Najeeb Haroon: A not-so-high-profile PTI founder

Published: April 3, 2012
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Najeeb Haroon has proven that he genuinely cares for the well-being of Pakistan and its citizens. PHOTO: facebook.com/mnharoon

Who is the first person that comes to mind when you talk about the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf? My guess is Imran Khan. Believe it or not, a number of others were a part of the movement that started the party back in 1996.

Let’s focus on another core founding father’ of the PTI, shall we?

In June 1996, the first Central Executive Committee of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was formed and included the following eight founding fathers: Muhammad Najeeb HaroonNazim HajiHamid KhanDr Parvez HassanAbdul Hafeez KhanOwais GhaniDr Abdul Mateen, and Dr Mohammad Farooq.

As of today, only Najeeb Haroon and Hamid Khan remain members of the party which speaks volumes for their commitment to the party and what it stands for.

Haroon has maintained a relatively low-profile considering his continuous devotion and interest in political activism while speaking out against injustice in Pakistan. Often, we get disillusioned with politics and politicians, especially in places like Pakistan where corruption is rampant and politicians seem to forget the fact that they need to have the interest and needs of the citizens in mind.

Yet, we should not completely generalise this, as every now and then there emerge politicians who do genuinely care about the welfare of the constituents and want to strive to make their country a more just, egalitarian and prosperous place. Najeeb Haroon seems to be among those  who truly have the best interest of his country and people at heart.

How so?

Believe it or not, Haroon comes from a very modest background. He did not grow up having it easy, nor did he have things handed to him on a silver platter. Money was always tight, and nothing was in abundance. However, this did not stop him from striving to make the situation better for himself and his family. The culmination of his struggle, hard work and dedication has made him who he is today. Being the eldest son, he supported his family by working from a young age while pursuing his education simultaneously and encouraging his siblings to follow their passions. For example, Haroon had a full-time job at Pakistan International Airlines as a sales assistant while simultaneously being a full-time student at NED pursing a BS degree in Civil Engineering.

Does this sound like your average Pakistani politician?

I think not.

I must say that Haroon is an admirable individual. Even though he pursued his graduate degree in the US and had the opportunity to stay there, he made it a point to return immediately and devote himself to the development of his country by establishing Principal Builders, a construction contracting company. The humble beginnings of Principal Builders has now flourished 25 years later and is going strong. His three sons, who have all also completed their graduate degrees abroad, have come back to work closely with their father and follow in his footsteps by investing their energy in their country. They also appreciate where their father came from, where he is now and how hard he has worked to provide them with the life they lead.

Another admirable trait about Mr Haroon is that he gives back a great deal to others and his community, doing so modestly without the expectation of any recognition or something in return. Thus, he is sincere and humble in his doings for others, which is definitely not the case for everyone!

So why did Najeeb Haroon decide to align himself so closely with the PTI?

A number of factors motivated him to become one of the founding fathers. At that time, power was mostly shifting between PPP and PML-N. PTI’s vision to be an institution rather than a ‘dynasty’ (whereby power is passed down within a family) was clear from the beginning and was one of the contributing factors that attracted him to the party.

Additionally, he felt that becoming a part of the PTI made sense, as the party was fighting for justice, which he believes is a right the Pakistani population has been yearning for and he strives to provide that to all, regardless of their socio-economic, ethnic or religious background. Also, he was pleased with Imran Khan’s efforts to open the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre.

Interestingly enough, being a part of the PTI gave him the opportunity to keep his profession a priority whilst actively participating in politics at the same time. He became what you would call a ‘part-time’ politician since he maintained his professional career and did not make politics his primary profession. Thus, he is a role model for how a working, educated, and informed professional can take matters into his/her own hands, to turn the situation in the country around instead of leaving it up to the ‘professional’, uneducated, and ignorant politicians.

I firmly believe that it is important to understand the platform and background of those representing us and not just blindly follow them because they belong to the same ethnicity or religious background as we do. Najeeb Haroon’s work proves his efforts for the well-being of Pakistan and its citizens. His actions speak of his commitment to Pakistan considering he has sustained a successful construction firm within the country, his family remains fully invested here and wait for this one – he pays his taxes!

