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Mian Nawaz Sharif

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Mian Nawaz Sharif

His Excellency
Nawaz Sharif
نواز شریف
File:A71AEDC9F-77A9-4D09-827D-77E6569BA4C7 mw1024 n s 04.jpg
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Assumed office
5 June 2013
President Asif Ali Zardari
Mamnoon Hussain
Preceded by Mir Hazar Khan Khoso (Acting)
In office
17 February 1997 – 12 October 1999
President Wasim Sajjad
Farooq Leghari
Muhammad Rafiq Tarar
Preceded by Malik Meraj Khalid (Acting)
Succeeded by Pervez Musharraf (Chief Executive)
In office
6 November 1990 – 18 July 1993
President Ghulam Ishaq Khan
Preceded by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi (Acting)
Succeeded by Moeenuddin Ahmad Qureshi (Acting)
Minister of Defence
Assumed office
7 June 2013
Preceded by Mir Hazar Khan Khoso (Acting)
In office
17 February 1997 – 12 October 1999
Preceded by Shahid Hamid (Acting)
Succeeded by Pervez Musharraf
Minister of Finance
In office
6 August 1998 – 7 November 1998
Preceded by Sartaj Aziz
Succeeded by Ishaq Dar
Leader of the Opposition
In office
19 October 1993 – 5 November 1996
Preceded by Benazir Bhutto
Succeeded by Benazir Bhutto
Chief Minister of Punjab
In office
9 April 1985 – 13 August 1990
Governor Ghulam Jilani Khan
Sajjad Hussain Qureshi
Tikka Khan
Preceded by Sadiq Hussain Qureshi
Succeeded by Ghulam Haider Wyne
Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Assumed office
27 July 2011
Preceded by Shahbaz Sharif
In office
6 October 1993 – 12 October 1999
Preceded by Fida Mohammad Khan
Succeeded by Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif
Personal details
Born Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif
(1949-12-25) 25 December 1949 (age 64)
Lahore, Pakistan
Political party Pakistan Muslim League (Before 1985)
Pakistan Muslim League-
Pakistan Muslim League-
Spouse(s) Begum Kalsoom Nawaz
Children Maryam
Residence Prime Minister's Secretariat (official)
Raiwind Palace (private)
Alma mater Government College University, Lahore
Punjab University Law College (University of the Punjab)
Religion Islam
Website Official website

Nawaz Sharif (Urdu, Punjabi: نواز شریف, pronounced [nəˈʋaːz ʃəˈriːf]; born 25 December 1949)[1] is a Pakistani politician and industrialist who has been Prime Minister of Pakistan since 2013. Previously he served as Prime Minister for two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993 and from February 1997 to October 1999. Sharif is the president of Pakistan Muslim League (N), which is currently Pakistan's largest political party, and has formed the government. As the owner of Ittefaq Group, a leading business conglomerate, he is also one of the country's wealthiest men.[2] He is commonly known as the "Lion of the Punjab"[3][4][5] or "Tiger of Pakistan."[6]

Sharif rose to prominence as part of General Zia-ul-Haq's military regime in the 1980s under the wing of Governor of Punjab Ghulam Jilani Khan. He was appointed Chief Minister of Punjab by Zia in 1985. After Zia's death and Benazir Bhutto's being elected Prime Minister in 1988, Sharif emerged as opposition leader from the conservative Pakistan Muslim League. When Benazir was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 on corruption charges, Sharif was elected Prime Minister the same year. But relations between Sharif and Ghulam Ishaq too deteriorated, with Ghulam Ishaq attempting to dismiss Sharif on similar charges. Sharif successfully challenged the President's decision in the Supreme Court,[7] but both men were ultimately persuaded to step down in 1993 by army chief Abdul Waheed Kakar.[7]

Serving as the Leader of the Opposition during Benazir's second tenure, Sharif was re-elected Prime Minister with a historic two-thirds majority in parliament,[8] after Benazir was again dismissed for corruption by new President Farooq Leghari.[8] Sharif replaced Leghari with Rafiq Tarar as President, then stripped the Presidency of its powers by passing the Thirteenth Amendment. He also controversially ordered Pakistan's first nuclear tests in response to neighbouring India's second nuclear tests.[9][10] When Western countries suspended foreign aid, Sharif froze the country's foreign currency reserves to prevent further capital flight, but this only worsened economic conditions.

With rising unemployment and record foreign debt,[11] Sharif's second term also saw tussles with the judiciary and army. After Sharif was summoned for contempt by the Supreme Court in 1997, party workers attacked the court and Chief Justice Syed Sajjad Ali Shah. Sharif also fell out with army chief Jehangir Karamat and replaced him with Pervez Musharraf in 1998,[11] but after Pakistan's haphazard performance in the Kargil War, relations between the two also deteriorated. When he attempted to relieve Musharraf from his command on 12 October 1999, the army instead ousted Sharif's government, exiling him to Saudi Arabia.[11]

Sharif returned in 2007, and his party contested elections in 2008, forming the provincial government in Punjab under Sharif's brother Shahbaz until 2013. He successfully called for Musharraf's impeachment and the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Between 2008 and 2013, Sharif was in opposition. In the 2013 Pakistani general election, his party achieved the largest number of votes and he formed a coalition to become the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan, returning to the position after fourteen years, in a democratic transition, for an unprecedented third time.[12]


Early life and education

Nawaz Sharif was born in the upper-middle class Sharif family in Lahore, Punjab on 25 December 1949.[1][13] The Sharif family are Punjabis of Kashmiri origin.[13] His father, Muhammad Sharif, was an upper middle-class businessman and industrialist who's family had emigrated from Anantnag in Kashmir for business, eventually settling in the village of Jati Umra in Amritsar district, Punjab in the beginning of the twentieth century. His mother's family originated from Pulwama.[14] Following the partition of India in 1947, his parents migrated from Amritsar to Lahore.[13] His father followed the teachings of the Ahl al-Hadith.[15] His family owns Ittefaq Group, a multimillion dollar steel conglomerate[16] and Sharif Group, a conglomerate company with holdings in agriculture, transport and sugar mills. He is married to Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif.[17] His brother Shahbaz Sharif is the incumbent Chief Minister of Punjab province while his nephew Hamza Shahbaz Sharif is a member of the National Assembly. His daughter Maryam Nawaz is also in politics and a leader of his party. One of his daughters is married to Ali Dar, who is a son of Ishaq Dar, the current finance minister of Pakistan.[14] The personal residence of the Sharif family, Raiwind Palace, is located in Jati Umra, Raiwind on the outskirts of Lahore.[18] He also has a residence in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia known as the Sharif Villa, where he lived during his years in exile.[19] His son, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, currently resides in the Jeddah house.[20]

He went to Saint Anthony High School. He graduated from the Government College University, Lahore with an art and business degree and then received a law degree from the Punjab University Law College.[21][22]

Initial political career

Nawaz Sharif started his political career during the period of nationalisation policies introduced by former Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[13] The Sharif family were financially devastated after discovering that the family steel business was lost into the hands of the government as a result of Bhutto's nationalisation of the economy, and Sharif jumped into national politics soon after.[13] In 1976, Sharif politically motivated himself and joined the Pakistan Muslim League, a conservative front rooted in the Punjab province. He initially focused on regaining control of his steel industry from the hands of the government.[13] In May 1980 Ghulam Jilani Khan, the recently appointed Governor of the Punjab Province and a former Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), initiated a search for new urban leaders, and Sharif was one of the men he found and promoted, quickly making him Finance Minister of the Punjab.[23] In 1981, Sharif joined the Punjab Advisory Board under General Zia-ul-Haq and principally rose to public and political prominence as a staunch proponent of the military government of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq during the 1980s.[13]

He maintained close relations with the Zia-ul-Haq, who soon agreed to return to him his private steel mill which had been lost during the wave of nationalisation by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[13] Sharif maintained an alliance with General Rahimuddin Khan, who was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. During his political career, Sharif also had close ties with the Director-General of ISI, Lieutenant-General (retired) Hamid Gul, who played a substantial role in the formation of the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) – a conservative political alliance that supported Sharif.[13]

Sharif invested a large capital in Saudi Arabia and other oil-resource rich Arab countries in the Middle East to restart his steel empire.[24] According to personal accounts and his time spent with Sharif, American historian Stephen Philips Cohen states in his book "Idea of Pakistan": "Nawaz Sharif never forgave Bhutto after his steel empire was lost into the hands of Bhutto; and even after [Bhutto's] terrible end, Sharif publicly refused to forgive the soul of Bhutto and the Pakistan Peoples Party."[24] After coming into national power in 1990, Sharif attempted a reversal of Bhutto's nationalisation policies, introducing an economy based on privatization and economic liberalisation.[24]

Punjab Advisory Council

In 1981, he initially joined as a member of the Punjab Advisory Council[21] under General Ghulam Jilani Khan, the Governor of the Province.[23] Since his early career, Sharif has been a strong vocal of capitalism and strongly opposed its inverse, the nationalisation.[13] In 1980s, Sharif gained influence on General Zia-ul-Haq who had previously agreed to return his steel industry to him, convincing the General to denationalise and deregulate the industries in order to improve the economy.[13] Under the Military government of Lieutenant-General Ghulam Jilani Khan, Sharif was appointed as the provisional finance minister and successfully attempted to denationalise all of the government-owned industries to private sector.[21] As provincial finance minister, he presented development-oriented budgets to the military government.[21] As Finance minister, Sharif gained prominence and fame in Punjab Province which also extended the rule of General Ghulam Jillani, as he improved the law and order situation in Punjab Province.[13] Financial policies drafted and approved by Sharif, who was backed by General Zia, Punjab Province benefited with the better financial capital and purchasing power of Punjab Province's locals were greatly and exponentially improved. Punjab Province having Sharif as Finance minister, received many funds by the federal government than any other provinces of Pakistan, which also contributed in economical inequality between Punjab Province and other provinces.[13] Due to its huge financial capital in 1980s, Punjab Province was Pakistan's richest province and Punjab Province's better standard of living comparing to other provinces.[13]

