Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (born December 25, 1949 in Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan) is a Pakistani politician. He was twice elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan, serving two non-consecutive terms, the first from November 1, 1990 to July 18, 1993 and the second from February 17, 1997 to October 12, 1999. His party is the Pakistan Muslim League N (Nawaz group). He is best known internationally for ordering Pakistan's 1998 nuclear tests in response to India’s nuclear tests, his conduct of the Kargil War against India, and the abrupt end of his final term in a dramatic coup by General Pervez Musharraf.
His family was a prominent merchant family in the Kashmir valley. His father, Muhammad Sharif, migrated in 1947 to Pakistan, during the partition. Muhammad Sharif was a businessman and co-owned the Ittefaq Group of Industries.
Nawaz Sharif was educated at Saint Anthony’s High School and Government College Lahore, and received a law degree from University of the Punjab. Following his education, he entered Punjab provincial politics, joining the Punjab advisory district council. He became finance minister of Punjab in 1981 and also served as minister of sports. He was credited with increasing funding for sports activities and rural projects.
Nawaz was a cricketer during his early life, and played a first class game in the 1973-74 season representing Pakistan Railways. He also played a side match against West Indies when he was prime minister.
He married Kulsoom Nawaz, who is the grand-niece of the famous Kashmiri wrestler - The Great Gama.
Chief Minister of Punjab
Nawaz Sharif began his first term as Chief Minister of Punjab province on April 9, 1985 under the Martial Law Regime of General Zia-ul-Haq, who was his political mentor. On May 31, 1988 he was appointed caretaker Chief Minister after the dismissal of assemblies by Zia. After the 1988 general elections which followed Zia’s death in a plane crash, he was again elected as Chief Minister of Punjab. He remained in the position until he became prime minister in 1990. Nawaz Sharif was considered by some to be a man of the establishment. He was elected as the Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League and subsequently the IJI (Islamic Democratic Alliance) by the ISI (Pakistan's Intelligence Agency) as documented in the testimony of the then Army Chief in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Sharif first became Prime Minister on November 1, 1990, running on a platform of right wing conservatives and vowing for an end to corruption. His term was thus interrupted on April 18, 1993, when President Ghulam Ishaq Khan used the reserve powers vested in him by the Eighth Amendment to dissolve the National Assembly and appointed Mir Balakh Sher Mazari as the caretaker prime minister. Within six weeks, the Supreme Court overruled the President, reconstituting the National Assembly and returning Sharif to power on May 26. Sharif resigned from office along with President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on July 18, 1993, after his feud with the president, who had accused him of corruption. Moin Qureshi became caretaker prime minister, and was succeeded shortly thereafter by Benazir Bhutto, who was elected to office on October 19, 1993.
Sharif returned to power in February 1997 with such a huge majority that the result was immediately questioned by Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Sharif won by obtaining 90 percent of the national votes cast. Doubts against the authenticity of the national elections always persist and are nearly always contended by Pakistan's losing party. Tony Blair stated in a January interview that he "believed the election was true". Nawaz Sharif, therefore, holds the record in Pakistani politics for securing the heaviest mandate in a general election in Pakistan.
One of Sharif's first acts during his second term was to orchestrate the scrapping of Article 58-(2)(b) through another Amendment to the Constitution—an exercise in which Sharif’s party was joined by all the other political parties in the National Assembly and Senate. The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan was passed so that the President could no longer dismiss the Prime Minister; and the Fourteenth Amendment imposed strict party discipline on members of parliament. This allowed party leaders to dismiss any of their legislators if they failed to vote as they were told and made it nearly impossible to dismiss a prime minister by a motion of no confidence. In effect, the two amendments removed nearly all checks on the prime minister's power, since there was virtually no way for him to be legally dismissed once elected. On November 28, 1997, the Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah of the Supreme Court was dismissed against revolt of other judges, orchestrated by Sharif's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, and the Chief Minister of Punjab, Justice Rafiq Tarar. On this issue he fell out with President Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari who, now without the powers to act against the Prime Minister, also resigned. Rafiq Tarar was rewarded by his being appointed President of Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif's downfall coincided with his secular actions such as abolishing Friday holidays, distancing him from the conservative religious right wing establishment without taking him closer to the secular section, which preferred the PPP of Benazir Bhutto. Even now his frequent assurance to the west about continued cooperation is diminishing his popularity at home amongst the right wing conservatives who are looking for an alternative candidate to counter the secularist alliance of Musharraf-Benazir duo in the coming elections.