He has not put himself above others because of who he has become, and can generally relate to and identify with people from all walks of life.

For more information, you can follow him on Facebook.

To provide more clarity and background to his life, I have provided a timeline highlighting his credentials, academic, professional and political achievements.

Timeline of Professional & Political Career:

1973- Elected as Student Union Joint Secretary at DJ Science College

1973-1976: Full-time position at Pakistan International Airlines as Sales Assistant (simultaneously pursing BS at N.E.D)

1976-1977: Full-time position at Saudi Arabian Airlines as Sales Assistant

1977: Held position of Student Union President at NED. University of Engineering & Technology

1979: Graduated from NED Univ. of Engineering & Tech. with BS in Civil Engineering

1979-1981: Worked with Conforce and Maymar, renowned construction companies during this time

1982-1985: Held position at Gammon Pakistan Ltd. as Site Engineer in Taif, Saudi Arabia

1985-1987: Pursed and obtained MS in Construction Management at Oregon State University

1987: Returned to Pakistan and founded Principal Builders construction company

1996: Founding Member- Central Executive Committee of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)

1996-2000: President of Karachi Division (PTI)

2000-2001: Vice President of PTI Sindh

2001-2003: General Secretary of PTI Sindh

2011: Candidate for Chairman of Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC)

2007-present: Spokesperson for Housing and Works & Central Vice President, PTI

The author interviewed Mr Najeeb Haroon and had an informal discussion with him.

Read more by Yasmine here.

yasmine.ibrahim

Yasmine Ibrahim

A Lebanese American living in Pakistan who is a masters graduate from Purdue University.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Parvez

    Appears to be a good man. If and when PTI comes into a position of power (totally different ball game) it is then to be seen how the Najeeb Haroons function. As of now they are in a position where a lot of people look towards them hopefully simply because the rest of the field stand discredited.Recommend

  • Ali

    Inspiring leader. I campaigned among my friends for him during PEC elections, which was not fruitful unfortunately, as we all know how these things go down in government organizations. But I am satisfied that I did my part. InshaAllah we will see him sitting in our NA soon (provided that people of Pakistan don’t opt to vote for the same old thugs)Recommend

  • Minerva

    Quite a well-written piece. We need more leaders of the soil from the soil!Recommend

  • Ahmed mateen

    Let me tell you one more fact.
    Syed javaid haider Gardezi who is now the dputy general secreatry punjab was also amongst those people who were present in the meeting in which Ik decided to make a political party.
    He is with Ik for almost 26 years.
    But since he is commited to a cause he does’nt beleive in self projectionRecommend

  • liberalpak

    It is advertisement campaign or what for PTI? There are many success stories in Pakistan. Frankly speaking, what is special in it except for running a construction company? Who cares?Recommend

  • Modazul

    @liberalPak
    Well people like you wouldn’t care for any type of achievement unless it’s fighting for LGBT rights or fighting for a Godless secular Pakistan.
    If you can’t speak good about somebody’s achievements then please don’t speak at all? Recommend

  • GH

    @liberalpak: If you think this is an advertisement than the most advertised person in Newspapers is Mr AZ and Mr Gillani.Recommend

  • liberalpak

    @Modazul:
    There are thousands of people running construction companies in Pakistan successfully. I mean, what is special in this story. Every one works hard to run his/her business. I dont see any point of great success in it except for projection of one PTI person.
    About liberal tendencies, yes, we have doubts in PTI’s approach, they are soft on extremist and terrorist forces. They are pro Taliban and MQM. They should make clear which side they are?Recommend

  • MZZ

    Want to add a bit of information, that he was affiliated with ISLAMI JAMIAT TALABA while he was studying and was elected head of student union at NED from Jamiat’s platform.Recommend

  • sick of this nonsense

    @Ali:
    My family coming from a long line supporters of PPP also campaigned for him in PEC elections because he is a leader with a vision. Nation needs gentlemen like him.
    @liberalpak:
    Myself being a staunch anti “terrorist” & “extremist” can safely vouch for this gentleman. A thorough professional.
    @Modazul:
    He has every right to fight for what he believes in. You don’t have any right to tell him if he is right or wrong. Recommend