Chief Minister of Punjab

In 1985 General Ghulam Jilani Khan nominated Sharif as Chief Minister of the Punjab, against the wishes of the new prime minister, Muhammad Khan Junejo, who wanted a rural candidate, Malik Allahyar.[23] Sharif secured the landslide victory during the non-political parties 1985 elections and became Chief Minister of Punjab with the support of the army.[13] He served for two consecutive terms as Chief Minister of Punjab Province, the most populous province of Pakistan.[25] Because of his vast popularity, he received the nickname "Lion of the Punjab".[26] As chief minister, he stressed welfare and development activities and the maintenance of law and order.[21]

The provincial martial law Administrator of Punjab Province, Lieutenant-General Ghulam Jilani Khan sponsored the government of Nawaz Sharif, and Sharif built his ties with the senior army generals who would remain supportive and sponsored Sharif's ministership.[21] General Jilani Khan made much headway in beautifying Lahore, extending military infrastructure, and muting political opposition, while Sharif maintained the law and order in the province, expanded the economical infrastructure that not only benefited and also the people of Punjab province.[21] In 1985, General Zia dismissed the government of hand-picked Prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo, and called for new elections.[21] However, with all the provisional and the national assemblies were dissolved, General Zia-ul-Haq retained Sharif as the Chief Minister of Punjab Province, and continued Sharif's support until his death and the elections were held in 1988.[21]

1988 elections

After General Zia's death in August 1988, Zia's political party–Pakistan Muslim League (Pagara Group)–split into two factions.[27] Sharif led the Zia loyalist Fida Group against the Junejo Group, led by prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo.[27] The Fida Group later took on the mantle of the PML while the Junejo Group became known as the JIP.[27] The two parties along with seven other right-wing conservatives and religious parties united with encouragement and funding from the ISI to form the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI).[27] The alliance was co-led by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi and Sharif to oppose Benazir Bhutto's PPP in the elections.[27] The IJI gained substantial majorities in the Punjab and Sharif was reelected Chief Minister of Punjab.[27]

In December 1989, Sharif decided to remain in the provincial Punjab Assembly rather than hold a seat in the National Assembly.[28] In early 1989, the PPP government failed to unseat Sharif through a no-confidence motion in the Punjab Assembly.[27] Sharif retained control by a vote of 152 to 106.[27]

First term as prime minister (1990–93)

The conservative forces for the first times in the country's history, came into the power under a democratic system, under the leadership of the Nawaz Sharif.[29] Nawaz Sharif became the 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan on 1 November 1990 as well as he was the head of IJI and succeeded Benazir Bhutto as Prime minister.[29] IJI had been created and funded by the Zia loyalist in the ISI, it received Rs 15 million from the ISI.[30] He campaigned on a conservative platform and vowed to reduce government corruption.[29] He focused on improving the nation's infrastructure and spurred the growth of digital telecommunication.[29] He privatised government banks and opened the door for further industrial privatisation, and disbanded Zulfikar Bhutto's policies.[29] He legalised foreign money exchange to be transacted through private money exchangers.[29] His privatisation policies were continued by both Benazir Bhutto in mid-1990s and Shaukat Aziz as well in 2000s.[29]

Conservative policies

Sharif took steps to initiate Islamization and conservatism at once.[29] The continuation of conservative change in Pakistan society was encouraged, a policy started by Zia ul Haq. Reforms were made to introduce fiscal conservatism, supply-side economics, bioconservatism and religious conservatism in Pakistan.[29]

He raised the issue of Kashmir in international forums and worked toward a peaceful transfer power in Afghanistan so as to help end the rampant trading of illicit drugs and weapons across the border.[29] Sharif intensified General Zia-ul-Haq's controversial Islamization policies, and 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 Religion to prepare reports and recommendations for steps taken toward Islamization. He ensured the establishment of three committees.[29]

  • Ittehad-e-bain-ul-Muslemeen (Unity of Muslims Bloc)
  • Nifaz-e-Shariat Committee (Sharia Establishment Committee)
  • Islamic Welfare Committee

He believed in forming a Muslim Bloc by uniting all Central Asian Muslim countries thus he extended the membership of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) to all Central Asian countries.[29] Nawaz Sharif was confident that he had majority in the assembly thus he ruled with considerable confidence. He had disputes with three successive army chiefs.[29] Sharif took the issue of environmentalism as part of his government platform, and established the Environmental Protection Agency in 1997, as part of his environmental conservatism policy.[31]

Domestic issues

Following the imposition and passing of the Resolution 660, Resolution 661, and the Resolution 665, Sharif sided with the United Nations on Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.[32] A major international incident took place in the Middle East with Iraq invading the Kuwait which dismayed the world. Sharif's government criticised Iraq for invading the fellow Muslim country, which led to strained the Pakistan's relationships with Iraq.[32] The relationships continued to be strained as Pakistan seek to tighten its relations with Iran, and his foreign policy continued by Benazir Bhutto, Pervez Musharraf until the removal of Saddam Hussain in 2003.[32]

Sharif contended with former Chief of Army Staff General Mirza Aslam Beg over the 1991 Gulf War (See Operation Desert Storm).[32] Under the direction of General Beg, Pakistan Armed Forces actively participated in the conflict and the Army Special Service Group and the Naval Special Service Group was rushed to Saudi Arabia in order to provide intense security to Saudi royal family.[32] Sharif also contended the upcoming Chief of Army Staff General Asif Nawaz over the paramilitary operation in Sindh Province (See Operation Clean-Up).[32]

Sharif, during his first term, founded difficult working with PPP and the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), a potent force in Karachi.[33] The MQM and PPP opposed Sharif widely due to his focused on beautifying Punjab and Kashmir while neglecting Sindh.[33] The MQM, a liberal force, also opposed Sharif's conservatism. The clash between liberalism and conservatism soon forces soon erupted in 1992 when political tension began to arise in which both party renegading ideological war against each other.[33] Despite MQM had formed government with Sharif, more and more problems were mounted between Sharif and the MQM in 1992.[33] Sharif's government members passed the resolution in the Parliament, to launch the paramilitary operation to end the cold war between PML-N and MQM.[33] During this time, the centre left Pakistan Peoples Party remained quiet and neutral while watching the impact of the cold war between liberal and conservative forces.[33] Prime minister Sharif also contended this upcoming operation with Chief of Army Staff General Asif Navaz over the paramilitary operation in Sindh Province (See Operation Clean-Up).[32] Launched in 1992, violence erupted in Karachi and brought an economic halt in the country that dismantle Sharif's industrialisation and investment that was being brought by Sharif.[33] Benazir Bhutto, during the course of this episode, remained silent as she too had opposed the MQM.[33] His operation continued by Benazir also, but due to amid pressure exerted by her brother Murtaza Bhutto, the operation came to halt.[33] The period of 1992–1994 is considered the bloodiest years in the history of the city, with many went missing.[33]

During his second term, Altaf Hussain decided to join with Sharif and tried to reach a compromise, Soon after the 1997 parliamentary elections, MQM joined with Sharif but this alliance fall apart following the assassination of Hakim Said.[33] Therefore, the Prime minister kicked the MQM out of the government on immediate effect and assumed the control of Karachi. MQM was forced to continued its political activities underground.[33] This action led Sharif to claim the exclusive mandate of entire Pakistan, and for the first time in his political career, Sharif and his party had the control of Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber, Kashmir and the Punjab Provinces.[33]

Industrialization and privatisation

Main articles: Spontaneous phase, Privatization Programme and Economic liberalisation in Pakistan

Shortly after assuming the office of prime minister, Sharif announced his economic policy under the programme called, the "National Economic Reconstruction Programme" (NERP).[29] This programme introduced an extreme level of the Western-styled capitalist economic system.[29]

Acknowledged since that the unemployment had became Pakistan's greatest disadvantage in economic growth and that only industrial and privatisation growth could solve the economic slow down.[29] An intensified Privatization Programme was commenced, embarked and presided by Sharif, in a vision to "turning Pakistan into a (South) Korea by encouraging greater private saving and investment to accelerate economic growth.".[34] In 1990, Sharif announced the nuclear policy and aimed to continue the peaceful atomic programme benefit for country's economic infrastructure. Sharif expanded and industrialised the nuclear energy program in entire country and peaceful and economic infrastructure was extensively built by him by the 1990s.[29] Many of the nuclear medicine and nuclear engineering projects were completed under his government as part of Sharif's Atoms for Peace program.

