Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif

 

  • Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, (Punjabi, Urdu: میاں محمد نواز شریف) (born 25 December 1949) is a Pakistani politician who served as Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms (November 1990-July 1993 and February 1997-October 1999). He leads the political party, Pakistan Muslim League (N). He was Chief Minister of Punjab from 1985 to 1990. He owns Ittefaq Group, a private steel mill enterprise.
  • He is a wealthy businessman and a conservative politician. His first term was shortened after the Pakistan Army pressured him to resign. In 1997, he was overwhelmingly elected for a second term by wide margins. During his second term, he notably ordered Pakistan’s first nuclear tests in response to India’s nuclear tests.[1] He was ousted in an October 1999 military coup by Pervez Musharraf. He returned to Pakistan in late 2007 after eight years of forced exile. He successfully called for Musharraf’s impeachment and the reinstatement of Chief JusticeIftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. He is a potent force in Pakistani politics.

·       Early life and Education

  • Originally, his family came from the village of Gawal mandi. His family moved to Lahore before the creation of Pakistan for better farmland. His family also traces their roots to Shopian in the Kashmir valley.
  • He was born in Lahore, Pakistan on December 25, 1949, a year after the nation’s founding. He came from a family of scrap traders. His father and uncles had a small steel business named as ‘Ittefaq’ in Landa Bazar Lahore before the creation of Pakistan.
  • He attended St. Anthony’s School Lahore. However, he along with his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif later on attended Pakistan Railway High School, Moghalpura, Lahore. Both passed Matric from this school in 1964 and 1965 respectively. Nawaz Sharif got admission in the Government College of Lahore. He obtained his B.A. degree after appearing in the supplementary examination. He attained his Bachelor of Law degree from the Punjab University Law College, which is also in Lahore.

·       Early life and Education

  • Originally, his family came from the village of Gawal mandi. His family moved to Lahore before the creation of Pakistan for better farmland. His family also traces their roots to Shopian in the Kashmir valley.
  • He was born in Lahore, Pakistan on December 25, 1949, a year after the nation’s founding. He came from a family of scrap traders. His father and uncles had a small steel business named as ‘Ittefaq’ in Landa Bazar Lahore before the creation of Pakistan.
  • He attended St. Anthony’s School Lahore. However, he along with his younger brother Shahbaz Sharif later on attended Pakistan Railway High School, Moghalpura, Lahore. Both passed Matric from this school in 1964 and 1965 respectively. Nawaz Sharif got admission in the Government College of Lahore. He obtained his B.A. degree after appearing in the supplementary examination. He attained his Bachelor of Law degree from the Punjab University Law College, which is also in Lahore.

·       Initial Political Career

  • He principally rose to political prominence as a staunch proponent of the military government of President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq during the 1980s. He maintained an alliance with Rahimuddin Khan. He also had ties with ISI Director-General Hamid Gul, who played a substantial role in the formation of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad- a conservative political alliance that supported Sharif.

·        Punjab Advisory Council

In 1981, he initially joined as a member of the Punjab Advisory Council under President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. He served as the Minister of Finance and Minister of Sports under the provincial government of Punjab. During his tenure, he was credited with increasing funding for sports activities and rural projects.

·        Chief Minister of Punjab

  • He served for two consecutive terms as Chief Minister of Punjab, the most populous province of Pakistan. (April 9, 1985 – May 31, 1988) From 1988 to August 1990, he became the Caretaker Chief Minister after Zia-ul-Haq dissolved the assemblies. Because of his vast popularity, he received the nickname “Lion of the Punjab”.