On the development front, Nawaz Sharif completed the construction of South Asia's longest motorway, the 367 km M2, linking Lahore and Islamabad. The motorway, which was initiated during Nawaz Sharif's first term, was inaugurated in November 1997 and was constructed at a cost of Rs 37.5 billion.
The peak of Sharif's popularity came when his government undertook nuclear tests on 28 May 1998 in response to India's nuclear tests two weeks earlier. However, after these tests, matters started going downhill. He suspended many civil liberties, dismissed the Sindh provincial government and set up military courts when the stability of the government was threatened. U.S. Defense Secretary, William S. Cohen, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, at the Pentagon, December 3, 1998. U.S. Defense Secretary, William S. Cohen, with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, at the Pentagon, December 3, 1998.
Relations with the military
During his first term as prime minister, Sharif had fallen out with three successive army chiefs: with General Mirza Aslam Beg over the 1991 Gulf War issue; with General Asif Nawaz over the Sindh "Operation Clean-Up" issue; and with General Wahid Kakar over the Sharif-Ishaq imbroglio.
It was under Wahid Kakar that Nawaz Sharif along with the then President of Pakistan Ghulam Ishaq Khan were forced to resign in 1992-93.
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 January 9, 1999. In October 1998, however, Sharif fell out with General Karamat as well, over the latter’s advocacy of the need for the creation of a National Security Council in what Sharif believed was a conspiracy to return the military to a more active role in Pakistani politics. Before that Sharif dismissed the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Mansur Ul Haq.
Jehangir Karamat was much later appreciated by Nawaz as a gentleman. Karamat later served as Pakistan's ambassador to USA under Musharraf. He, like other eminent personalities such as Tariq Aziz of the national security council and Manzoor Watoo, a former chief minister of Punjab and Rawalpindi corps commander who stormed Hafsa, has family members who are influenced by a Punjab religious movement of the late 1800s. None of the above claim to belong to that movement personally.
In October 1998, General Karamat resigned and Sharif appointed General Pervez Musharraf as army chief. General Jehangir Karamat was seen by many as a straight person who compromised himself and stood for the wishes of the Prime Minister. Sharif would later regret appointing Pervez Musharraf to the Chief of Army position, as Musharraf would lead a coup to topple Sharif's government.
Both Nisar Khan, a Nawaz league leader whose brother was defence secretary and Shehbaz Sharif claim they arranged Musharraf's appointment. Nisar was later interned.
Pakistan's Nuclear Tests
It was during this term that Pakistan carried out its successful nuclear tests on May 28, 1998, in response to the Indian detonation of five nuclear devices roughly two weeks before. The Nawaz government justified the tests on national security grounds, as they demonstrated Pakistan's nuclear deterrent capabilities against an armed Indian nuclear program. Under Nawaz Sharif's leadership, Pakistan became the first Islamic country having Nuclear Power and became the 7th nation to become a Nuclear Power. The Nawaz Government proclaimed an emergency on the same day as these nuclear tests were conducted. All fundamental rights were suspended and all the foreign currency accounts in Pakistani banks were frozen to minimize the effects of economic sanctions. This move was not welcomed by all sections of depositors and further deteriorated the investors and people's confidence. The foreign exchange reserves fell even further.
The Lahore Declaration
In order to normalize relations between India and Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif undertook a major initiative in February 1999. This initiative culminated in a visit by the Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Lahore via bus, across the Wagah border, in 1999. Nawaz Sharif met him at the Wagah border and a joint communique, known as the Lahore Declaration, was signed between the two leaders. The Lahore Declaration spelled out various steps to be taken by the two countries towards normalizing relations.
