Mr M M Zuhair is a past student of Zahira College. He qualified at the G C E (Advanced Level) in 1965 from Zahira and entered the Sri Lanka Law College in 1968 where he won the Asia Foundation Scholarship. He passed out as an Advocate in 1970 and was enrolled as an Advocate of the Supreme Court in 1972.
Mr Zuhair was encouraged by the then Senior State Counsel, later Justice P. Ramanathan of the Supreme Court, to join the Attorney-General’s Department as a State Counsel, which he joined in 1973. He served the State for nearly ten years, firstly as a State Counsel, in the civil division for five years and as a Senior State Counsel and prosecutor in the criminal division during the next five years. He appeared for the State in large number of cases both civil and criminal. He prosecuted in the High Court in murder cases and appeared in criminal appeals in the Appellate Courts. In 1983, he resigned as Senior State Counsel and reverted to private practice. After reverting to the unofficial bar, Mr Zuhair enjoyed a lucrative criminal practice.
From 1994 to 2000 Mr Zuhair was a Member of Parliament on the Peoples’ Alliance National List in the Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge government nominated by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). In 2001 he was appointed a President’s Counsel.
From 2004 to 2005 Mr Zuhair served as Chairman of the Board of Governors of Zahira College while serving during the same period as the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation. As the head of Zahira’s Board of Governors, Mr Zuhair prevailed upon the Al Maktoum Foundation of Dubai, UAE to visit Zahira College. H E MirzaHussain Al Sayegh with HE Bin Anam of the Maktoum Foundation visited the College on 26th December 2004 and announced the donation of the present three storied Al Maktoum building that houses a modern lecture theatre with several additional classrooms.
In 2006, Mr Zuhair was appointed Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran where he served the country till 2012. The interest free oil package that he successfully negotiated for Sri Lanka with the then Iranian government headed by President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad brought into the Sri Lankan government coffers from January 2008 onwards, much needed Iranian funds aggregating by August 2008 to US $ 675 million, helping substantially the cash stricken Sri Lankan government to win the war and defeat the division of our country.
Zahira College is proud that an old boy of the College had played a unique role in securing much needed assistance to Sri Lanka to win the war that had devastated our country for nearly 30 years.
Presently, Mr Zuhair serves in the executive arm of the government as the State Secretary to the Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation which comes under the direct purview of His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena as the Minister in charge with Hon. A H M Fowzie, a distinguished old boy of Zahira College as the State Minister. In this capacity, he is involved in implementing the national reconciliation programme both at the national and at the grass-root levels.
Mr M M Zuhair PC has played an active role in handling many critical issues of the country and the community. He has served the judicial system as a reputed prosecutor and respected Defence Counsel. He has served the legislature as a Member of Parliament and as a member in a number of Parliamentary Consultative Committees such as constitutional reforms. He is also a reputed speaker and a prolific writer.
Throughout his career, he has been involved in community activities. From 1965 to 1973, he was the General Secretary of the Majlis-e-Islami, Maligawatte. He was the Managing Editor of the monthly newspaper ‘Puthumaikkural’ published in Tamil by the Majlis for nearly ten years, which addressed a large number of community issues. The Majlis also established a two session Quran Madhrasa, ‘Madrasathun Noor’ in Maligawatte, which is functioning successfully to this day.
He was also an active member of the Moors Islamic Cultural Home (MICH) and its Majlis- a model parliament for youth- in which Marhoom Marzook Burhan was the founder Speaker with Marhoom Moomin Khan as the founder Secretary General.
He was also the President of the Federation of Assemblies of Muslim Youth of Sri Lanka (FAMYS) from 1985, succeeding Dr. B A Hussainmiya, founder President. FAMYS functioned as an umbrella body of active Muslim youth organisations and was in the forefront of resisting LTTE attempts to inveigle the Muslims into the ‘Eelam’ project and to divide the country. FAMYS was actively involved in community related issues.
On his return from Iran he was involved in the formation of the National Shura Council (NSC) following threats to the community that culminated in the Aluthgama racial attacks in June 2014.