·       First term as Prime Minister

  • Sharif became the prime minister of Pakistan on 1 November 1990 as the head of IJI and succeeded Benazir Bhutto. He campaigned on a conservative platform and vowed to reduce government corruption. He focused on improving the nation’s infrastructure and spurred the growth of digital telecommunication. He privatized government banks and opened the door for further industrial privatization. He legalized foreign money exchange to be transacted through private money exchangers. His privatization policies were continued by both Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf. He took many steps to raise the issue of Kashmir on international forums, to transfer power peacefully in Afghanistan so to put an end to the drug smugglers and illegal transaction of unregistered weapons across the border which was promoting then increasing numbers of dacoits in the country. He also wanted to continue the peaceful nuclear atomic program and to make Pakistan a truly Islamic state and to do so he introduced Islamic Laws such as the Shariat Ordinance and Bait-ul-Maal (to help poor orphans widows etc); Moreover he gave tasks to the Ministry of Religious Affairs to prepare reports and recommendations for steps taken for Islamization. He ensured the establishment of three committees.
    • Ittehad-e-bain-ul-Muslemeen 2)Nifaz-e-Shariat Committee 3) Islamic Welfare Committee
  • He believed in forming a Muslim Bloc by uniting all Central Asian Muslim Countries thus he extended the membership of ECO to all Central Asian Countries. Nawaz Sharif was pretty confident that he had majority in the assembly thus he ruled with considerable confidence. He had disputes with three successive army chiefs. He contended with General Mirza Aslam Beg over the 1991 Gulf War, with General Asif Nawaz over the Sindh “Operation Clean-Up” issue, and with General Abdul Waheed Kakar over the Sharif-Ishaq Imbroglio. To diffuse the tension him and Benazir and to disperse the long march he promised her to release her detained husband and to abolish the Eighth amendment her Party’s co-operation (PPP). Ghulam took this as an attack on him by the ruling party so in order to win the presidential election he on April 1993, with the support of the Pakistan Army, used his reserve powers to dissolve the National Assembly and appointed Mir Balakh Sher Mazari as the Caretaker Prime Minister. In May 1993, Sharif returned to power after the Supreme Court ruled that the Presidential Order as unconstitutional and reconstituted the National Assembly. In July 1993, Sharif resigned under pressure from the military but negotiated a settlement that resulted in the removal of President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Moin Qureshi became Caretaker Prime Minister. He was succeeded shortly thereafter by Benazir Bhutto in October 1993.

·       Second term as Prime Minister

  • U.S. Defense Secretary, William S. Cohen, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, at the Pentagon, 3 December 1998.

·        1998 Pakistan’s nuclear tests

  • Pakistan’s nuclear tests were an important turning point in his political career. Pakistan carried out its successful nuclear tests on 28 May 1998, and on 30 May 1998, in response to the Indian detonation of five nuclear devices roughly two weeks before. When India tested its nuclear arsenal a second time, it caused a great alarm in Pakistan.
  • After weeks of anticipation, Pakistan surprised the world by conducting its own nuclear tests. Sharif proclaimed an emergency on the same day as these nuclear tests were conducted. All the foreign currency accounts in Pakistani banks were frozen to minimize the effects of economic sanctions. He put the Pakistan Armed Forces on high alert in order to defend country’s nuclear installations. He justified the tests on national security grounds, as they demonstrated Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent capabilities against an armed Indian nuclear program.
  • Under his premiership, Pakistan became the first Muslim country and seventh nation to become a nuclear power.

·        Constitution Amendment

  • In late August 1998, he proposed a law to establish a legal system based on the Islamic principles His proposal came a week after 10-year commemorations of the late President Zia ul-Haq. The Cabinet removed some of its controversial aspects. The National Assembly approved and passed the bill on 10 October 1998 by 151 votes to 16. However, the amendment failed to achieve two-thirds majority in the Senate. Weeks afterward, Sharif’s government would suffer a military coup.

·        Relations with the military

  • During his second tenure, he removed General Karamat over the National Security Council disputes. He later had severe political confrontation with General Musharraf that resulted in a coup d’état which removed him from office.
  • At the end of General Waheed’s three-year term in January 1996, General Jehangir Karamat was appointed army chief. His term was due to end on 9 January 1999. In October 1998, however, Sharif fell out with General Karamat over the latter’s advocacy of the need for the creation of a “National Security Council”. Sharif interpreted this move to be a conspiracy to return the military to a more active role in Pakistani politics. In October 1998, General Karamat resigned and Sharif appointed General Pervez Musharraf as army chief.
  • During the Kargil War in 1999, he claimed to have no knowledge of the planned attacks, saying that Pervez Musharraf acted alone.