The Kargil War in 1999 came to haunt the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. It was an international embarrassment and he came under American pressure to withdraw his troops after they intruded into Indian held territory backed by a few Kashmiri militants. India reacted strongly and ordered its troops to oust the intruders which resulted in heavy casualties for both sides, especially for Pakistan. After India threatened to widen and escalate the scope of the conflict and move into Pakistani territory, Nawaz Sharif under pressure from Bill Clinton withdrew his troops unilaterally. Some believe that Sharif was responsible for initiating the intrusions—though he claimed that Army chief Pervez Musharraf was the brain behind the operation. (Information gleaned later showed that Musharraf was instrumental in planning the Kargil and due to American and world pressure was forced to the ultimate withdrawal.) In a recent interview, he admitted he ‘let down’ Vajpayee on Kargil conflict and also regretted for not having taken an action against Musharraf.The retreat was not welcome in Pakistan and Sharif would later reveal that Pakistan had suffered more than 4,000 casualties. Growing fiscal deficits and debt-service payments, mainly due to American sanctions, led to a financial crisis. The government narrowly avoided defaulting on its international loans. With the country suffering from frequent power blackouts, Sharif directed the army in early 1999 to take control of the Water And Power Development Authority (WAPDA) of Pakistan, which had the adverse effect that many active and former military personnel were deployed as heads of civilian agencies. This trend continues to this day.
Alleged meetings with Osama bin Laden
Khalid Khawaja, a retired officer of the Pakistan Air Force who was in the ISI in the late 80s, rejected a recent denial by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) that its leader had ever met Osama bin Laden. Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal President Qazi Hussain Ahmed had said in a recent interview that Sharif had repeatedly met Bin Laden, who had offered him money to topple the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government in 1990.
Proposition of an Islamic Society based on the Koran
On August 29, 1998 then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif proposed a law to create an Islamic order in Pakistan and establish a legal system based on the Koran and the Sunnat. Sharif told Pakistanis that the proposed Shariat Bill was a charter of duties and not power. On October 8, 1998 Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif presented the Shariat Bill in the National Assembly. The Cabinet decided to present the bill on October 9, after removing some of its controversial aspects.
The Pakistani government approved and passed the bill on October 10, 1998. After the vote, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said: "I congratulate the nation on the passage of the bill which will help create a truly Islamic system". The amendment, which was passed by the National Assembly by 151 votes to 16, was then passed to the upper house of parliament for a final vote. Two-thirds majority was needed for passage in the Senate, the upper chamber. On January 16, 1999 the Nawaz Sharif Government imposed Islamic law in the traditional tribal areas of the north-west straddling the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, vowing to impose it throughout the country.However, the amendment would fail in the senate and before Nawaz Sharif would recover from that setback, his government was summarily dismissed by a military coup.
With the public and press openly speculating about the possibility of a military takeover, Nawaz became increasingly insecure. On October 12, 1999, he removed Musharraf as army chief. Musharraf, who was out of the country, boarded a commercial airliner to return to Pakistan. Sharif ordered the Karachi airport sealed off to prevent the landing of the airliner, and ordered it to land at Nawab Shah Airport, but Musharraf contacted top army generals who took over the country and ousted Sharif's administration. Musharraf assumed control of the government. The Supreme Court validated the coup on the grounds of necessity. Thus ended Nawaz Sharif's second term, after dismissing a President, a Chief Justice, an Army chief and a Naval Chief.
Nawaz was thrown in prison and tried by Pakistan's Anti-Terrorism Courts, which handed down a life sentence for hijacking in 2000. The military government agreed to commute his sentence from life in prison to exile in Saudi Arabia. His family moved with him. His wife and senior members of his party formed an anti-military coalition along with the Pakistan Peoples Party, previously the major opposition to Sharif's Muslim League. Nawaz and the PPP have only offered token resistance to President Musharraf's government. Efforts are mainly restricted to criticism through the media.
