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Muhammad Khan Junejo (1920-1993)
Muhammad Khan Junejo was born at Sindhri in Tharparkar of Sindh province. He belonged to the Junejo clan which is one of the most respected families in Sindh. Muhammad Khan Junejo stepped into politics at the very early age of his life. Before the separation of Pakistan when the country comprised two wings of East and West Pakistan, Junejo was elected as a member of the provincial assembly of West Pakistan. Fortunately, he was propelled to the position of ministership in the cabinet of West Pakistan in July 1963. He held different portfolios in the government which included portfolios of Health, Basic Democracies and Local Government, Works, Communications, and Railways.
Muhammad Khan Junejo propelled to the position of prominence during Zia’s era. In the wake of partyless elections in 1985, he was elected as prime minister of Pakistan. Muhammad khan Junejo was believed to the man of principles as he opposed Zia’s autocratic orders on many issues including the country’s involvement in soviet-occupied Afghanistan and more importantly on Geneva Accords. Zia was, in fact, not in favor of signing the Geneva Accords until the complete withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Afghanistan. However, Junejo signed that agreement despite the disapproval of the dictator.
Junejo’s action was highly provocative for Zia and he started to look for the proper time and opportunity to crush the power of Junejo and his government. He was able to materialize his plans in this regard after blasts and disaster at Ojri camp in Rawalpindi. The camp contained the arms and ammunitions which were supplied by the US to be used against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Despite Zia’s disapproval for any inquiry in this connection, Junejo ordered an inquiry into the matter. Camps were, in fact, under the clandestine use of the Army. Zia reacted to this and in the wake, Junejo was dismissed by Zia using his discretionary powers which had been granted to him under the 8th amendment. This was complemented by the orders for the dissolution of all the assemblies and there became a complete takeover of government by the Army dictator.
Muhammad Khan Junejo used to drive a Suzuki car as a prime minister. He made it obligatory on his cabinet as well as on the military officials to use locally manufactured Suzuki cars instead of expensive imported cars. This caused a considerable decrease in the budget expenses and won him the favor and admiration of the people. This also was the manifestation of his sincerity regarding the administration of the country.
Though Junejo was able to win the seat of the national assembly in the elections of 1990 he got seriously ill and died in 1993. Junejo was buried in his ancestral village near Sindhri in Sindh.