Nawaz Sharif: ‘Mujhay Kion Nikala?’

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LAHORE: Born in December of 1949, Nawaz Sharif was sired by an upper-middle-class businessman, Muhammad Sharif. Nawaz’s father owned the Ittefaq Group, a multi-million dollar steel conglomerate, and the Sharif Group, a company that has holdings in transport, sugar mills and agriculture.

Nawaz attended Saint Anthony High School and then went on to graduate from Government College University (GCU) with a bachelors degree.

Nawaz later married Kalsoom Nawaz and had four children; Maryam Nawaz who married captain (R) Safdar, Asma Nawaz who married Ishaq Dar’s son Ali Dar, Hassan Nawaz and Hussain Nawaz.

Nawaz had two siblings; Shehbaz Sharif and Abbas Sharif.

Nawaz entered politics during the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto epoch. Bhutto’s nationalisation policies devasted the Sharif family business and prompted the elder son, Nawaz, to enter politics.

1976 saw Nawaz joining the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and was soon after made Punjab finance minister. Reportedly, he was found to be an upcoming leader by General Jilani Khan.

Later on, Nawaz became the staunchest supporter of General Ziaul Haq’s military regime and subsequently maintained close relations with General Hamid Gul and General Rahimuddin Khan.

Nominated by General Jillani in 1985, Nawaz became Punjab chief minister (CM).

After General Zia’s plane crash and the general’s subsequent death, the PML splintered albeit joining forces again with several other parties to form the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) which was co-led by Nawaz and Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi. The IJI had been formed to oppose the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by Benazir Bhutto. This led to the IJI garnering an electoral majority and paved the way for Nawaz’s ascension to the office of Punjab CM in 1998.

For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the conservatives under the leadership of Nawaz ascended to the helm of executive power. In 1990, Nawaz became the PM for the first time.

From 1993 to 1996, Nawaz remained in parliament as leader of the opposition following which he led his party to electoral victory once more and secured his second term as PM.

Nawaz’s second term was marked by India testing nuclear missiles, following which Pakistan also become the first Muslim country to have nuclear weapons.

In October 1999, Sharif as PM made a move to depose the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) Chairman General Pervez Musharaf. The move backfired and the military high command arrested the PM. Following the military coup, the COAS imposed martial law in Pakistan.

In order to save Nawaz from Bhutto’s fate, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and United States (US) President Bill Clinton intervened with the Pakistan Army which resulted in an agreement facilitated by Saudi Arabia that allowed the former PM to leave the country and live in Saudi Arabia in exile for several years.

Sharif was finally allowed back in the country in November of 2007.

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination shifted the country’s political dynamic and the 2008 general elections saw the Zardari led PPP form the federal government.

Nawaz’s PML-N became PPP’s coalition partners but had a fallout over the issue pertaining to reinstatement of judges.

Following the fallout, the coalition broke and Nawaz initiated a long march in favour of the restoration of judges.

The long march bore fruit and the ousted judges were restored, however, the PML-N remained in opposition.

The year 2013 saw Nawaz becoming PM for the last time and his traditional opposition, the PPP, being replaced by the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Following the Panama Papers leak, Nawaz came under immense pressure from the media and rival political leaders.

The Supreme Court (SC) took up the case which resulted in Nawaz being disqualified as a member of National Assembly (MNA) and consequently as PM.

In a later order, the courts also barred Nawaz from holding party office as well.

Following which his party went into campaign mode with the slogans; “Vote ko izzat dou” and “Mujhay kion nakala?” (Give respect to vote and why was I kicked out?)

In addition, an accountability court initiated proceedings against the Sharif family pertaining to the Avenfield properties after the SC handed down its verdict.

The corruption references, filed against the Sharifs, pertain to the Al-Azizia Steel Mills and Hill Metal Establishment, offshore companies including Flagship Investment Ltd, and Avenfield properties of London.

NAB had earlier filed interim references in all three cases and later added supplementary references to them with new evidence and witnesses.

Nawaz and his sons Hussain and Hasan are accused in all three references whereas his daughter Maryam and son-in-law Safdar are accused in the Avenfield reference only.

The court originally had a deadline of six months which ended in mid-March but was extended for two months after the judge requested the apex court.

Later, on May 9, the trial court’s second plea for a deadline extension was approved by the Supreme Court which gave a month to both sides to finish the corruption cases.

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