On 9 May 2013, his son, Ali Haider Gilani, was kidnapped by several armed men in Multan in central Pakistan during an election rally. A group called the Al Mansuri Brigade has kidnapped his son.[
Their home town is the ancient Punjabi city of Multan.
After 1988 general elections, he secured his ministerial appointment in the Ministry of Tourism in the government of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
During the judicial crisis of March 2009, Gillani played swift but vital role in ending the serious judicial crises in the country and is widely given credit with playing a central role in convincing President Asif Ali Zardari to restore Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.