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08ISLAMABAD788 2008-02-22 14:20:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Islamabad
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1. (C) Summary: This is one of several profiles on potential
Pakistani candidates for Prime Minister. Pakistan Peoples
Party (PPP) leader Asif Zardari recently expressed
willingness to name Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)
member Javed Hashmi as Prime Minister (REF B). Hashmi is best
known for being jailed on charges of treason in 2004 after
advocating a coup against Musharraf. Hashmi, who was acting
party President during Sharif's exile, has consistently had
the strong backing of the Sharifs. End summary.

Potential Consensus Candidate?


2. (C) Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif selected Hashmi as
the party's acting president in 2000, after Sharif was exiled
to Saudi Arabia. In 2002 Sharif appointed him leader of the
PML-N in the National Assembly. In 2003, after Nawabzada
Nasrullah Khan's death, he was chosen as the leader of the
Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy (ARD), where he
interfaced with his party and the PPP.

3. (C) Hashmi is an effective and dynamic campaigner who is
also a fiery speaker. He recently was elected to his sixth
term in the National Assembly. In the February 18, 2008
elections he was the only candidate who was elected from
three separate constituencies. In Rawalpindi he defeated PML
heavyweight Sheikh Rashid Ahmad by a large margin.

4. (C) Hashmi in 2004 attempted to embarrass the Musharraf
government by holding a press conference in which he read a
letter ostensibly from junior army officers advocating a coup
against Musharraf. Hashmi was arrested on charges of treason
and forgery and tried in secret. He was sentenced to 23 years
despite protests from human rights groups and the
international community. The ARD ran Hashmi, although he
remained in jail, as its candidate for Prime Minister against
Shaukat Aziz in 2004, but the Speaker refused to allow Hashmi
to campaign before the National Assembly. The Supreme Court
of Pakistan under Iftikhar Chaudhry granted Hashmi bail after
serving 3.5 years in prison and he was released on August 4,
2007. He was re-detained for several weeks in November 2007
during Musharraf's emergency rule (REF A). While imprisoned
Hashmi stayed in contact with opposition leaders, talking
twice to Benazir Bhutto, and to Jamaat-e-Islami's Qazi
Hussain and Tehreek-e-Insaf's Imran Khan. (REF A).

Personal and Career History


5. (C) A soft-spoken intellectual, Hashmi was born on January
1, 1948 in Makhdoom Rashid, Multan, Punjab. He completed his
M.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Philosophy from the
University of the Punjab, where he was a prominent student
leader. He was elected president of the student's Union of
Punjab University and belonged to the Jamaat-i-Islami's
student wing. He was Minister of State for Youth and
Student's Affairs, Minister of State for Culture, Sports and
Tourism (1978-1979). Under former President General Zia he
was Minster of Culture and Tourism. Hashmi was elected to
the National Assembly in 1985 and was appointed Federal
Minster for Health (1997) during Sharif's second
administration. Hashmi is a significant landowner in southern
Punjab and is married with six daughters, at least one who is
involved in politics (REF A). Hashmi has traveled to the
Middle East, the United States, and Europe. His hobbies
include reading, walking, and following current affairs. He
speaks excellent English.