The privatisation programme came as a direct response to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the Peoples party led by Benazir and, for instance, Sharif's spontaneous privatisation programme was swift as nationalisation programme of peoples party in 1970s.[35] However Prime minister Sharif lacked the charisma and personality of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto but countered Bhutto's ideology with full force, by imitating him.[35] During the period of 1990–93, around 115 nationalised industries were put under private-ownership management but this programme came with highest surrounding controversies with lacked competition as the programme was largely controlled by favoured insider.[35] The recklessness and favouritism shown in privatisation of the industrial and banking units by Prime minister Nawaz Sharif was to become the hallmark and the rise of strong business oligarch who have concentrated enormous assets, further increasing the wealth gap in Pakistan and contributing to the political instability.[35]

Sharif also upgraded the Islamic laws such as Shariat Ordinance and Bait-ul-Maal (to help poor orphans widows) to drive the country on the model of an Islamic welfare state.[29] Sharif family was an affectee of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's nationalisation policy.[29] A number of important industries, such as Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, Pakistan International Airlines, Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation, and Pakistan State Oil were opened up to the private sector.[29] In 1990, Prime minister Sharif successfully privatised the National Development Finance Corporation[29]

He introduced and inaugurated several large scale projects to stimulate the economy, such as the Ghazie-Barotah Hydropower plant and the.[29] However, unemployment remained a challenge, therefore Sharif imported thousands of privatised Yellow-cab taxis to many young Pakistanis, but this program came at a cost.[29] Few of the loans were repaid by the government and Sharif founded it difficult to privatised these taxis at low rate, since the young and poor could not afford at higher price.[29] However, Sharif indeed privatised these taxis at low rate and his steel industry was forced to pay the remaining cost.[29] During his first and second term, Sharif intensified his policies of industrialisation and privatisation of major industries that were nationalised by former Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[29] Undoing what was previously done in 1970s remained a challenge for Sharif but, despite the economical slow down, Sharif reverted major policies of Bhutto and under short span of time, 90% of the industries were industrialised and privatised by him.[29] This radical move did had positive impact on country's economy and the economy progressed at an appropriate level.[29] Sharif policies were also continued by Benazir Bhutto, who nationalised only those industries that needed a government bail out plan, and by Pervez Musharraf and Shaukat Aziz in 2000s who managed to privatised all of the major industries by the end his term in 2008.[29]

As his second term, Prime minister Sharif built the largest Pakistan first major motorway which is known as M2 Motorway (3MM), and it is often called as Autobahns of South Asia.[29] This semi-government and semi-privatized mega project was completed in November 1997 at a cost of U.S. $989.12 million.[29] His critics questions the lay out of the highway due to excessive length, being away from the important cities and absence of link roads even with important towns. Furthermore the funds originally allocated to the construction of Indus Highway linking Peshawar with Karachi were shifted to M2 Motorway thus benefiting his native Punjab and Kashmir provinces at the cost of other provinces. When the true nature of Sharif's motives were exposed, the people of other provinces were extremely displeased, leading to discordance and disharmony among provinces. The welfare of other provinces, notable Sindh and Balochistan Province, were not seriously taken by Sharif and his ruling chief ministers and people of these provinces were disenchanted with him. After the completion of this mega project, Sharif’s policies were undermined by lack of capital for investments.[29] There was an influx of foreign capital when he loosened foreign exchange restrictions and opened Karachi Stock Exchange to foreign capital, but the government remained short of funds for investments.[29]

During his first term, Sharif focused his industrialisation on Punjab and Kashmir Provinces, mild and few projects were completed in Khyber and Balochistan provinces. While, the Sindh Province did not benefit with his industrialisation.[29] After receiving intense criticism by Pakistan Peoples Party and the liberal-secular Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), Sharif launched the Orangi Cottage Industrial Zone which was completed and finally inaugurated by him.[29] However, prime minister's reputation in Sindh was widely damaged because of his focused on beautifying Lahore and Kashmir while he neglected other provinces.[29] Sharif's industrialisation are also target by his opponents as it was focused and circled only on Punjab and Kashmir, Sharif's native provinces.[36] His opponents argued that Sharif, as prime minister, obtained permits for building factories for himself and his business.[29] Sharif is also blamed for expanding and finance Armed Forces' secretive industrial conglomerate and, is also blamed for bribing the generals to protected himself.[36]

Sharif gave strong and vehement criticism to former Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's socialist economics policies, as citing as "lamentable state of Pakistan".[36] His privatisation policies were staunchly criticised by former science advisor Dr. Mubashir Hassan, calling it Sharif's privatisation "unconstitutional".[36] Other PPP members also stood the fact that nationalisation measures were protected by the Parliament who gave this policy a constitutional picture and status. The Peoples Party felt the privatisation policies where illegal and taking place with out parliamentary approval and parliament was not taken in confidence.[36]

By the end of the second term of Sharif government, the economy in a turmoil that damaged Sharif's credibility. Facing serious structural issues and financial problems, the inflation and the foreign debt stood at an all-time high and the unemployment that reached at its highest point in the history of Pakistan. Pakistan had debts $32bn against reserves of little more than $1bn. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) had suspended aid demanding the country finances are sorted out. Sharif attempted to control the Stock Exchanges under government's control, but that move backfired brutally on Sharif and by the time Sharif was deposed, the country was heading for a financial default.

Science policy

Sharif took steps for intense government control of science in Pakistan and the projects needed his authorisation.[37] In 1991, Sharif founded and authorised the Pakistan Antarctic Programme under the scientific directions of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), with the Pakistan Navy's Weapons Engineering Division, and first established the Jinnah Antarctic Station and the Polar Research Cell. In 1992, Pakistan became an Associate Member of Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research which was signed by his Science Adviser Munir Ahmed Khan at United Nations. As like Benazir, the ongoing nuclear weapons and the energy program remained one of his top priority.[37] Sharif countered the international pressure, and followed the same suit as Benazir's, and refused to make compromise to halt the program despite the United States having offered a large economic aid to Pakistan.[37] Unlike Benazir, Sharif's nuclear policy was seen less aggressive towards India and focused the atomic programme for the benefit of public usage and civil society. Unlike Benazir's nuclear policy, his set forth nuclear policy was to built civil and peaceful nuclear power, and with that vision, Sharif intensively used the integrated atomic programme for medical and economic purposes. His nuclear policy was viewed by experts as vintage Atoms for Peace program— the United States' 1950s program to use the nuclear energy for civil purposes, and to promote peaceful nuclear technology in the world as well.

In 1993, Sharif authorised to establish the Institute of Nuclear Engineering (INE) and promoted his policy for the peaceful use of nuclear energy. On 28 July 1997, Sharif declared 1997 a year of science in Pakistan, and personally allotted funds for the 22nd INSC College on Theoretical Physics. In 1999, Sharif signed the executive decree, declaring the day of 28 May as the National Science Day in Pakistan.

Atomic policy

On 7 November 1990, the newly elected prime minister announced his nuclear policy and in public television, Sharif responded that: "The peaceful [atomic] programme of which... it would be accelerated to accommodate growing [nuclear] [e]nergy needs and to make up for rising [oil] prices. And, of course, (Pakistan) will to construct new nuclear power plants.[38] On 26 November, Sharif authorised talks with the U.S. to solve the nuclear crises after the U.S. had tightened its embargo on Pakistan, prompting Sharif to send his government's Treasure Minister Sartaj Aziz to held talks on Washington.[38] It was widely reported in Pakistan that the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Teresita Schaffer had told the Foreign Minister Shahabzada Yaqub Khan to halt the uranium enrichment programme.[38]

In December, France's Commissariat à l'énergie atomique agreed to provide a commercial 900MW power plant, but plans did not materialise as France wanted Pakistan to provide entire financial funds for the plant.[38] On December, the financial embargo was placed and the country's economy felt a distress that prompted Sharif to replace his Treasure minister.[38] Sharif then used Munir Ahmad Khan to have convinced IAEA to allow Pakistan for a nuclear plant in Chashman where Khan intensively lobbied in IAEA for the nuclear power plant.[38] In December 1990, IAEA allowed Pakistan to established CHASNUPP-I, signed with China; the IAEA also gave approval of upgrading of the KANUPP-I in 1990.[38] During his first term, Sharif intensified his non-nuclear weapon policy and strictly followed the policy of deliberate nuclear ambiguity which was also continued by Benazir as well.[38] Responding to U.S. embargo, Sharif publicly announced that: "Pakistan possessed no [atomic] bomb... Pakistan would be happy to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) but it must be provided "first" to India to do the same.[38]

Sharif intensified his move to enhance the Pakistan's integrated nuclear development and authorised projects that seemed to be important in his point of views.[37] Sharif also promoted the peaceful nuclear energy programme, and signed the CHASNUPP-I reactor with People's Republic of China for the commercial electricity use.[37] Sharif also responded to use the nuclear development in more of economical usage, benefited for the country's economy and its extension to the civil society.[37] His policies to make the nuclear program for economical use was also continued by Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf.[37]

1992 Co-operatives societies scandal

Sharif also lost support from the Punjab Province and Kashmir Province as well when the co-operatives societies scandal became public.[29] Co-operatives societies accept deposits from members and can legally make loans only to members for purposes that are to the benefit of the society and its members.[29] However, mismanagement of these societies led to a collapse in which millions of Pakistanis lost money in 1992.[29] In Sharif’s native Punjab Province and the Kashmir Province, around 700,000 people mostly poor people lost all their savings when the states cooperatives societies went bankrupt. It was soon discovered that the society had granted billions of rupees to the Ittefaq Group of Industries— Sharif's owned Steel mill. Though Ittefaq Group's management hurriedly repaid the loans to the affectees, but the Prime minister's reputation was severely damaged.[29]

1993 Constitutional Crises

In 1993, Sharif survived a serious constitutional crises when it was reported that Sharif developed serious issues over the authority with another national conservative president Ghulam Ishaq Khan.[39] Before 1993 Parliamentary election, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on 18 April 1993, with the support of the Pakistan Army, used his reserve powers (58-2b) (See 8th Amendment) to dissolve the National Assembly, the lower house. Khan appointed Mir Balakh Scher as the interim prime minister. When the news reached to Sharif, he forcefully rejected to accept this act and moved to Supreme Court of Pakistan, an apex court in Pakistan. In 26 May 1993, Sharif returned to power after the Supreme Court ruled that the Presidential Order as unconstitutional and reconstituted the National Assembly on its immediate effect. The Court ruled, 10–1, that the president could dissolve the assembly only if a constitutional breakdown had occurred and that the government's incompetence or corruption was irrelevant.[39]

