Khawaja Saad Rafique Ahmad (Urdu: خواجہ سعد رفیق) is a Pakistani politician who is the current Minister for Railways in the Sharif’s third ministry. A leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Rafique previously briefly held the cabinet portfolio of Minister for Culture and the Minister for Youth Affairs during the Gillani ministry in 2008.
Rafique is a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan since 2002, representing Lahore]. He served as Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Youth Affairs from 1997 to 1999 under Sharif’s second ministry.
Family and education
Rafique was born to Khawaja Mohammad Rafiq, who was a small-time businessman in Lahore and who was murdered in the early 1970s. The family blamed the crime on Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Rafique enrolled at the M.A.O College and made a transfer to Punjab University in 1982. He graduated with an BA in Political science in 1984, and later attained MA in Political science in 1986.
Rafique started his political career as a student leader representing Muslim Student Federation, from MAO College Lahore in early 1980s, and later on joined the PML-N.
In Pakistani general elections, 1997, Rafique participated in the elections on the PML-N’s ticket and elected as the member of Provincial Assembly of the Punjab for the first time. He was appointed as Special Assistant to Prime Minister for Youth Affairs by then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif, but his tenure was terminated by General Pervez Musharraf after the latter 1999 Pakistani coup d’état. He was among the PML-N leaders who confronted Musharraf in the absence of Nawaz Sharif.
In Pakistani general elections, 2002, Rafique elected as member of National Assembly from Constituency NA-119 for the first time. During the period, he served as president of PML-N Punjab.
In Pakistani general elections, 2008, Rafique was re-elected as the member of the National Assembly for the second time from Constituency NA-125. He was appointed as the Minister for Culture and Minister for Youth Affairs in the Gillani ministry but he resigned after PML-N’s went on to lead the Lawyer’s movement to restore the judiciary.
He was eventually arrested and imprisoned after calling for Musharraf’s removal. He, along with party colleagues and lawyers, took to the streets calling for the resignation of the Musharraf and the reinstatement of judges deposed by him. He was also put behind bars for partaking in violent protests for the said purpose. Among PML-N’s leaders, Rafique was one of the activist who kept the PML-N alive during the Musharraf government.
In May 2009, Rafique became a critic of Prime Minister Mr. Gillani and his government over its strategy on Swat, blaming the military and Nawaz Sharif for the “mess” that had been created in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. In his condemnation of the government over the matter, he also termed the session of the National Assembly a “debating club” where people only came to polish their public speaking skills and that decisions were being made elsewhere.
In Pakistani general election, 2013, Rafique was re-elected as the member of the National Assembly for the third time. His wife, Ghazala Saad, was also allotted PML-N’s ticket. In June 2013, Rafique was appointed as Minister of Railway by the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and took oath on 8 June 2013