  • Raf3

    very well written and glad to know we have people like him in politics!Recommend

  • Karachiite

    He was part of the Islami Jamiat Talba (the student wing of the islamist Jamaat e Islami) who got him elected as the student union representative.
    Please do not use selective avoidance in your reporting!Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    @liberalpak:
    My friend. On one hand, its true that many people run construction companies so what is a big deal about it? From other perspective, this is precisely the BIGGEST deal about it. You know why? Because then people like us know that the people representing us have risen from the middle class like us and can relate to problems and pains of the people rather than sitting in a castle disconnected from the nation. Secondly, it can be argued that people rising from middle class tend to be much better at governance and solution formulation because of their familiarity with the ground realities. If you have worked the system ground up, you will know the shortcomings as well as potential improvements in the system.Recommend

  • http://NewYork Falcon

    Yasmine – Great work. I am a close follower of PTI and even I didn’t know the details of Najeeb Haroon. Thanks for writing a detailed piece. This is certainly informative and ascertains that PTI certainly stands out from the rest.Recommend

  • http://www.struggle.com.pk/ Imran Kamyana

    Express Tribune running prime time for PTI?Recommend

  • http://www.nedjamiat.org Abdul Raheem

    Really sorry part was that it was not mention here that he was the student leader of Islami Jamiat Talaba. He was the product of IJT like Javed Hashmi. Why is media so much against Jamiat and JI. Recommend

  • Zoaib

    Nice work. More of such people should come forward in Pakistani politics. I’m sure there are many such new faces in PTI which need exposure…Recommend

  • Reshma

    Didn’t this gentleman break the PEC election rules by advertising his campaign in the papers even though it wasn’t allowed?Recommend

  • Pak 1

    @liberalpak:
    Hahahaha “there are many success stories in pakistan” which country are you living in. At least he has a construction company, what do you have a condescending attitude.Recommend

  • ….

    I agree with Falcon. We need more people in politics who have had experience in managing a business, doing research whatever. These are the skills which are needed in leaders in order to guide a nation.Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    Najeeb belonged to the right wing Islami Jamiat I Tuleba. he is a right winger who supported violence against liberals that was carried out by the Thunder Squad of the day. he may claim to be a pious and righteous man today but we should not forget his legacy.Recommend

  • zafarullah khan

    I really appreciate this good work on Mr.Najib Haroon.However would certainly like to add for the information of all concerned that Dr.Abdul Matin Khan who has rightly been mentioned above as one of the founding member and close ally of IK ,still enjoys greatest public esteem among all the circles as member of the PTI, Provincial Organizing committee and Adviser to the Chairman PTI on strategic issues.He has served the PTI’s cause with wonderful dedication and unmatched intellectual prowess through out all the ups and downs of the party.Recommend

  • jamal

    @Ali:
    he looks like a good person, inshallah pti will come in power. all othrs are munafiq and can go to hell as far as i am concerned, Sick of nawaz his arrogant family and not to foget mr.100 percent,

    imran we are with you in thick and thin ,thanks for giving us hope.Recommend

  • tayeb

    But where is Haroon Now????Now Qurashi,Lagaries,Tamans,Treens,Qusurees,Hashmees,Bashi khans,Faiz tamens,Azam swati.are the chiefs.Agency khan has destroyed the party in months and not in years.
    I would like to join PMLN which is the best political team in the pakistani politics now a days in pakistan even i have some reservations as well but to be honest they are better.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @liberalpak:
    A typical response which speaks volumes about the actual focus of the so-called “liberals” of Pakistan, who don’t care about what happens to the country, what happens to the vast majority of the citizens, as long as the ideology is stated to be something that pleases them (such as the PPP). It doesn’t matter if any work is done, as long as the government is somewhat anti-Army, doesn’t have Islamist tendencies and lets these “intellectuals” and “liberals” keep on talking about their arcane topics which have nothing to do with Pakistan.Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    @liberalpak:
    A typical response which speaks volumes about the actual focus of the so-called “liberals” of Pakistan, who don’t care about what happens to the country, what happens to the vast majority of the citizens, as long as the ideology is stated to be something that pleases them (such as the PPP). It doesn’t matter if any work is done, as long as the government is somewhat anti-Army, doesn’t have Islamist tendencies and lets these “intellectuals” and “liberals” keep on talking about their arcane topics which have nothing to do with the reality of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Z