End of First Term

However, issues with the president over the authority circled and a subsequent political stand off was instigated between president and Prime minister. Finally, on July 1993, Sharif resigned under pressure from the Pakistan Armed Forces but negotiated a settlement that resulted in the removal of president Ghulam Ishaq Khan as well. In July 1993, Chief of Army Staff General Abdul Vahied Kakar and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Shamim Allam forced president Ishaq Khan to resign from the presidency and subsequently ended the political standoff. Under the close scrutiny of the Pakistan Armed Forces, the new interim and transitional government was formed and new parliamentary election were held after three months.[39]

Parliamentary opposition (1993–96)

New elections were held in the year of 1993 and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), under Benazir Bhutto, returned to power for the third time. Sharif conceded defeat and offered his full co-operation as Leader of the Opposition but soon the PPP and PML-N again came at loggerheads in the Parliament. Benazir's government found it difficult to act effectively in the face of opposition from Sharif. Benazir Bhutto also faced problems with her younger brother, Murtaza Bhutto, in her stronghold, Sindh Province.[39]

Sharif joined with Benazir's younger brother Murtaza Bhutto and formed a political axis that worked tirelessly to undermine Benazir Bhutto's government and tapped an anti-corruption wave in entire Pakistan. The Nawaz-Bhutto axis targeted the Benazir Bhutto's government corruption in major state corporations and blamed Benazir's government for slowing down the economic progress. In 1994 to 1995, Sharif with Murtaza Bhutto began a "Train March", a phenomenon founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,taking them from Karachi to Peshawar during which huge crowds listened to their critical speeches. Sharif played a major part in organising labour and industrial strikes throughout Pakistan in September and October 1994. following the controversial death of Murtaza Bhutto in 1996, amid protests and spontaneous demonstrations in Sindh Province had led the Benazir's government losing control of the province. By 1996, Benazir Bhutto had become widely unpopular, in entire Pakistan, because of her high levels of government corruption and alleged involvement of her spouse role in her younger brother's death which led to their ouster in October 1996.[39]

Second term as prime minister (1997–99)

By 1996, the national economy has came under the intense situation and deadlock, and an economic failure was soon near.[40] The continuous and large-scale of government corruption made by either Benazir Bhutto and her appointed government ministers had deteriorated the country's economy at the extreme level.[40] In the 1997 parliamentary elections, Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) won a landslide victory in the elections, brutally defeating Benazir Bhutto and her People's party.[40] Commenting on his victory, the Pakistan media and the people of Pakistan hoped that Sharif would provide a conservative but a stable government benefit for Pakistan as he promised earlier.[40] Besides Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, no other leader, in the history of Pakistan, has enjoyed his level of popularity, and received the exclusive mandate from all over the Pakistan to improve the all over conditions in Pakistan at same time.[40] As commentary, 1997 election resulted to boost Navaz popularity and was mandate onerous task to improve the country's economy.[40] Navaz defeated Benazir Bhutto with overwhelmingly voting numbers and it was the worst defeat of Bhutto and People's party since its inception.[40] After the elections, Navaz arrived to Islamabad where he met with large crowd of spontaneous and jubilant people supporting for Nawaz, it took more than 13 hours for Nawaz Sharif to reach to Islamabad in order to take the oath.[40][41] Sharif was sworn as prime minister in the early morning of on 17 February to serve a non-consecutive second term.[42] With the passing of the 14th amendment, Sharif emerged as the most powerful elected prime minister in the country since its independence in 1947, and no other leader has enjoyed the his level of extreme popularity.[40]

Atomic policy

During the 1997 elections, Sharif promised to follow his policy of nuclear ambiguity with the programme more benefited to people, and to use nuclear energy to stimulate the power in the country.[43] However, on 17 September 1997, Sharif acknowledged the fact that atomic bomb project which was started and successfully concluded in 1978, his interview was taken by the STN News which was broadcast in entire country before his state visit to United States. Sharif maintained that:

The issue of [atomic] capability is an established fact. [H]ence the debate on this [atomic] [i]ssue should come to an end.... Since 1972, [P]akistan had progressed significantly, and we have left that stage (developmental) far behind. Pakistan will not be made a "hostage" to India by signing the CTBT, before (India).
—Nawaz Sharif, Prime minister of Pakistan, statement on September 7, 1997[43]

On 1 December, after returning from United States, Sharif then told the Daily Jang and The News International that Pakistan will immediately sign and become a party of Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) but, if and only if, India signed, ratified and, becomes a part of CTBT first.[43]

Under his leadership, the nuclear program had became vital part of Pakistan's economical policy as the program had became back-bone of economy of Pakistan in 1998.[37] Sharif's willingness of signing the CTBT was seen as betraying country's atomic programme, and received intense criticism from Pakistan's opposition parties, as well as Pakistan Armed Forces.[43] Scientists such as Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Abdul Qadeer Khan also lobbied against Sharif's willingness of signing the CTBT in public circles, and scientific community which both public and the scientific community widely disapproved his views.[43]

1998 nuclear tests

Main articles: Chagai-I and Chagai-II

The may be it is true executive authorisation of Pakistan's nuclear testing programme was an important turning point in his political career that would bring his image into world prominence. Soon, after the prime minister learned the surprise tests conducted by India, codename Pokhran-II in May 1998, though the media.[9] Judging from country's economic situation and financial troubles, Sharif did not favour nor he opposed the authorisation of the nuclear testing programme. According the former senior scientist dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, Prime minister was hesitant to authorise the atomic testing programme despite the Parliament having given him the go-ahead for the tests. But, Sharif came under pressure to authorise the atomic testing programme after the momentum began to build in Pakistan.[9]

In his first term, Sharif funded Pakistan's nuclear, missile and space programme, as well as allotted funds for the science research, particularly its extension to defence. In May 1998, soon after Indian nuclear tests, Sharif vowed that his country would give a suitable reply to the Indians.[44] On 14 May, Leader of the Opposition Benazir Bhutto and MQM publicly called for the nuclear tests and the public calls for the nuclear test as well began to take place in Pakistan.[45] When India tested its nuclear weapons the second time, it caused a great alarm in Pakistan and pressure mounted to built on the Prime minister. On 15 May 1998, Sharif called and chaired a National Security Council meeting in Prime minister Secretariat.[45] The Pakistan Armed Forces left the matter to elected Prime minister, though Prime minister Sharif put the Pakistan Armed Forces on high-alert.[45] The discussions went on for a few hours and encompassed the financial, diplomatic, military, strategic and national security concerns.[45] At this sensitive meeting, it has had two important agendas; first, whether or not Pakistan should conduct its nuclear tests in order to respond to Indian nuclear aggression. And, secondly, if the nuclear testing program does go ahead then which of the government science organisations— the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission or Kahuta Research Laboratories— conduct the nuclear testing as well as leading the nuclear testing program.

"Conduct the explosion.!"

—Prime minister Nawaz Sharif ordering Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission to conduct Nuclear weapons tests, 1998, [9]

Mushahid Hussain Syed, Media Minister, was the first person to propose the tests, while, Sartaj Aziz who was the Treasure Minister that time, was the only person in the meeting who opposed the tests on financial grounds due to the economic recession, the low foreign exchange reserves of the country and the effect of inevitable economic sanctions which would be imposed on Pakistan if it carried out the tests. When it comes to voting, the prime minister did not oppose or propose the tests. The remainder spoke in favour of conducting the tests.[45]

Nuclear physicist Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and metallurgical engineer Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan of Kahuta Research Laboratories equally presented their point of views, and approached for the permission from the Prime minister.[45] The meeting concluded without any resolution of the two agenda points. On 16 May, senior scientist dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan had briefed the prime minister on key weapon-grade explosives issues and also briefed on the latest situation on Pakistan's different weapon-testing laboratories at that time.[44] On the morning of 17 May 1998, Sharif summoned Ishfaq Ahmad and asked him for his opinion on two points discussed on 15 May.[45] Dr. Ahmed told the prime minister that the decision to test or not to test was that of the Government of Pakistan.[45] Ahmad also acknowledged that PAEC was ready for the capability of carrying out the tests.[45] Sharif then concluded that eyes of the world were focused on Pakistan and failure to conduct the tests would put the credibility of the Pakistan's nuclear deterrence programme in doubt.[45] Dr. Ahmad then said, "Conducting a nuclear test is a highly political decision, and no matter the wish of scientific community may be, the political leadership of the country will have its say.... Mr. Prime Minister, take a [decision], then I give you the [g]uarantee of success."[45] Initially, the Prime minister waited to see the world reaction on India's nuclear tests, while observing the embargo placed on Indian economy, which had no placed no effects.[46] Prime minister Sharif, at first, was hesitant towards the nuclear test program and its economical turn out if the tests are ordered.[46] Few days after the Indian tests, Indian Home Minister Lal Kishanchand Advani and Defence Minister George Fernandes issued foolish taunts and threatening statements towards Pakistan, which angered the prime minister.[46]

On 18 May, Prime minister Sharif ordered PAEC to make preparation for the tests, but remain on stand-by for the final decision.[45] In his own words, Sharif called dr. Ishfaq Ahmad and ordered him, "Conduct the explosion!".[9] Simultaneously, Sharif's ordered, the XII Corps, Southern Naval Command, National Logistics Cell, and No. 6 Squadron Globe Trotters were put on high-alert to provide the necessary support to the PAEC in this regard.[9] On 21 May, Sharif issued orders to conduct nuclear tests as a suitable reply to India, and authorised the nuclear weapon testing program the same day.[46] A Boeing-737 airline from Pakistan International Airlines was readily made available for PAEC scientists, engineers, and technicians to Balochistan.[45]

