Shah acquired his early education in Khairpur district of Sindh. He acquired his LLB degree from Karachi’s Sindh Muslim Law College. He started practising law in his native city of Khairpur.
He started his political career by joining Pakistan Muslim League.
He contested former military dictator Ayub Khan’s basic democracies elections twice and emerged victorious both times.
Qaim Ali Shah was also a close ally of former president and prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He joined Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in 1966 and was elected district council chairman from Khairpur.
He defeated Ghous Ali Shah in the 1970 general elections and became the state minister for industries.
The PPP leader also took part in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against ex-military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq in 1980s.
He lost to Ghous Ali Shah in the 1997 general elections. He became member of the Parliament’s upper house (Senate) the same year.
Syed Qaim Ali Shah became Sindh’s chief minister for the first time in 1988. However, he was replaced by Aftab Shaaban Mirani two years later.
Shah emerged victorious in 1988, 1990, 1993, 2002, 2008 and 2013 general elections.
He married three times and has four sons and seven daughters.