·       Military coup

  • On 12 October 1999, Sharif attempted to remove Pakistan Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf and appoint Ziauddin Butt in his place. Musharraf, who was in Sri Lanka, attempted to return through a commercial airliner to return to Pakistan. Sharif ordered Sindh IG Rana Maqbool to arrest of Chief of Army Staff and Musharraf.
  • He ordered the Karachi Airport to be sealed off to prevent the landing of the Musharraf’s airliner fearing a coup d’état. Sharif ordered the plane to land at Nawab Shah Airport. Musharraf contacted top Pakistan Army Generals who then took over the country and ousted Sharif’s administration. Musharraf later assumed control of the government as Chief Executive.

·        Trial

The military placed him on trial for “kidnapping, attempted murder, hijacking and terrorism”. The military court quickly convicted him and gave him a life sentence. Under an agreement facilitated by Saudi Arabia, Sharif was placed in exile for the next 10 years.

·       Return to Pakistan

·        Failed Attempt in Islamabad

  • On August 23, 2007, Pakistan’s top court ruled Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, were free to return. Both vowed to return soon.
  • On 8 September 2007, Lebanese politician Saad Hariri and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Muqrin bin Abdul-Aziz addressed an unprecedented joint press conference at Army House to discuss how Sharif’s return would affect relations. Muqrin stated that the initial agreement was for 10 years but “these little things do not affect relations.” Muqrin expressed hope that Sharif would continue with the agreement.
  • On 10 September 2007, Sharif returned from exile in London to Islamabad. He was prevented from leaving the plane and he was deported to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia within hours. His political career appeared to be over.

·        Successful Return in Lahore

  • On 20 November 2007, Musharraf went to Saudi Arabia as he left the country for the first time since implementing emergency rule. He attempted to convince Saudi Arabia to prevent S

    harif from returning until after the elections in January 2008. The political role of Sharif returned to the fore after Benazir Bhutto‘s return a month earlier. Saudi Arabia appeared to argue that if Pakistan has allowed a secular woman leader, Benazir Bhutto, to return to the country, then the religiously conservative Sharif should be permitted to return too.

  • On 25 November 2007, Sharif returned to Pakistan. Thousands of supporters whistled and cheered as they hoisted Sharif and his brother Shahbaz on their shoulders through ranks of wary riot police officers. After an 11-hour procession from the airport, he reached a mosque where he offered prayers as well as criticism against Musharraf.
  • His return to Pakistan came with only one day left to register for elections. This set the stage for an overnight shift of the political scene.

·       2008 Parliamentary Elections

  • Sharif called for the boycott of the January 2008 elections because he believed the poll would not be fair, given a state of emergency imposed by Musharraf. Sharif and the PML (N) decided to participate in the parliamentary elections after 33 opposition groups, including Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, met in Lahore but failed to reach a joint position.
  • For the elections, he campaigned for the restoration of the independent judges removed by emergency government decree and Musharraf’s departure.
  • Bhutto’s assassination led to the postponement of the elections to 18 February 2008. During the elections, both parties, but the Pakistan Peoples Party in particular, rely on a mix of feudal relationships and regional sentiment for their voting bases – the Bhuttos in Sindh, Nawaz Sharif in Punjab. Sharif condemned Bhutto’s assassination and called it the “gloomiest day in Pakistan’s history’’
  • Between Bhutto’s assassination and the elections, the country faced a rise in attacks by militants. Sharif accused Musharraf of ordering anti-terror operations that have left the country “drowned in blood.” Pakistan’s government urged opposition leaders to refrain from holding rallies ahead of the elections, citing an escalating terrorist threat. Sharif’s party quickly rejected the recommendation, accusing officials of trying block the campaign against Musharraf since large rallies have traditionally been the main way to drum up support in election campaigns.
  • On January 25, Musharraf initiated a failed four-day visit to London to use British mediation in Pakistani politics to reconcile with the Sharif brothers.
  • Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party, boosted by the death of Benazir Bhutto, and Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N dominated the elections. PPP received 86 seats for the 342-seat National Assembly; the PML-N, 66; and the PML-Q, which backs President Pervez Musharraf, 40. Zardari and Sharif would later create a coalition government that ousted Musharraf.