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and scientists and engineers from KRL were also told to be stay alert and were also sent to Balochistan along with PAEC.[45] On the early morning of 27 May 1998, the ISI spotted camouflage F-16s were spotted conducting exercises; the ISI quickly got the word that the Israeli fighters, flying on behalf of India were inbound to take out Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.[47] When Sharif heard the news, he angrily ordered PAF to be scrambled and rolled its nuclear bombs out of their shelters in preparation to launch. But on the night of 27 May, the United States and other nations assured Nawaz Sharif that "Pakistan was safe, the Israeli attack never materialized", according to political scientist dr. Shafik H. Hashmi.[47]

Finally, Pakistan carried out its successful nuclear tests on 28 May 1998 (codename Chagai-I), and on 30 May 1998 (codename Chagai-II), in response to the Indian detonation of six nuclear devices roughly two weeks before.[9][45] After these test, the Prime minister appeared on Pakistan Television Corporation and took the nation on confidence and addressed the world:

If [Pakistan] had wanted, she (Pakistan) would have conducted nuclear tests 15–20 years ago.... but the abject poverty of the people of the region dissuaded... [Pakistan] from doing so. But the [w]orld, instead of putting pressure on (India)... not to take the destructive road.... imposed all kinds of sanctions on [Pakistan] for no fault of her..... If (Japan) had its own nuclear capability.. (cities of)... Hiroshima and Nagasaki would not have suffered atomic destruction at the hands of the... United States.
—Nawaz Sharif—Prime minister, on May 30, 1998, televised at PTV[48]

Economical effects of tests

After weeks of anticipation, Pakistan surprised the world by conducting its own nuclear tests.[45] Sharif's popularity in Pakistan increased. While he was being hailed as nationalist, Sharif proclaimed an emergency on the same day as these nuclear tests were conducted, which dismayed the public. All foreign currency accounts in Pakistani banks were frozen to minimise the effects of economic sanctions. This was detrimental to the account holders.

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 programme. Under his premiership, Pakistan became the first Muslim country and seventh nation to become a nuclear power.[45]

Political effects of tests

Main article: Youm-e-Takbeer

In spite of the intense international criticism and the steady decline in foreign investment and trade, these six nuclear tests were popular domestically and the Sharif's popularity and the PML (N)'s prestige rose in response.[45] After appearing on national television and taking the nation of confidence, the tests were greeted with great jubilation and large-scale approval of Sharif's decision by the civil society.[49] On 30 May, Sharif appeared after immediately the tests, and informed the world, "Today, we have settled a score and have carried out six successful nuclear tests".[9] Newspapers and television channels praised Sharif and his government for its bold decision; editorials were full of praise for the country's leadership and advocated the development of an operational nuclear deterrence for the country, despite a small scale anti-nuclear sentiments criticised the nuclear testings which was forcefully silenced by the emerging public opinion favouring Sharif and the nuclear tests.[49] Soon after the atomic tests on 1515hrs (28 May) and 1315hrs (30 May), Sharif immediately called for a joint-parliamentary session at Parliament House Building on emergency basis calling all of the public legislators to the Parliament from the entire country to gather at the Parliament, where Sharif would take the parliament on confidence after presenting a short speech.[48]

Today, we have settled a score and have carried out six successful nuclear tests"

—Prime minister Nawaz Sharif announcing the tests on May 30, 1998, [9]

On the day of atomic testing, the military and public policy makers, lawmakers and legislators, senior journalists, and the influential members of the civil society at the Parliament strongly chaired for the tests, loud slogans and songs of "Pakistan Zindabad" (long live Pakistan) were sung, and the tribute to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was heavily paid by the parliamentarians from all political parties of Pakistan.[45] The parliamentarians and the Leader of the Opposition Benazir Bhutto had also congratulated prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Armed Forces thanking for making its "bold decision" in spite of whatever the economical outcomes were.[48] Political scientist and geostrategist Javed Hashmi was clearly heard saying: "Yes! Yes!.... We have done it.", while he was tapping his parliament desk. The Peoples Party also chaired this moment when Ameen Faheem was heard saying: "We gave the same medicines to [Indians].". On its effects on India, the politicians in Indian parliament erupted into shouting as opposition leaders blamed the government for starting a nuclear arms race.[9]

The Pakistan Academy of Sciences also thanked Sharif and his government for having been given the opportunity to prove their capabilities.[49] As in return, Sharif established the National Center for Theoretical Physics (NCTP) and inaugurated the Abdus Salam Museum in 1999.[49] According to Benazir Bhutto who calculated her rival's level of political popularity after ordering the tests asserted, that these tests had erased the existed doubts and fear from the minds of people of Pakistan who questioned Pakistan's deterrence capability after 1971 collapse.[50] Even as of today, Sharif and his party takes all the credit for authorising these tests, and annually held celebrating public functions in all over the country. Without any doubts, Sharif posed to became Pakistan's most favourable and strongest Prime minister since 1974, and the political prestige of Nawaz Sharif was at its peak point at the time when the country had gone nuclear.[49]

The nuclear tests remained highly popular in Pakistan which many in Pakistan saw as dignified status for the Pakistan in the world community. Despite disagreement with Sharif, his rivals and opposition parties backed Sharif and congratulated him for his "bold decision".[48]

Sharif was awarded an Ig Nobel prize for his "aggressively peaceful explosions of atomic bombs".[51]

Space programme

Due to economic distress, Sharif halted the national space programme, and refused to allot any funds due to his government was struggling to provide funds for more extended programmes. Unlike Benazir who continued the space programme despite economic slow down, the Space Research Commission was forced to delay the launch of its well-developed satellite, Badr-II(B) which was completed in 1997. Delaying the satellite's launch caused frustration of the scientific community who openly criticised Prime minister's inability to promote science in the country. Senior scientists and engineers attributed this failure as "Sharif's personal corruption" that effected the national security of the country. It was not until 2001, two years since Sharif was dismissed; the satellite was finally launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome 10 December 2001 at 0915hrs by Space Research Commission.

Foreign policy

Sharif strengthened relations with Muslim world, Turkey, and Europe.[52] The year he was elected, Sharif made a state visit to Malaysia and Singapore where Sharif succeeded to signed an economic and free trade agreements with both countries.[52] It was a trilateral trade bloc in South Asia and Premiers of Singapore, Malaysia, and Pakistan had successfully signed the agreement.[52] Following the agreement, the work on comprehensive frame work to enhance collaboration in defence, economic and private sector was launched and completed in 1998.[52] One of the core issue was the Malaysia's agreement on sharing its space technology to Pakistan.[52] Both Malaysia and Singapore assured their support for Pakistan to join Asia–Europe Meeting.[52] However, it was not until 2008, Pakistan and India became part of the treaty.[52]

On January 1998, Prime minister Sharif paid a state visit to South Korea, where he successfully signed the bilateral and economical agreements with South Korean President Kim Young-sam.[52] Sharif also urged the North Korea to make peace and improve its ties with South Korea, his statement caused a diversion in Pakistan-North Korea relations.[52] On April 1998, Sharif went on to visit Italy, Germany, Poland, and Belgium to promote economic ties.[52] He said in Brussels at an official reception, "We [Pakistan] [s]eek understanding and cooperation with Europe".[52] He signed a number of agreements to enlarge economic cooperation with Italy and Belgium, besides an agreement with European Union (EU) for the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights.[52] In February 1997, the prime minister had meeting with Jiang Zemin, the Chinese president and Li Peng, the Premier, for economic cooperation.[52] Two conferences were specially organised in Beijing and Hong Kong to promote Chinese investment in Pakistan.[52]

However, Sharif's effort seemed to be wasted when Sharif ordered the nuclear tests on 1998. Following these tests, the Foreign policy of Pakistan was much in trouble position since its 1971 disaster.[52] Pakistan, at United Nations, failed to gather any support from its allies.[52] Trade agreements were abrogated by Europe, United States, and Asian bloc.[52] While, Sharif was praised to carried out tests domestically. Sharif was heavily criticised for ordering internationally.[52] Pakistan's nuclear weapons and energy programme was targeted on multiple times over its involvement for spreading the nuclear proliferation. United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, however did not criticised Pakistan but both neither issued any statement.[52] On 7 June 1998, Sharif went to visit UAE for talks on the situation in South Asia after nuclear tests in the region.[52] He thanked the Government for their support after India conducted five nuclear tests on 11 and 13 May.[52] The major shift in his conservative foreign policy was notice on 11 June 1998, when Nawaz Sharif authorised a secret meeting of Pakistan Ambassador to United Nations Inam-ul-Haq and Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Dr. Maliha Lodhi, to chair a meeting with their Israeli counterparts, the Israel Ambassador to the United States Eliyahu Ben-Elissar and the Israel Ambassador to United Nations Dore Gold, at a seven star hotel in New York, United States.[43] The Prime minister sent a secret courier to Israel and to his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu (now current Prime minister), though his diplomats, where Pakistan assured Israel that Pakistan will not transfer nuclear technology or materials to Iran or to other Middle Eastern countries.[43] On June 1998, Israel had directed a secret courier to Pakistan that Israeli officials had feared that Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi's visit to Pakistan shortly after its May 1998 nuclear weapons tests was a sign that Pakistan was preparing to sell nuclear technology to Iran.[43]

In 1999, he met with Indian prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the Wagah border and signed a joint communique, known as the Lahore Declaration.[53]