Nawaz Sharif's government was deposed from office by General Pervez Musharraf, who later declared himself the Chief Executive of Pakistan, effective Prime Minister—as he did not immediately dismiss the nation's then President Muhammad Rafiq Tarar. Sharif was convicted of hijacking and terrorism after he blocked Pervez Musharraf from landing his plane in Karachi in lieu of dismissing him from his COAS post. The Supreme Court of Pakistan under oath of PCO declared Musharraf’s dismissal unconstitutional, as the COAS as a constitutional appointee is afforded due process before dismissal.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan under the oath of PCO, upholding the position of the Army, disqualified Nawaz Sharif from holding any public office for 21 years, forbade his involvement in Pakistani politics (something which he has since chosen to ignore), and fined him 20 million rupees. A plea bargain and intervention of the Saudi royal family spared Sharif from serving a prison term; instead he was exiled to the Saudi Kingdom.
While serving the life term in jail for plane-hijacking case, Sharif was also charged and sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for corruption and tax evasion charges. The ?Accountability Court of Pakistan has also disqualified him from holding any public office for 21 ?years, and fined him 20 million rupees, about 37 thousand US dollars.?
2007 return to Pakistan
On September 7, 2007, Justice Shabbir Hussain Chatha ordered police to arrest Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Nawaz Sharif and produce him before the court, after the hearing in Lahore. The court ruled that "Shahbaz Sharif should be arrested (at) whichever airport he lands at." Nawaz Sharif also faced detention on the pair's planned return from exile to Pakistan on September 10, 2007, to challenge President Pervez Musharraf's eight-year military rule.
On September 10, Nawaz Sharif arrived in Islamabad on a Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) flight from London but was prevented from leaving the plane as the authorities at the Islamabad Airport wanted to escort him to the arrival lounge. The rest of the passengers on board were allowed to deplane, and negotiations began with Sharif as he, along with his few supporters, did not want an escort and wanted to deplane themselves.
Sharif finally agreed to be taken out of the plane, and was taken to the arrival lounge and upon his arrival there he was approached by the National Accountability Bureau chief who issued a warrant due to corruption charges made against him. After that, there had been news that Nawaz Sharif had been boarded onto another airliner to be exiled back to Saudi Arabia. "He has been sent back," a senior security official told Agence France-Presse, as local television showed a PIA airplane carried deported Sharif from Islamabad airport.
On September 10, Nawaz Sharif landed at Jeddah airport and was greeted by Saudi intelligence chief Prince Miqren bin Abdul Aziz. Pakistan's Religious Affairs Minister Ijaz-ul Haq stated that "He has not only embarrassed Pakistan but also the leadership of Saudi Arabia by violating the agreement." The European Union asked the Pakistani government to respect the court ruling, for Sharif should have the chance to defend himself in a Pakistani court. In Washington, Sean McCormack of the White House (joined by India) stated that the deportation was an "internal matter" but said that elections should be "free and fair" (but expressing mild disapproval of Pervez Musharraf's action). But the United States organisation Human Rights Watch accused the Pakistan Government of violating international law. Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League condemned the deportation by filing a contempt suit in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. His brother Shahbaz Sharif was due to travel with Sharif from London but changed his plans at the last minute.
On November 25, 2007, several weeks after the return of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Sharif was able to return to Pakistan. He was not arrested and, like Bhutto, was able to return to political activity.
Preparations for 2008 Elections
Upon reaching Lahore, Sharif was greeted by a huge crowd of supporters. On November 26, 2007, Nawaz Sharif filed for the January Parliamentary elections. He handed in his papers in Lahore filing for two parliamentary seats.
On December 2, it was announced that Sharif would meet former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to discuss a possible boycott of the January 8 elections. Mr Sharif had stated that his party Pakistan Muslim League would not take part in the elections unless the judges sacked under emergency rule were reinstated.
On December 3, the Election Commission of Pakistan banned Sharif from taking part in the January 8 elections. A rival candidate complained to the commission citing Sharif's criminal charges. The commission upheld the complaint. Sharif had until Friday to appeal against the ban. An election commissioner Raja Qamaruzaman told Lahore newspapers that His (Nawaz's) nomination papers are rejected because of his convictions. In the case of his opposition rival Benazir Bhutto, President Pervez Musharraf signed into law the amnesty early in 2007 that cleared Ms Bhutto of all conviction charges. However this amnesty did not clear Mr Sharif, having been sentenced to ten years for aeroplane hijacking and terrorism when he attempted to prevent the PIA flight carrying Musharraf and Soomro and a plane full of ordinary passengers in 1999 from landing at Karachi.
