Zaheer-ud-din Babar Awan, who was born in a village near Kahuta is the former Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. He is also a senator, a practicing lawyer and a former Vice
Zaheer-ud-din Babar Awan, who was born in a village near Kahuta is the former Federal Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. He is also a senator, a practicing lawyer and a former Vice President and member Central Executive Committee of the Pakistan People’s Party. Babar Awan won the Senate election in 2006 unopposed and was re-elected to the Senate again in March 2012, but was removed from all senior party post in May 2012.
Babar Awan was a student leader in his student life. He first joined the PML-Junejo of former Prime Minister Muhammad Khan Junejo. In 1996, he joined the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and contested for the General Elections in 1997 from Murree, but remained unsuccessful. He ran again in the 2002 elections, this time from Islamabad, but was defeated again.
In 2004, Benazir Bhutto appointed Awan as the finance secretary of the Pakistan People's Party. Awan contested for the Senate election in 2006 and was elected unopposed. Awan was present during the 19 October attack on Benazir Bhutto in Karachi. He was also present when Benazir Bhutto was killed in Rawalpindi.
Babar Awan was appointed the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs in November 2008. He was elevated as the Federal Law Minister in December 2009. He resigned along with the rest of the federal cabinet in early 2011, but was brought back less than 48 hours later. He was also given the Ministry of Information Technology. In 2011, he resigned as minister to plead in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto murder case.
The PPP has used Awan for dialogue with other political parties. He is highly supported in his Awan tribe. His political base lies in his hometown. Awan's elder brother was also a worker of the Pakistan People's Party. Another of his brother works for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in Punjab. In 2011, Awan held negotiations on behalf of the Pakistan People’s Party with the Pakistan Muslim League. This led to an alliance between the PPP and the PML, which further strengthened the PPP government and gave them a majority in Parliament.
In November 2009, National Accountability Bureau of Pakistan summoned Awan after he was accused for getting bribes worth of 30 million Rupees from the owners of the Haris Steel Mill in order to get a favourable verdict from the court. Awan was reported to have said that he had certainly not taken 30 million rupees and that the money he had taken was his professional fee. He further said that anyone was welcome to pursue any complaint in any professional body.
In 2011, Sheikh Afzal, the owner of Haris Steel Mill, stated that he has been pressurized by the Punjab Government to issue a statement against Awan. The charges were later dropped against Awan, due to Sheikh Afzal's statement.
On January 5, 2012, Awan was issued a contempt of court notice by Supreme Court of Pakistan, due to a comment he made while talking to the media on 4 January. His license to practice law was subsequently suspended on 17 January for an indefinite period. The Supreme Court further asked the Federal Government to appoint someone else as their lawyer in the Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto case. Ali Ahmad Kurd disagreed with the Supreme Court's decision to suspend Awan's license.
The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari in a briefing to his close confidants disclosed that he had given a personal guarantee that Babar Awan will appear before the court as a witness in Prime Minister's contempt case. This was later confirmed by Prime Ministers council Aitezaz Ahsan in an interview given to Arshad Sharif for his programme KYUN. Aitezaz said Babar's name was given to him by the President and PM both but Babar Awan refused to show up which irked the President.