    A very informative piece indeed. We need more articles like this to inform us about our political leaders’ background so that we can make a better decision when electing them. Moreover, @liberalpak it is not about find the “big deal” in everything, the fact that Mr. Haroon worked hard to achieve so much shows his positive commitment and hard work, which is are two very important qualities that any leader should have to understand his or her people better.Recommend

  • MQM Pak

    PTI is sheet, only the bring the change is the Atlaf bai the is theRecommend

  • SMS

    @MQM Pak:
    Huh? English please!Recommend

  • Mohammad Assad

    So is he also an establishment ka agent? Recommend

  • MAD

    @Ahmed mateen: there were many others. Umar Cheema, Arif ALvi etc etc. I think He is one of the two original remaining members of the party’s first CEC.Recommend

  • Owais

    @tayeb:
    oh bhai pml n ko support karne walo kyun pakistan k peche parhe ho ???? pakistan ne tumhara kia bigara hai ???????????????????????? Recommend

  • Aslam Khan PTI VA

    Eng. Najeeb Haroon is admirable a great self made man
    Man of his principle real patriot citizen of Pakistan
    We can proud peoples like him whose stand firm with his Hero a dream and vision about democratic Country these great small caravan of few peoples has long journey to gather their team it’d took long sixteen years with lots of ups and down but never compromise against the strong principles with those opportunists and corrupt groups and never been parts of those rulersjip always prefered to set in opposition rather then in power and never accept any offer from the rulers .
    Najeeb Haroon is one of the founding father of the PTI a dedicated member an truely companion of his Captan Imran khan indeed every citizen
    Can proud on Najeeb Haroon ,Advocate Hamid Khan also PTI chairman
    Proud of Pakistan Imran Khan .Recommend

  • tayeb

    But as per agreement MQM and PTI will be together then what happened??Imran said thank to MQM over karachi gathering and did not soke one word against Iltaf…even earlier Imran went to UK with hundreds of files against Iltaf but now he is silent.You know Imran is the man of contradiction and match fixer.Don;t worry he will support MQM at any [email protected] Pak: Recommend

  • tayeb

    Motor ways,Airports,Atom bomb,Ghawadar port,Defence Road,Basic infrastructure,GF17 thunder,Oil and Gas Plants,First firber optic net work,PIA was on top.Railway was on top,There was no sucide attacks,there was no movement in Balochistan,Pakistan was progressing to become Asian Tiger,India took the plan from PMLN and implemented and where they are now?? PMLN is the best team in Pakistani [email protected]: Recommend

  • ahmad

    @tayeb:

    PML-N also has its set of sharifs, chaudries, etc etc in its profile. Imran Khan and PTI are showing their political maturity as per the jahil awam of Pakistan, which only votes for big names…Tv hosts used to make fun of IK on his face saying taht he doesnt have big fish in his profile and pakistan cannot start a revolution via elections, now media is sayin ppl r joining his party, well this is politics and unfortunately Imran khan is getting smarter or he will end up like asghar khan, took 20 years to hear his case on political lobbying…Recommend

  • mrk

    @liberalpak: He is running a successful construction firm, providing jobs to Pakistanis, paying taxes, settled in the country having the opportunity to settle abroad, contributing to the community and wants to change the corrupt system in Pakistan.

    It’s far better than piling foreign degrees that many from our elite class like to pile up for the sake of getting a degree and then either live off their parent’s wealth or settle in an NGO in Isb’s confortable setting.Recommend

  • akhroot

    MZZ, Hussain Haqani was also in IJT in college and was president of it’s student union. Recommend

  • Aamir Ali Ansari

    I know him very well. Very decent and very energetic person. Not a kind of politician you watch on TV, but if given fair chance he can become a role model. I think he should be given a chance to serve in organizing construction sector and derive policy to build world class structures in Pakistan like Dubai.Recommend

  • Ali

    Good article, worth reading.Recommend

  • akka

    Wish he was in PPP!Recommend