich, and then he taught philosophy at Government College and practiced law.
He was elected (1927) to the Punjab provincial legislature and served (1930) as president of the Muslim League.
A staunch advocate of Indian nationalism, he became a supporter of an independent homeland for India's Muslims and he is regarded as the spiritual founder of Pakistan. Iqbal was the foremost Muslim thinker of his period, and in his many volumes of poetry (written in Urdu and Persian) and essays, he urged a regeneration of Islam through the love of God and the active development of the self.
He was a firm believer in freedom and the creative force that freedom can exert on men. He was knighted in 1922. His works include The Secrets of the Self (1915, tr. 1940), and Javid-nama (1934, tr. 1966).
Asif Ali Zardari
Asif Ali Zardari was born 26 July 1955, he is the 11th and current President of Pakistan and the Co-Chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
He is also the widower of Benazir Bhutto, who served two nonconsecutive terms as Prime Minister. A Balochi from a tribe based in Sindh, Zardari rose to prominence after his marriage to Bhutto in 1987.
Zardari became widely known as "Mr. 10 Percent" during the premierships of Bhutto because of his alleged role in obtaining kickbacks as an intermediary in government deals. His political career has been mired in corruption allegations, for which he was imprisoned from 1990 to 1993 and from 1996 to 2004. Between 1993 and 1996, he held various cabinet positions in the second Bhutto administration.
During this period, his extensive entanglement in the Bhutto family feud over the future leadership of the PPP led to him being suspected of, and later indicted for, orchestrating the sudden death of Murtaza Bhutto. He was arrested for corruption in late 1996, following the collapse of the Bhutto government.
Although incarcerated, he nominally served in Parliament after being elected to the National Assembly in 1990 and Senate in 1997. He was released from jail in 2004 amid rumors of reconciliation between Pervez Musharraf and the PPP. He subsequently went into self-exile in Dubai, but returned in December 2007 after Bhutto's assassination. As the Co-Chairman of the PPP, he led his party to victory in the 2008 general elections.
He spearheaded a coalition that forced Musharraf to resign and was elected President on 6 September 2008.
Twice the prime minister of Pakistan (1990-1993 and 1997-1999), Nawaz Sharif was booted out of office by Pervez Musharraf in 1999 and barred from entering politics through elaborate machinations.
More recently, Asif Ali Zardari replicated Musharraf's tactics, using the Supreme Court to disqualify Sharif (or his brother, who was chief minister in the powerful province of Punjab) from holding office.
Sharif's government was corrupt, autocratic, incompetent, and dangerously accommodating of Islamist influence. Nevertheless, by embracing, in 2009, the cause of Pakistanis demanding an independent judiciary, Sharif astutely allied himself with the political movement with the greatest momentum in the country.
The original dictator (at least in the last 10 years) Musharraf, a military strongman with a lethal ego, took power to some acclaim from Pakistan's professional class in 1999, when he booted out Nawaz Sharif, promised economic reforms and distance from Islamists. What he offered up instead was mostly the Cult of Musharraf.
His second coup in 2007 led to widespread disaffection with his heavy-handed regime. Popular demonstrations led by lawyers and Benazir Bhutto before her assassination drove him from power in 2008. But, as all things military do in Pakistan, he looms in the background.
General Ashtaq Pervaiz Kiyani
General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, NI(M) , born April 1952 is a four-star general in the Pakistan Army, and the current Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army.
He replaced General Pervez Musharraf as the Chief of Army Staff and the commandant of the army on November 29, 2007. General Kayani is the former Director General of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and Director General of Military Operations (MO).
On 24 July 2010, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani extended General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s term as Chief of the Army Staff by three years, making him the first Pakistani four-star general to receive a term extension from any democratic government.
In 2008, Newsweek named him the 20th most powerful person in the world.
Twice a prime minister of Pakistan and verging on winning a third term, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on Dec. 27, 2007, either by Islamist militants or by followers of Pervez Musharraf.
Benazir Bhutto carried the hopes of secular, socialist Pakistan under the banner of the Pakistan Peoples Party that her father founded. Yet her political tenures, too, were riven with corruption and misjudgments, not least her shepherding the Taliban to power in the 1990s. Her aura still exerts a powerful pull on Pakistanis' imagination.
Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
The 20th chief justice of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf appointed him to the position in 2005 only to arbitrarily and illegally suspend him in 2007.
The Pakistani Supreme Court reinstated him, however. As Chaudhry was preparing a court decision ruling on the legitimacy of Musharraf's 2007 re-election, Musharraf suspended the constitution and arrested Chaudhry and other members of the court.
Chaudhry wouldn't be released from house arrest until March 2008. He vows to be reinstated chief justice. meanwhile, he is the symbolic leader of Pakistan's movement for an independent judiciary, which is fueling momentum behind the effort to push Asif Ali Zardari out of power--just as Pervez Musharraf was pushed out of power in 2008.