Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi was born on 22 June 1956 in Murree, Punjab to a wealthy, political and prominent Sufi Muslim family. His family claims to be of saintly lineage and caretaker of the Shrine of Bahauddin Zakariya in Multan, which provides the family with substantial income as well votes during the elections. However, in 2014, he rejected the claims saying “I have never used religion for political gain.
Qureshi’s father Makhdoom Sajjad Hussain Qureshi was former member of Senate of Pakistan and 15th Governor of the Punjab from 1985 to 1988 and was close friend of then President of Pakistan Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who appointed him as governor of Punjab. Qureshi received his early education from Aitchison College, Lahore, a bachelor’s from Forman Christian College and received MA (Law) and MA (History) degree from Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He also holds a B.A. degree from University of the Punjab.
Qureshi is married with one son, named Zain Hussain Qureshi and two daughters. Qureshi is an agriculturalist and was the president of the Farmers Association of Pakistan.
Qureshi was elected for the first time to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from Multan in Pakistani general election, 1985 which were held on a non-party basis during the military government of Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. He joined the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) in 1986.
Qureshi later joined the faction of PML led by Nawaz Sharif, which would later became PML (N). When PML split in 1988 after the death of Zia-ul-Haq and was re-elected for the second time to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from Multan in Pakistani general election, 1988 and served as the Minister of Planning and Development in the provincial cabinet of Punjab of then Chief Minister of Punjab Nawaz Sharif from November 1988 to August 1990.
Qureshi was re-elected for the third time to the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab from Multan in Pakistani general election, 1990 and served as the Minister of Finance in Chief Minister Manzoor Wattoo’s provincial cabinet of Punjab from 1990 to June 1993.
Reportedly, Nawaz Sharif refused to give Qureshi a National Assembly ticket in Pakistani general election, 1993.
Qureshi later left PML-N to join Pakistan Peoples Party and was elected for the first time to the National Assembly of Pakistan from Multan in Pakistani general election, 1993. He was appointed as Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs under then Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto ministry. In November, 1996, he was appointed as the spokesman of PPP.
Qureshi was defeated in the Pakistani general election, 1997 by Makhdoom Javed Hashmi of PML-N. He was offered a position in the Council of Economic Advisers to then President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf, which he refused.
He was re-elected for the second time to the National Assembly of Pakistan from Multan in Pakistani general election, 2002 on PPP seat and defeated Makhdoom Javed Hashmi. Reportedly, he used his influence as a mayor of Multan to win the 2002 elections. In 2006, Benazir Bhutto appointed Qureshi as the President of Pakistan Peoples Party Punjab to revive the popularity of PPP in southern Punjab given his good experience. Reportedly, Qureshi slapped an officer for beating a party activist of PPP in 2006.
He was re-elected for the third time to the National Assembly of Pakistan from Multan in Pakistani general election, 2008.
Reportedly, Qureshi was a potential candidate for the Prime Minister of Pakistan in the coalition government headed by the PPP. However, Qureshi was instead given the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs in the cabinet of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani.
In 2011, Qureshi faced criticism in Pakistan when it was discovered that his son, Zain H. Qureshi, was working as a Legislative Fellow in the office of Senator John Kerry.
In February 2011, the Government of Pakistan reduced the number of cabinet seats and during the transition, Qureshi was offered the position of Minister of Water and Power. He declined, saying that he was “not interested in water and power ministry in place of foreign affairs.”
In February 2011, he lost the portfolio of Foreign Minister following the Raymond Davis affair.
In November 2011, Qureshi resigned from the PPP where he had been for the past 20 years.
In November 2011, Qureshi announced joining the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) at a rally in Ghotki. On 4 December 2011, he was appointed as the first Vice Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as its parliamentary leader in National Assembly of Pakistan. In 2016 intra-party elections, Qureshi was re-appointed as the Vice Chairman of PTI, which is considered one of the three senior most positions in the party. He was re-elected to the National Assembly from Multan in Pakistani general election, 2013 on the ticket of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.
He was re-elected to the National Assembly as a candidate of PTI from Constituency NA-156 (Multan-III) in Pakistani general election, 2018. Following his successful election, he emerged as PTI’s nominee for the office of Speaker of the National Assembly. Reportedly, Imran Khan convinced him to take the office because of his long parliamentary experience. However Qureshi showed reluctance to take the portfolio.
On 18 August, Imran Khan formally announced his federal cabinet structure and Qureshi was named as Minister for Foreign Affairs. On 20 August 2018, he was sworn in as Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs in the federal cabinet of Prime Minister Imran Khan.