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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 June, 2004, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
Profile: Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
By Adnan Adil
BBC correspondent in Lahore

 Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain
Mr Hussain will soon step aside as premier for Shaukat Aziz
Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Pakistan's new interim prime minister, has a political career stretching 25 years and belongs to a family that has always supported military rulers.

Politically inarticulate and suffering from poor health, Mr Hussain, 58, has nevertheless shown himself to be a master of "realpolitik".

His family had no political background until father Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi, a lower middle class man, became a local councillor in the early 1950s.

The family is now an industrial powerhouse, involved in sugar, textiles, flour mills and agriculture.

Elahi connected his family to the elite of the country through a web of marriages.

The family was always prepared to join hands with military rulers, serving Gen Ayyub Khan (1958-68), Gen Zia ul-Haq (1977-88) and now Gen Pervez Musharraf (since Oct 1999).

Election victories

Mr Hussain himself entered politics in 1982 after his father was murdered - allegedly by political opponents.

Gen Zia chose him as a member of his hand-picked consultative body, the Majlis-i-Shoora, and later made him a federal minister.

Former Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali
Zafarullah Khan Jamali was eased out as PM and quit on 26 June

He has won four elections to parliament since 1985, chiefly on the strength of his Jat clan.

Mr Hussain also served as a federal minister under prime ministers Mohammed Khan Junejo and Nawaz Sharif.

He has always retained links with the military. When Mr Sharif was ousted by Gen Musharraf, Mr Hussain quickly distanced himself from the premier.

After Mr Sharif was sent into exile in December 2000, Mr Hussain worked to split the Pakistan Muslim League, forming a faction supportive of now President Musharraf.

This party, of which Mr Hussain is president, is now ruling the country.

Mr Hussain, a down-to-earth politician and a poor orator, has longstanding connections with Gen Musharraf - both studied at Lahore's Forman Christian College.

Mr Hussain had helped his old friend Zafarullah Khan Jamali, a politician from Balochistan, to become prime minister in November 2002, but along with President Musharraf became dissatisfied with his performance.

Mr Jamali was eased out and resigned on 26 June.

Mr Hussain will be the 20th prime minister of Pakistan and the 11th in the past 20 years - but only for a couple of months.

He has already nominated finance minister Shaukat Aziz to take over once he is elected to the National Assembly.

In Pakistan's 57 years of independence, no prime minister and president have worked together smoothly and have always parted on a bitter note.

The fate of this trusted and obedient friend of President Musharraf remains to be seen.

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