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Who is Mansoor Ijaz? The US businessman behind Pakistan's 'Memo-gate'

A whistle blowing hero to some, a villain doing the Pakistan military's dirty work to others, Ijaz is above all a mysterious anomaly. 

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An American childhood

A hedge-fund manager and venture capitalist by profession, Ijaz says his involvement in Pakistani affairs stems from his father’s dying wish that he help to change the ways in which America would interact with the Muslim world.

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Ijaz was born in August 1961 in Tallahasse, Florida, the eldest son of Pakistani immigrants Mujaddid and Lubna Ijaz, both graduates of Florida State University’s nuclear physics program. His father worked on Pakistan’s nuclear program in some capacity and had ties to Prime Minister Zulfiqar Bhutto before becoming a professor at Virginia Tech.

The family moved first to Ohio then on to Virginia, where Ijaz played tennis for his high school team and graduated at the top of his class in 1979.

After earning a Bachelor’s degree in nuclear physics from the University of Virginia, where he was a champion weightlifter, Ijaz went on to earn his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In Boston he also studied at Harvard Medical School in the Medical Physics program.

Ijaz stared working on Wall Street in 1986, then formed his own successful investment firm, Crescent Investment Management, which showed assets of more than $800 million in 1999.

But, he says, “As my assets grew, my thirst to do something else grew as well. I was no longer content with the penthouse apartments, fast cars, and jet-setting around the world.”

Between 1993 and 1996 Ijaz either gave personally or raised more than $1 million for President Clinton’s re-election campaign, about the same time, entering a select group who can claim “Friends of Bill” inner circle status – fulfilling his desire to become “a real voice at the political table,” with that connection, he says.

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