Even though Nawaz Sharif had three terms as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, given the political legacy carried by his influential family, it doesn’t go unnoticed that he could never complete a full term as a Prime Minister.
Until last year, Nawaz Sharif was one of the most powerful politicians in Pakistan’s history, the man who spearheaded the bordering nation as a Prime Minister three times. Today, however, the tables have turned. The man who held the premiership of the nation was meted out an ignominy of watching his political career collapse in front of his eyes. The Pakistan Supreme Court earlier this month convicted him in the Avenfield corruption case and sentenced 10 years of Imprisonment. His daughter Maryam and son-in-law were sentenced to 7-years and 1-year imprisonment each. If the reports from Pakistan are to be believed, Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam will be arrested as soon as they land at the Pakistan airport.
Even though Nawaz Sharif had three terms as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, given the political legacy carried by his influential family, it doesn’t go unnoticed that he could never complete a full term as a Prime Minister. The misfortune was such that even after bouncing back into electoral politics and winning the majority he had to leave the post mid-way.
It is no secret that the military establishment of Pakistan manipulates the elections in the country to favor their selected candidate. Sharif’s entry into politics must be credited to the army. It was General Ghulam Jilani Khan nominated Sharif as Chief Minister of Punjab in 1985. He was backed by the Army as well. His election (rather a selection) saw marked the beginning of the rise of the conservative party.
Five years after serving as the CM of Punjab and maintaining good relations with the army to mute the opposition, Nawaz Sharif won the General Election defeating Benazir Bhutto.
Nawaz Sharif’s first term as Pakistan PM (1990-93):
Though Nawaz Sharif was Army’s pawn, he did implement developmental policies. He focused on improving the nation’s infrastructure and digital telecommunication. Disbanding Zulfikar Bhutto’s many policies he privatized government banks and paved a way for privatization. His many policies were continued by his successors as well.
It is often said that Nawaz Sharif understood the 3A’s that work in Pakistan very well-Army, America and Allah. He also intensely forwarded the Islamization and conservatism initiated by General Zia-ul-Haq.
It was in the year 1993 that Sharif developed serious issues with the president of Pakistan- Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Following a stand-off, Khan removed him as Prime Minister but he approached the Supreme Court which reinstated his premiership. However, he had to resign from the post under the pressure from Army and his party lost to the Pakistan People’s Party of Benazir Bhutto.
Nawaz Sharif’s second term as Pakistan PM (1997-99):
Nawaz Sharif held the office of Prime Minister only for 2 years after being elected for the second time. The second term of Nawaz Sharif also saw the country emerge as a nuclear state. He also brought in the constitutional amendment restricting the powers of President to dismiss the governments.
Though the successful nuclear tests gave him prestige as a world leader and extraordinary popularity in Pakistan, a military coup led by Parvez Musharraf interrupted his Premiership. After the coup, he was convicted of corruption and given a life sentence. However, after a deal with the army, he was allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia.
Only to return from exile in 2007 and contest elections next year ending the military rule of Musharraf.
Nawaz Sharif’s third term as Pakistan PM (2013-17):
In 2013, Sharif became Prime Minister for the third time after winning 124 seats and gaining support from the independent candidates. His three years in the power remained controversial with policies to increase proximity with China and the stressed Indo-Pak relations following the unrest in Kashmir over terrorist attacks.
In 2016, the ultimate controversy hit the Sharif family with his name surfacing in the leaked Panama Papers. Nawaz Sharif’s family holds millions of dollars worth of property and companies in the UK, and around the world. The led to opposition parties in Pakistan demanding a judicial inquiry on the matter. On July 28, 2017, the Pakistani court held him guilty and barred him from holding a parliamentary position because of his “dishonesty” which is a pre-condition to hold a parliamentary seat in Pakistan.
Though, Nawaz Sharif claimed it to be a judicial coup, having lost support from the army and people; he was ousted from the post.
Now exactly one year later, will the fate be sealed for Pakistan’s once most popular politician or will he be able to sail the winds of adversity to emerge victoriously, is to be seen.