Since both countries had ordered their nuclear tests, both Prime ministers proceeded towards maintaining peace and security.[54] In 1998, both governments signed an agreement recognising the principle of building an environment of peace and security and resolving all bilateral conflicts, which became the basis of the Lahore Declaration.[54] On 1 February 1999, Prime minister Sharif made a breakthrough with India when he invited his counterpart to Pakistan. On 19 February, Indian premier Atal Bihari Vajpayee paid a historic state visit to Pakistan traveling on the inaugural bus service connecting the Indian capital of New Delhi with the major Pakistan's cultural city of Lahore, establishing a major transport link for the peoples of both nations.[54] On 21 February, both Prime ministers signed the bilateral agreement with a memorandum of understanding to ensure the nuclear-free safety in South Asia.[54] This bilateral agreement was widely popular in Pakistan and India onwards, the people of Pakistan supported the Prime minister's move and the Prime minister received wide appreciation from the opposition as well as the civil society.[54] This agreement known as Lahore Declaration, it was widely assumed to development of nuclear weapons brought added responsibility to both nations towards avoiding conflict and promoted the importance of Confidence-building measures, especially to avoid accidental and unauthorised use of nuclear weapons.[54] To some Western observers, this treaty was more like as of SALT Treaties signed by both superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States.[55] On July 2012, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif said here on Wednesday night that there was no US apology on the killing of Pakistani soldiers and he would join the protest against the reopening of Nato supplies.[56] In October 2013 Navaz Sharif had an official meeting with US President Barack Obama at White House to discuss Pakistani's atomic issues.[57]

Constitution Amendment

In late August 1998, he proposed a law to establish a legal system based on the Islamic principles.[58] His proposal came a week after 10-year commemorations of the late president Zia ul-Haq. The Cabinet removed some of its controversial aspects.[59][60] The National Assembly approved and passed the bill on 10 October 1998 by 151 votes to 16.[61] With majority in Parliament, Sharif drove Pakistan's political system more onto parliamentary system, reverting the previous semi-presidential system and laws fondly enjoyed by president.[61] With passing these amendments, Sharif became the strongest prime minister that the country has ever seen since its independence.[61] However, these amendments failed to achieve two-thirds majority in the Senate, which was still was under control by Pakistan Peoples Party. Weeks afterward, Sharif's government would suffer a military coup, therefore these amendments went to cold storage after Pervez Musharraf replaced them with his 2002 LFO, putting back the country to semi-presidential system. However, in 2010, Pakistan Parliament unanimously passed the 18th Amendment, which was passed by both in National Assembly and Senate, putting back the country to the road to parliamentary system.

Issues with judiciary

During his second term, Sharif mounted problems with the Supreme Court— an apex judicial authority. Sharif's Fourteenth Amendment had prohibited legislators and lawmakers from dissenting or voting against their own parties.[62] The XIV Amendment also contained the clause that the offending legislators could not seek relief through Judiciary, and the right of appeal was provoked by the XVI Amendment.[62] When legislators of different parties took the case Supreme Court, Sharif was furious and frustrated with the actions of the Supreme Court.[62] Sharif openly criticized Chief Justice Sajad Alishah, inviting a notice of contempt.[62] After the military and the president reached to Sharif to avoid a constitution crises, Sharif agreed the solve the issue amicably, but was determined to out Chief Justice Sajad Alishah.[62]

Sharif manipulated the ranks of senior judges, deposing two judges close to Chief Justice.[62] The deposed judges challenged Sharif's orders on procedural grounds by filing a petition at Quetta High Court on 26 November 1997.[62] The Chief Justice was restrained by his fellow judges from adjudicating in the case against the Prime minister.[62] On 28 November, Sharif as Prime minister appeared in the Supreme Court where he justified his actions calling it constitutional, and citing evidences that were obtained by Sharif at the Quetta High Court junior judges against the two judges Sharif had deposed.[62] After looking at the evidences, Chief Justice Sajad Ali Shah suspended the decision of Quetta High Court, but soon the Peshawar High Court issued similar order removing Chief Justice's closest judges.[62] The Associate Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court, Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui declared himself as acting Chief Justice.[62]

Attack on Supreme Court

Chief Justice Sajad Ali Shah, however, continued to assert his authority and persisted the hearing of Sharif's case.[62] On 30 November 1997, while the hearing of case was proceeded, Sharif's cabinet ministers and large number of his supporters entered in the Supreme Court building, halting and disrupting the proceedings.[62] The Chief Justice asked the military to send the military police, and subsequently struck down the Thirteenth (XIII) Amendment thereby restoring the power of the president.[62] But, this move backed fired on the Chief Justice when the military backed the Prime minister and refused to obey the president's orders to remove Sharif.[62] The Prime minister forced president Farooq Leghari to resign, and appoint Wasim Sajjad as acting president.[62] After the president's removal, Sharif ousted Chief Justice Sajad Ali Shah to end the constitutional crises once for all.[62]

2006 formal apology

On 29 November 2006, Nawaz Sharif and the member of his party issued a public apology to former Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and the former president Farooq Leghari for their actions.[63] His party's member paid a farewell visit to the residence of Chief Justice Ali Shah where they presented a written apology to him; later in Parliament, his party issued white paper formally apologising for their wrongdoing in 1997.[64]

Policy on anti-terrorism

During the Benazir Bhutto's period, the country suffered the terrorist attack on Egyptian Embassy in Islamabad that led the rift between relationship between Pakistan and Egypt. He took initiatives against terrorism when on 17 August 1997, he passed the controversial Anti-Terrorist Act which established Anti-Terrorism Courts.[40] The Supreme Court later rendered the Act unconstitutional. However, Sharif made few amendments, and received the permission of Supreme Court to established these courts.[40] However, it was the Anti-Terrorism Courts that were used by General Pervez Musharraf to prosecute Nawaz Sharif in alleged terrorism/hijacking case in 1999.

Relations with the military

From the 1981 until the military coup against him in 1999, Sharif enjoyed a strong and extremely friendly and cordial relations with the Pakistan Armed Forces – the only civilian leader to have cordial friendship and relationships with the military's establishment at that time.[13] Sharif pressed his tough rhetoric actions and repeatedly violates the constitution as well as the military code of conduct.

He later had severe political confrontation with in 1999 when he tried to replace General Musharraf with generals loyal to him that resulted in a coup d'état which removed him from office.[13] At the end of General Wahied Kakar's three-year term in January 1996, General Jehangir Karamat was appointed Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan Army.[13] His term was due to end on 9 January 1999.[13] However, in October 1998 Sharif had a falling out with General Karamat over the latter’s advocacy of a "National Security Council".[13] Sharif interpreted this move to be a conspiracy to return the military to a more active role in Pakistan politics.[13]

In 1999, after Sharif's removal, the National Security Council was indeed established by his successor.[13] In October 1998, General Karamat resigned and Sharif promoted Lieutenant-General Pervez Musharraf, then core-commander of the I Strike Corps that time, as 4-star general and appointed him as new Chief of Army Staff.[13] Sharif then also appointed General Musharraf as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee despite Musharraf's lack of seniority to Admiral Bokhari.[13] In protest, Admiral Fasih Bokhari resigned from his post as Chief of Naval Staff.[13]

Dismissal of General Jehangir Karamat

Main article: Dismissal of General Jehangir Karamat

However, political scientists and critics who studied his policies noted that as Prime minister, Sharif ruthlessly established his control all over the country, including the military.[65] In October 1998, Sharif forced and fired General Karamat over the serious issues on National Security Council disputes.[13] The dismissal of General Karamat was least popular decision in Sharif's prime ministerial ship, and his approval ratings plummeted.[65] Military lawyers and civilian law experts saw this step as clear "violation" of Pakistan Constitution and as clear violation of military justice code.[65] Media Minister Syed Mushahid Hussain and later Prime minister himself justified his actions on national and international media:

In a democratic society, would a Chief of Army Staff and chairman Joint Chiefs talk about the Government like that? What happened to General MacArthur? Mr. Harry Truman did not waste much time. Pakistan is finally becoming a normal democratic society.
—Mushahid Hussain, Media Minister in Nawaz Government, [66]

Political scientist dr. Samina Ahmed of Defence and Strategic Studies Department noted that since his re-elect in 1997 and success of passing the constitutional amendments, Prime minister Sharif began to abuse his powers since then.[66] She later quoted that:

During his time, Sharif was a very powerful prime minister.... since the country's independence. Power is tangible when you can exercise it. In Pakistan, the (Nawaz) Government doesn't seem capable of exercising it.
—Samina Ahmed, [66]

The relieve of General Karamat was a heated issue discussed even by his senior government ministers.[67] The most-senior and the former Treasury minister Sartaj Aziz gave vehement criticism and showed opposition to the Prime minister for making this move.[67] Writing a thesis in his book, Between Dreams and Realities: Some Milestones in Pakistan’s History, Aziz maintained: "Blunder of firing of General Karamatt; others will blame Nawaz Sharif for many mistakes he made. But in my view, the most serious of these mistakes was Nawaz Sharif’s decision to remove General Jehangir Karamat as chief of army staff in October 1998". Aziz was extremely confident and certain that Chief of General Staff Lieutenant-General Ali Kuli Khan would be appointed as the Chief of Army Staff based on his seniority, merit, among a very competent officer, and next in seniority to General Karamat.[67]

It came to the conclusion that in relieving General Jehangir Karamat, Prime minister Sharif had committed a "blunder". He also failed to recognize that despite his heavy mandate, it was not advisable for him to dismiss two army chiefs in less than a year. In doing so he had overplayed his hands and effectively derailed the democratic process for nine long years...

