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Interview with Mushahid Hussain Sayed

The PakistanCIA The World Factbook
Interview with
Mushahid Hussain Sayed,
Yuli Ismartono [time 22:51]

12th February, 2007

Yuli Ismartono: Senator Hussain, thank you for being with us today. Let me ask you first about your interesting background. How did you get to jump from journalism to politics?

Mushahid Hussain: Well, before I became a journalist I was an academic, teaching at a university. Each time it seems that I would be thrown out, that something goes wrong, I switch professions. And I switch jobs. I was a teacher and I got thrown out. I had nothing to else to do so I started writing and I became a journalist. After being a journalist, I worked for a newspaper as a syndicated columnist, but I became bored about the whole thing, so I thought that it may be time to influence policy directives. So I jumped into the fray, joined politics, which is of course something very interesting and challenging, sometimes more than journalism.

YI: So you joined a political party?

Mushahid Hussain: Yes, I did. And the political party I joined was then the opposition. In Third World countries like Pakistan, you never know when a party in the opposition will ever come back to power or not. But I thought it was worth a try. After all, it's only one life. You got to take risks and challenges.

YI: So you get elected to parliament?

Mushahid Hussain: Yes, I got elected to parliament in 1997. First of all I carried out media campaign on the opposition, then after the elections the party came to power and I got elected to parliament.

YI: And you were re-elected in 2002

Mushahid Hussain: Yes, I was.

YI: You were also a government spokesman.

Mushahid Hussain: Yes, I was the spokesman from 1997to 1999 for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It was a very crucial period because we were going nuclear then and we were celebrating 60 years of Pakistani independence. So it was a peak year. We were also having problems with India. It was a very interesting period.

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Personal Plofile
Mushahid Hussain Sayed Mushahid Hussain Sayed,
Mushahid Hussain Sayed is one of the leading figures in Pakistan, and well-known in the larger Muslim world. He has been an academic, a journalist, presidential spokesman and now, a politician.
As a political activist, he was jailed in 1999 for 410 days without any charges, leading Amnesty International to declare him a prisoner of conscience.
He joined the ruling Pakistan Muslim League that same year, and got elected and re-elected in 2002. Today he is the party secretary-general and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Mushahid Hussain holds a Master's degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in the United States. He continues to write columns, which are syndicated in Pakistan, other parts of Asia and the Middle East.
Yuli Ismartono Yuli Ismartono, [Interviewer]
Yuli Ismartono is an executive editor at Tempo, Indonesia's foremost weekly news magazine. Ms. Ismartono, who holds degrees in political science and journalism, has been with Tempo for 15 years, mostly assigned to covering events around the Asia region and interviewing national leaders - such as former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto, former South Korean president Kim Dae Jung,Cambodia's King Sihanouk and prime minister Hun Sen, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and other newsmakers. She is currently in charge of Tempo's English language edition and managing editor of AsiaViews, an online and hardcopy magazine featuring news and commentaries from the Asia region, of which Tempo is a member and coordinator of the media group that publishes it.
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