Did you really know who Naeem-ul-Haq was?
Naeem-ul-Haq with Imran Khan in the early days of their political struggle.–File photo
A banker and businessman by profession, Naeem got degrees in law and English literature. He was one of the 10 founding members of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and played a key role in promoting the party’s positive image and ideology.
Naeem was born in Karachi on July 11, 1949 and did his MA in English Literature from the University of Karachi (1970) and then pursued LLB degree at the Sindh Muslim Law College in Karachi (1971). Before joining Jamil Nishtar’s team at the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Naeem practiced law with Khalid Ishaq. As a banker, he was part of the team that set up the NBP branch at the UN Plaza in New York City. Later, he moved to London in 1980 as a merchant banker for the Oriental Credit Limited.
Naeem had 35 years of experience in banking, finance, corporate sector and law in Pakistan, London and New York. He had expertise in investment banking, capital markets and corporate environment in Pakistan, UK and the USA. Also, he had a good knowledge of the local industry’s issues and environment and strong contacts at the highest level with the corporate sector, the government and financial institutions. He served as adviser/managing director to Aero Asia airline, chairman and CEO of the Metropolitan Steel Corp and managing director of the Credit and Leasing Corporation.
During his stay in London in early 1980s, he became friends with Imran Khan, who used to play county cricket at that time. Imran would frequently visit Naeem and his wife Nazli Jamil, also known as Nazo. Naeem and Imran became close friends when the latter developed a debilitating stress fracture in 1983. Naeem gave his exercise bike for Imran’s recuperation at that time.
Driven by the desire to serve Pakistan, Naeem believed that a positive change could be brought about in the country only through a democratic and political system. In 1984, Naeem joined Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s Tehreek Istiqlal in London and moved to Karachi a couple of years later to set up his leasing business and pursue his political career.
At the end of the Zia-ul-Haq regime, Naeem took part in the 1988 elections on the Tehreek Istiqlal ticket in Orangi Town in Karachi. Although he lost the election, he continued to take interest in politics and kept himself abreast of economic matters of the country.
When Imran formed the PTI in 1996, Naeem became one of the 10 founding members of the party. As a trusted friend, he helped Imran manage the party and overcome the setbacks of electoral defeat in 1997 and 2001. After his wife’s death in 2008 from a bout of cancer, Naeem devoted his life to the PTI and became the central information secretary and president of the PTI Sindh. He was given the credit for organising the December 25, 2011 mass meeting in Karachi that helped the PTI establish its popularity as a national party.
Naeem moved to Islamabad as chief of staff to the PTI chairman in 2012 and a key member of the PTI core committee handling elections of both 2013 and 2018. He worked hard side by side Imran in organising the party at the grassroots. He served as information secretary of the party during this period.
Naeem was diagnosed with blood cancer in January 2018, eight months before the general elections. Like a true stalwart, he worked long hours prior to the elections while undergoing treatment. As a member of the PTI’s core committee, he was accessible, approachable and popular among the workers. After PTI’s victory in the 2018 elections, Naeem was appointed special assistant to the prime minister on political affairs and was involved in a number of initiatives ranging from housing scheme, party operations, strategic development goals and appointments. He also wrote articles in newspapers on economic and political issues and spoke frequently on TV programmes on party’s behalf.