—Sartaj Aziz, 2009, [67]

However, after being persuaded by his younger brother and then (also as of current) Chief minister of Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif and his close friend Nisar Ali Khan, to appoint General Musharraf as the next Chief of Army Staff, despite his lack of seniority. This came to shock in the media and the opposition, Aziz sent his recommendation to appoint either Lieutenant-General Ali Kuli Khan or Admiral Fasih Bokhari as the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, to redress the injustice done to both officers.[67]

Prime minister Sharif took the recommendation but appointed General Musharraf as Chairman of Joint Chiefs after accepting the request of Shahbaz Sharif. Appointing General Musharraf as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, plummeted his mandate in the public after headlines in the media were made, opposition also gave intense criticism to Sharif that he was unable to effectively countered or justified his actions to the public. His senior minister, Sartaj Aziz, also expressed displeased after marking that: Sharif "committed a blunder", failing to recognize that despite his heavy mandate, it was not advisable for him to dismiss (two) army chiefs in less than a year. In doing so Sharif had made a serious of these blunders after relieving [General] Karamatt, but yet, (an) unforgettable mistake that he would never be able to cover the damage afterwords...", Sartaj Aziz noted.[67]

After Sharif approved the controversial appointment of General Musharraf to chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the pillars of silent hostility and resentment were built between chief of naval staff Admiral Fasih Bokhari during the Kargil war, which Admiral Bokhari gave rogue and grave criticism the Prime minister yet faced.[68] On 6 October 1999, Admiral Bokhari abruptly resigned from the navy when the televised media news reached to him that prime minister Nawaz Sharif appointed the chief of army staff General Pervez Musharraf as chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.[69] Bokhari reached to Prime minister Secretariat and lodged a loud protest against Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif as Bokhari considered Musharraf as much junior officer to him.[69] Admiral's resignation was made public domain and Sharif accepted the resignation of Admiral Bokhari onwards.[69]

Confrontation with the military

The year of 1999 brought a tremendous political upheavals and dramatic changes in Pakistan as well as for the Prime minister.[13] Despite Sharif tremendous approval in 1998, Sharif's popularity graph gradually went down after he announced the emergency in Pakistan, a decision which dismayed the people of Pakistan.[13] Sharif's popularity was also undermined when Pakistan became involved with unpopular and undeclared war with India in Northern front.[13] This undeclared war was fought on the northern fronts of India and Pakistan, one of world's coldest and highest points.[13] Intensified criticism of this plan began to take place in Pakistan's private media, and General Musharraf took the whole matter to the media, and held the prime minister responsible for this misadventure.[13] Confrontation with military began sometime in 1999, starting first with Admiral Fasih Bokhari, CNS.[64] Tension arisen between the Prime minister and the Admiral in 1999 when Admiral Bokhari lodged a powerful protest against the Kargil debacle and called for court-martial of Pervez Musharraf in private television channels.[64]

During the Kargil War in 1999, Sharif claimed to have no knowledge of the planned attacks, saying that Pervez Musharraf acted alone.[70] In 2008, Lieutenant-General (retired) Jamshed Gulzar Kiani— at that time Kiani was Major-general and served as the Director-General of the Military Intelligence— also publicly confirmed Sharif's statement of not having the knowledge on Kargil debacle.[71] According to Major-General Kiani, General Musharraf had eye-blinded the Prime minister and did not brief him over the true facts or difficult situation which was faced by the Pakistan Army.[71] During the Kargil debacle, the Indian Air Force's two MiG-29 intercepted the Pakistan Air Force's two F-16 fighter jets of the No. 9 Squadron Griffins, initially gaining a missile lock on these jets.[72] This dogfight made a next-day morning headlines in Pakistan, prompting the prime minister to investigate the matter. However, Chief of Air Staff General Pervez Mehdi denied this incident, later accused the Prime minister for not taking the Air Force in confidence in the matters of national security.[73]

Sharif's part-time taking control of stock exchange markets had devastating effects on Pakistan's economy, a move he instigated after the tests to control the economy.[71] Sharif's policies were widely disapproved by the people and at the mid of 1999, and Sharif's own popularity was mixed with few approved his policies.[71]

The year of 1999, Sharif's government also declined to accept the bodies of young paramilitary and army soldiers who unknowingly went onto participate in secret war in Western front against the Northern Alliance.[74] This decision sparked the wide spread of demonstration and protests against Sharif's government in Western Pakistan, which forced Sharif to accept the bodies.[74] Following this incident, Sharif tried to intervene in this matter and tried to stop the Army's support to Taliban.[75] However, then-Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf had stopped Sharif and called Taliban as Pakistan's most valuable assets.[75]

In August 1999 two Indian Air Force MiG-21FL aircraft shot down a Pakistan Navy Breguet Atlantique reconnaissance aircraft near the Rann of Kutch in India, killing 16 naval officers,[76] the greatest number of combat-related casualties for the navy since the Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971[76] Already suffering from public disapproval and bad popularity, this incident came at a particularly bad juncture for the Prime Minister, already under attack from politicians and civil society for ordering a withdrawal of its troops from Kargil.[76] Sharif failed to gather any foreign support against India after this incident, and the navy saw this failure as Sharif's not supporting the navy in wartime.[76] Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Abdul Aziz Mirza turned against the Prime minister, and Sharif soon faced a new cold war with the newly appointed Admiral who had assumed charge of the navy only a few days before.[76] The Prime minister dispatched units of Marines in the vicinity to retrieve the downed aircraft's pilots, but the Marines also turned their back on the Prime minister due to his failure to defend the Navy at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in September 1999.[76] Relations with the Air Force also deteriorated in a matter of months, when Chief of Air Staff General Parvaiz Mehdi Qureshi accused the Prime minister of not taking the Air Force into his confidence in matters critical to national security.[73][76]

Two months later, after escalating the tug of war with the Armed Forces, Sharif was deposed by General Pervez Musharraf, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and Chief of Army Staff, and martial law was established throughout the country.[76]

Military coup

Further information: 1999 Pakistani coup d'état

The simultaneous of conflicts in North with India and West with Afghanistan as well as the economical turmoil, Sharif's credibility was undermined and destroyed as the public opinion turned against him and his policies. On 12 October 1999, Prime minister Sharif attempted to remove Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf as Sharif saw the General as responsible for his failure, and appoint General Ziauddin Butt in his place.

Musharraf, who was in Sri Lanka, attempted to return through a PIA commercial flight to return to Pakistan after he learned the news. Sharif ordered civilian Inspector-General of Sindh Police Force Rana Maqbool to arrest of Chief of Army Staff and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Musharraf.

Sharif ordered the Jinnah Terminal to be sealed off to prevent the landing of the Musharraf's airliner fearing a coup d'état. However, the Captain of the A300 aircraft requesteded refuelling; therefore, Sharif ordered the plane to land at Nawabshah Airport, today called as Shaheed Benazirabad Airport. Meanwhile in Nawabshah 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. Initially, the prime minister's mindset was to remove the chairman Joint Chiefs and the Chief of Army Staff first, then deposed the Chief of Naval Staff and the Chief of Air Staff, who had played the role destroying the credibility of prime minister. Hence, it was a move to deposed the senior military leadership of the Pakistan Armed Forces, that brutally backfired on the Prime minister.[77]

No protest and demonstration were held in Pakistan in support of Sharif. Many of Sharif's cabinet ministers and his constituents were divided during the court proceedings, remained neutral and did not back the Prime minister. Dissidents such as Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and among others remained quiet and later formed Pakistan Muslim League (Q), further breaking his party into small pieces. The military police initiated massive arrests of Pakistan Muslim League's workers and the leaders of the parties. In Punjab and Sindh Provinces, the prisoners were held in Sindh and Punjab Police Prisons. Sharif was taken to Adiala Jail where a court trial headed by Military judge was set to began.[77]

Trial of the Prime minister

The military placed him on military trial for "kidnapping, attempted murder, hijacking and terrorism and corruption".[78][79] The military court quickly convicted him in a speedy trial and gave him a life sentence.[79] Report began to surface that the military court was near to give Sharif a death sentence, previously had done by the military court in the trial of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[78] Sharif was placed in Adiala Jail, infamous for hosting Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's trial, and his leading defence lawyer, Iqbal Raad, was gunned down in Karachi in mid-March.[80] Sharif's defence team blamed the military for intentionally providing their lawyers with inadequate protection.[80] The military court proceedings were widely accused of being a show trial.[81][82][83] Sources from Pakistan claimed that Musharraf and his military government's officers were in full mood to exercise tough conditions on Sharif[84] The trial went fast and speedy, and it became authenticated that the court is near to place its verdict on Nawaz Sharif on his charges, and the court will sentence Sharif to death.[84] Sharif was also set face a case of "corruption", and received a 14 years life imprisonment additional. Sharif also forced to pay US$400,000. The case centered on a civilian helicopter, which he said to have owned during mid-1990s.[85]

Saudi Arabia and King Fahd initially came in shock when the news reached to Saudi Arabia, prompting King Fahd to contact the Pakistan Army over this military coup.[84] Pakistan, under Nawaz Sharif and Saudi Arabia, under King Fahd, enjoyed extremely close business and cultural relations that is sometimes attributed as special relationships.[84] Amid pressure exerted by the U.S. President Bill Clinton and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, the military court avoided the award death sentence to Sharif.[84] During the state visit of General Musharraf, King Fahd showed his concern over the trial as the King was worried that the death sentence would provoke more and intense ethnic violence in Pakistan as it did in 1980s.[84] Under an agreement facilitated by Saudi Arabia, Sharif was placed in exile for the next 10 years and through the Saudi Arabian Airlines.[84] Mr Sharif has agreed not to take part in politics in Pakistan for 21 years. He has also forfeited property worth $8.3m (£5.7m) and agreed to pay a fine of $500,000[86] Sharif travelled to Jeddah where he was received by the Saudi officials and taken to a residence managed and controlled by Saudi Government.[84] At Jaddah, the Saudi Arabian government gave Sharif a loan to established a steel mill and Sharif bought a land where he went on to established the iron-steel mill foundry that is worth millions of dollars.[84] During this episode of military coup, General Musharraf wrote in his memoirs that, thanks to Saudi Arabia and King Fahd, Sharif's life was spared by the military court otherwise Sharif would have met the same fate as of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1979.[87]