On December 6, Mr Sharif attempted to meet former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry but was stopped by police. Mr Chaudhry was forced to leave office after refusing to swear allegiance to President Musharraf and also the authorities are preventing him from leaving his household. Sharif told the crowd that he had come to show support for the judges and will not rest until they were restored. Coming off the heels of meeting with former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto both opposition parties were in the process of negotiating what they called a charter of demands which they wanedt fulfilled if they were to take part in the January 8 elections. Mr Sharif wanted the re-instatement of the judges before the election takes place to be on the opposition's joint demands. However Benazir Bhutto claimed that this is an issue that parliament could address once the elections have been fought.
On December 7, it was confirmed by Nawaz Sharif that he would not appeal against the ban that was placed on him on December 3, and would not participate as a candidate in the January 8 elections. If Sharif appealed against the ban the matter would have been taken to the Pakistan High Court. Sharif said that he does not recognize this as legitimate because the judges were forced under the rule of President Musharraf. Sharif wrote to the Election Commission saying that he was being prevented from standing for political reasons.
Nawaz Sharif announced on December 10 that he would indeed participate in the January 8 elections. The PML-N made this decision after he failed to make a decision with opposition rival Benazir Bhutto and her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP); the two sides complained that elections would not be free and fair under emergency rule placed by President Musharraf on November 3, 2007. Mr Musharraf announced that emergency would end on December 15, a day earlier than planned. Mr Sharif's party would participate in the elections after 33 opposition parties including Ms Bhutto's PPP failed to reach a joint agreement. Mr Sharif announced his party's manifesto being a single demand for the restoration of the judges sacked in November by President Musharraf. Ms Bhutto however said that this is an issue that the new parliament can decide on.
On February 16, 2008 the initial last day of campaigning for Pakistan's political parties, Nawaz Sharif's PML-N party campaigned closely with assassinated former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party and her widower Asif Ali Zardari.
Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
On December 27, in a CNN interview just hours after the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Sharif said: “ This is not a sad day. This is the darkest and gloomiest day in the history of our country. ”
Amidst the shock of the death of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Sharif had announced that he would boycott the January 8, Pakistani general elections. Sharif called for President Pervez Musharraf to resign due to the lack of security leading up to Benazir Bhutto's death. Sharif rushed to the hospital where Bhutto was taken to and comforted her supporters and sat next to her body. Sharif called Bhutto his sister and vowed to avenge her death.
A few hours before the murder of Benazir Bhutto, four of Sharif's party workers had been shot dead at Karal Chowk in an attack on a procession to meet him. Gunmen were unidentified. Nawaz Sharif accused Musharraf supporters PML(Q) for the killings which was later identified to be untrue.
2008 elections and dominance in Punjab Assembly
However after the death of Bhutto, Sharif met with Zardari and advised him to boycott elections. Asif Zardari refused the offer and offered Nawaz to take part in the elections arguing that the opposition parties would definitely win after this chain of unfortunate events in the country and mishandling of issues by the government. Nawaz accepted the offer and announced it publicily in a press conference. He gave the reason that in order to bring the President's government down the whole opposition must assemble and move in one direction.
On Monday, February 18 the PML(N) dominated the Punjab assembly and won 65 seats out of 272 from the National Assembly finishing second, directly behind the PPP-P(Bhutto/Zardari's party) at 88. However, 18 independents have also filed to now join Sharif's party moving his seat number up from 65 to 83. The results became clear on February 19. His massive victory in Punjab was met by a festive mood. Later that day in a press conference he said that he would welcome the political leaders back to the parent party who had left his party and joined the PML(Q). Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto told February 21, 2008 their parties will work together in the national parliament after scoring big wins in the Pakistani general election, 2008. Pakistan leaders agree on coalition.
Tags:Nawaz Sharif, nawaz, sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Political party PML(N), pml(n) Number of Views: 2571
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