·       Post-2008 elections

  • His party had joined a coalition led by PPP but the alliance had been strained by differences over the fate of judges Musharraf dismissed last year and over how to handle the unpopular president. Sharif won much public support for his uncompromising stand against Musharraf and for his insistence the judges be reinstated. The coalition successfully forced Musharraf’s resignation. He also successfully pressured Zardari for the reinstatement of judges removed by Musharraf in emergency rule. This led to the courts cleansing Sharif of a criminal record rendering him eligible to re-enter parliament.

·        By-Elections

  • In June 2008 by-elections, Sharif’s party won three National Assembly seats and eight provincial assembly seats, all but one in the country’s political nerve center of Punjab province, where Shahbaz Sharif heads the provincial government. The Lahore seat election was postponed because of wrangling over whether Sharif was eligible to contest.

·        2008 Musharraf impeachment

  • On 7 August 2008, the coalition government agreed to impeach Musharraf. Zardari and Sharif sent a formal request for him to step down. A charge-sheet had been drafted, and was to be presented to parliament. It included Mr Musharraf’s first seizure of power in 1999—at the expense of Nawaz Sharif, the PML(N)’s leader, whom Mr Musharraf imprisoned and exiled—and his second last November, when he declared an emergency as a means to get re-elected president. The charge-sheet also listed some of Mr Musharraf’s contributions to the “war on terror”.
  • On 11 August, the National Assembly was summoned to discuss impeachment proceedings. On 18 August 2008, Musharraf resigned as President of Pakistan due to mounting political pressure from the impeachment proceedings. On 19 August 2008, Musharraf defended his nine-year rule in an hour long speech.
  • Musharraf is presently exiled to London and Sharif continues to demand he be prosecuted for treason.

·        Presidential election

  • Pakistan’s Election Commission on 22 August announced that Presidential elections would be held on 6 September 2008, and the nomination papers could be filed starting 26 August. In Pakistan, the president is elected by the two houses of parliament and the four provincial assemblies. There was speculation that Sharif would run for President, but on 25 August, he announced that Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui would be the PML-N nominee for President. Siddiqui was defeated by Zardari for the presidency.

·        Reinstatement of judges

  • Sharif supported the reinstatement of judges suspended by Musharraf in March 2007. Musharraf had dismissed 60 judges under the state of emergency and Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in a failed bid to remain in power. Sharif had championed the cause of the judges since their dismissal. The new government that succeeded Musharraf which had campaigned on reinstatement had failed to restore the judges. This led to a collapse of the coalition government in late 2008 due to Zardari’s erstwhile refusal to reinstate the sacked judge. Zardari feared that Chaudhry would undo all Mr Musharraf’s edicts—including an amnesty that he had received from corruption charges.
  • On 25 February 2009, the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, Punjab’s chief minister, from holding public office. Zardari then dismissed the province’s legislature and declared president’s rule in Punjab. Zardari attempted to place Sharif on house arrest on 15 March 2009. But provincial police disappeared the same day from his house after an angry crowd gathered outside the house. The Punjab police’s decision to free Sharif from confinement was very likely in response to an army command. Sharif, with a large contingent of SUVs, began leading a march to Islamabad. In a televised morning speech on 16 March 2009, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani had promised to reinstate Iftikhar Chaudhry after pressure from Pakistan’s army, American and British envoys, and internal protests. Sharif called off the “long march”. The PPP-led government continued to survive.

·        Removal of bar on third term

  • On 2 April 2010, the 18th Amendment Bill in the Parliament removed the bar on former prime ministers to stand for only two terms in office. This allows Sharif to become Prime Minister for a third time.

·       Personal life

  • He is married to Kulsoom Nawaz.
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