Yousaf Raza Gillani's political career started in the military government of President General Zia-ul-Haq in 1978, after he joined as a member of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), alongside industrialist Nawaz Sharif. He soon left the PML, because of political differences with the PML's leadership. He was chosen by General Zia-ul-Haq as a nominee for public servant work in Multan. In 1983, Gillani became chairman of the Multan union council.
He first ran in non-partisan and technocratic 1985 general elections and was elected as the Member of the National Assembly (MNA) of Parliament from Lodhran, but was later affiliated with the Pakistan Peoples Party after developing serious political differences with the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), led by conservative leader Fida Khan. The constituency seat is currently held by Saddique Baloch. Gillani fell out with Prime minister Mohammad Junejo and was sidlined from the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) by the senior leadership. Later, he was ousted by Prime minister Junejo and was replaced by other members. According to Gillani's personal account, he went to Karachi to meet with Benazir Bhutto during the 1980s and presented his political experience, wanting to join the Peoples Party. After securing a party ticket and successfully running in the 1988 general elections, Gillani joined the first government of Prime minister Benazir Bhutto and became minister of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) in March 1989 until January 1990. Later he became minister of Ministry of Housing and Work Force.
Gillani boycotted the 1990 general elections, but returned to politics in 1993. He successfully ran in the 1993 general elections and took the oath of the office of Minister for Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. However, he resigned from his ministry after being nominated by Benazir Bhutto for office of the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan in 1993. He was the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan until 1997 when the new general election in 1997 was held in the country. He was succeeded by Ilahi Bux of the Pakistan Muslim League-N on 2 February 1997.
Yousaf Raza Gillani of the Iranian descent and hails from the southern Punjab Province. He is an ethnic Seraiki. His home town is the ancient Punjabi city of Multan, one of the oldest unbroken human settlements in the world.
Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani was Born on 9 June 1952 in Karachi, Sindh, West-Pakistan. Gillani moved to Multan, Punjab, attending the Forman Christian College University. He attended Government College University and obtained his B.A. in Journalism in 1970, and followed by a M.A. in Political journalism from the University of the Punjab in 1976. In an interview given to Vasatolah Khan of BBC Urdu, Gilani maintained that "if he had not pursue his career in the national politics, he would have been an architect or a professional civil engineer."
Gillani is married to Fauzia Gillani, together they have four sons and one daughter, and one grandson. His eldest son, Abdul Qadir Gillani, started his own political career from Multan, and in 2008 he married the granddaughter of Pir Pagara Shah Mardan Shah II, an influential political and religious leader of Sindh. Abdul Qadir is alleged to have been involved in a corruption case over arrangements for pilgrims to Mecca and in a scandal at a state-owned insurance company. Gillani's three other sons Ali Qasim Gillani, Ali Musa Gillani and Ali Haider Gillani are triplets. Qasim Gillani is currently doing his undergraduate studies at Brunel University of London. Musa Gillani completed his Masters at Queen Mary University of London in 2009 and was an MNA in his father's cabinet. Ali Haider Gillani is studying at School of Economics in Lahore. Ali Musa Gillani after completing his studies is now actively participating in politics. Ali Musa was questioned by the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF) agents over a scandal involving the production of the drug Ecstasy. Yousaf Raza Gillani's daughter is Fiza Gillani. She married with faheem Arif.
Syed Yousuf Raza Gillani also spelled Gilani is vice-chairman of the central committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). He presided the country as the 16th Prime minister of Pakistan from 25 March 2008 until his retroactive disqualification and ouster by the Supreme Court of Pakistan on 26 April 2012.
After successfully contesting in the 1988 general elections, he secured his ministerial appointment in the Ministry of Tourism in the government of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, and since then, he had been a senior member of parliament for the Multan District. After his party securing the plurality in the 1993 general elections, Gillani was elevated 15th Speaker of the National Assembly by the-Prime minister Benazir Bhutto, a post he held until 16 February 1997. On 11 February 2001, Gillani was imprisoned in the infamous Adiala Jail by a military court instituted under President Pervez Musharraf on accusations and charges of corruption, and released on 7 October 2006.
In the wake of 2008 general elections, his party formed a four-party coalition alliance and nominated him for the office of Prime minister. He is the first prime minister from the Saraiki-speaking belt, and also holds the distinction (thus far, the only prime minister to have achieve this milestone) for successfully presenting five consecutive federal budgets. As Prime minister, Gillani announced the formation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, rehabilitation of the troubled and war-torn tribal belt, and promised to reduce the federal budget deficit as well as announcing his ambitions to improve the system of education. This was followed by announcing the new agriculture, land and economic policy that lifted the bans on labour and students’ unions, while worked and implemented the new energy and nuclear policies to tackle the energy crisis in the country. But his policies, without meaningful economic reforms, led to a high rise in inflation and sharp decline in economic performance, a period referred to as “Era of Stagflation”.
A consistently strong U.S. ally as prime minister, Gillani was ranked as 38th most powerful person in the world by Forbes. After years of confronting and resisting the Supreme Court of Pakistan rulings to reinstate the corruption cases against Benazir and Asif Zardari, he was convicted by the supreme court of violating the article 63(1)(g) of the constitution of Pakistan, on 26 April 2012. The verdict was rendered by the Supreme Court when it found him the guilty of contempt of court for refusing to reopen corruption cases against president Asif Ali Zardari, but it gave him only a symbolic sentence “till the rising of the court”, a sentence lasting 30 seconds. Finally, on 19 June 2012, he was disqualified and ousted by the Supreme Court from holding the prime minister office, with the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry clarifying that: “Gillani had ceased to be [the] prime minister and (is) disqualified from membership of parliament on 26 April 2012, the date of his conviction”.