1999 tax evasion scandal

The prosecution accused Sharif of evading federal tax on the purchase of a helicopter worth U.S. $1 million. Sharif denied this allegation.The [Lahore High Court] agreed to acquit him of this charge conditional on whether he was able to present evidence that proved his innocence. Sharif failed to cite any substantial evidence. The Lahore High Court ordered Sharif to pay a fine of U.S. $400,000 on grounds of tax evasion, and was sentenced to 14 years of imprisonment.[85]

Return to Pakistan

Failed attempt in Islamabad

On 23 August 2007, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ruled that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz, were free to return. Both vowed to return soon.[88][89]

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 Combatant Generals Headquarters (GHQ) 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.[90]

On 10 September 2007, Sharif returned from exile in London[90] to Islamabad. He was prevented from leaving the plane and he was deported to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia within hours.[91] His political career appeared to be over.[42]

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.[92] He attempted to convince Saudi Arabia to prevent Sharif from returning until after the elections in January 2008.[92] The political role of Sharif returned to the fore after Benazir Bhutto's return a month earlier.[92] Saudi Arabia appeared to argue that if Pakistan has allowed a democratic-socialist woman leader, Benazir Bhutto, to return to the country, then the conservative Sharif should be permitted to return too.[92]

On 25 November 2007, Sharif returned to Pakistan. Thousands of supporters whistled and cheered as they hoisted Sharif and his brother on their shoulders through ranks of wary riot police officers.[93] After an 11-hour procession from the airport, he reached a mosque where he offered prayers as well as criticism against Musharraf.[94]

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.[93]

2008 General 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.[95]

For the elections, he campaigned for the restoration of the independent judges removed by emergency government decree and Musharraf's departure.[96][97]

Bhutto's assassination led to the postponement of the elections to 18 February 2008.[98] 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 the Punjab.[98] Sharif condemned Bhutto's assassination and called it the "gloomiest day in Pakistan's history".[99]

Between Bhutto's assassination and the elections, the country faced a rise in attacks by militants.[100] Sharif accused Musharraf of ordering anti-terror operations that have left the country "drowned in blood."[100] Pakistan's government urged opposition leaders to refrain from holding rallies ahead of the elections, citing an escalating terrorist threat.[100] 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.[100]

On 25 January, Musharraf initiated a failed four-day visit to London to use British mediation in Pakistani politics to reconcile with the Sharif brothers.[101]

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.[102] Zardari and Sharif would later create a coalition government that ousted Musharraf.

In opposition (2008–2013)

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.[103] Sharif won much public support for his uncompromising stand against Musharraf and for his insistence the judges be reinstated.[103] 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.[104]


In June 2008 by-elections, Sharif's party won 91 National Assembly seats and 180 provincial assembly seats in the Punjab.[105] The Lahore seat election was postponed because of wrangling over whether Sharif was eligible to contest.[103][106]

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.[107] 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.[108] The charge-sheet also listed some of Mr Musharraf’s contributions to the "war on terror".[108]

On 11 August, the National Assembly was summoned to discuss impeachment proceedings.[109] 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.[110]

Musharraf is presently exiled to London and Sharif continues to demand he be prosecuted for treason.[111]

Nawaz Sharif claimed that former dictator Pervez Musharraf are responsible for the current crisis the nation is facing now. Musharraf pushed the country’s economy 20 years back after imposing martial law in the country and ousting the democratic government,[112]

Presidential election

The 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.[113] In Pakistan, the president is elected by the two houses of parliament and the four provincial assemblies, all acted as the Electoral College. There was speculation that Sharif would run for president, but on 25 August, he announced that former Supreme Court Judge and former Chief Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui would be the PML-N nominee for Presidency.[114] During this election, Justice Siddiqui was defeated by Zardari for the presidency.

Lawyers Movement

Sharif and Zardari 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.[108] Sharif had championed the cause of the judges since their dismissal.[26] 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.[26] Zardari feared that Chaudhry would undo all Mr Musharraf’s edicts—including an amnesty that he had received from corruption charges.[26]

On 25 February 2009, the Supreme Court disqualified Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of the Punjab, from holding public office. Zardari then dismissed the provincial legislature and declared president’s Rule in the Punjab.[26] Lawyers and citizen's groups in Pakistan, civil activists, and a coalition of political parties were planning to take to the streets in a protest march that started on 13 March 2009.[115] Zardari attempted to place Sharif under house arrest on 15 March 2009,[26] but provincial police disappeared the same day from his house after an angry crowd gathered outside. The Punjab Police decision to free Sharif from confinement was very likely in response to an army command.[26] Sharif, with a large contingent of SUVs, began leading a march to Islamabad but ended the march in Gujranwala.[26] In a televised morning speech on 16 March 2009, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani promised to reinstate Iftikhar Chaudhry after pressure from Pakistan’s army, American and British envoys, and internal protests. PPP also made a secret agreement to restore the PML(N) government in the Punjab. Sharif then called off the « long march ».[26] The PPP-led government continued to survive. A Senior PML(N) leader had said "95% of the members of the PML(N) were against becoming part of the lawyers’ movement, but after the SC verdict, the PML(N) had no other choice but to opt to support this movement. "[116]

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.[117]

2013 Pakistan general election

Main article: Pakistani general election, 2013

Khan–Sharif rivalry

Between 2011 and 2013, Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif began to engage each other in a bitter feud. The rivalry between the two leader grew in late 2011 when Imran Khan addressed his largest crowd at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore. The two began to blame each other for many political reasons. In the Lahore address, Khan blamed Sharif for corruption and having friendly opposition with Asif Ali Zardari and accused them for symbiosis with the PPP. Sharif denied the blame and in return, Sharif criticized him with his own accusations. Khan also blamed Sharif for the fact that that during the Lawyers' Movement, Sharif once again made another alliance with the Pakistan People's Party and had a secret agreement with Asif Ali Zardari instead of protesting against Zardari for not reinstating the judges.[118]

From 26 April 2013, in the run up to the elections, both the PML-N and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf started to criticize each other like never before. In the run up to the elections, Imran Khan challenged Sharif for a live television debate. Sharif immediately rebuffed the offer. Khan criticised Sharif's refusal to hold a televised debate because it is something that is practiced in western democracies.[119] However, during the confrontations, Khan was accused of personally attacking Sharif and as a result, the Election Commission of Pakistan gave notice to Khan because political candidates should refrain from personal attacks on others. Khan denied he was launching personal attacks on Sharif. Khan stated that this was an excuse by Sharif because he's too scared to appear with him in front of a national television audience.[120][121]


As the elections drew near, Nawaz Sharif held dozens of rallies across Pakistan. Sharif promised, if elected to power, that he will end loadshedding, construct more motorways and also begin construction of high-speed rail which will carry Shinkansen-style bullet trains which will stretch from Peshawar to Karachi.[122] He also promised to construct a third port in Keti Bandar on the southern cost of Thatta District.[123] Just prior to his election victory, Sharif confirmed he had a long phone conversation with Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh, in a hint at a desire to improve relations between the two countries.[124]

2013 Election Results

On 11 May 2013, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) won 126 seats in the National Assembly. This was met with surprise by many political experts. He claimed a clinching victory, mainly in the Punjab. Sharif, in his victory speech on the night of the election said: "Through this vote and campaign I have felt how much love Pakistan has for me. And I have twice as much love for you. Thank God that he has given us the chance to help you, to help Pakistan, to help the young people. We will fulfill all the promises that we have made. Pray that we can make a government on our own, without compromises or have to lean on anyone else. Because if we have to ask for seats, we cannot make a strong government. We forgive anyone who has abused us along the way and we have not cursed anyone. We want to get Pakistan out of trouble. We have a program to change the state of Pakistan. We must make a decision to change this country. To all other parties, I say come and sit at the table."[125]

Even before the result was announced, the PTI conceded victory.[126] PTI leader Imran Khan congratulated Sharif on his victory in the elections.[127]

After most of the results were counted, the ECP announced that the PML-N had 124 seats in Parliament. Because the Pakistan Muslim League (N) were 13 seats short of a 137-majority, Sharif had to form a coalition. Therefore, he began to hold talks with Independent candidates who were elected to Parliament. Sharif said he wanted to avoid having to form a coalition so as to have the strong government Pakistan needs at the present time, but because he was 13 seats short, he had to form a coalition.[128]

On 19 May 2013, it was reported that Nawaz Sharif had secured a majority in Pakistan's national assembly after 18 independent candidates joined the party, allowing it to form government in the National Assembly without striking an alliance with any other party. The minimum needed was 13 independent candidates, but Sharif had managed to make an alliance with 5 more candidates, giving the PML-N a coalition government of 142 seats.[12] After the coalition was announced, Nawaz Sharif stated that he wanted to take his oath as Prime Minister on 28 May, the 15th anniversary of when he ordered Pakistan's first nuclear tests in 1998.[129]

Third term as Prime Minister (2013 - Present)

On 7 June 2013, Nawaz Sharif was sworn in for an unprecedented third term after the resounding election victory of the PML-N. After being sworn in, numerous challenges, including bringing an end to US drone strikes and Taliban attacks while also tackling a crippled economy. Speculation was rife that the new government may need a bailout from the International Monetary Fund to restore economic stability.[130]

IMF Bailout

On 4 July 2013, the IMF and Pakistan reached a provisional agreement on a $5.3 billion bailout package that aimed to bolster Pakistan’s flagging economy and its perilously low foreign exchange reserves. According to the New York Times, Nawaz Sharif promised during his election campaign that his party was ideologically hostile to international financial assistance and that Sharif campaigned on a platform of having economic autonomy. Less than a month after taking office, Nawaz Sharif accepted an IMF bailout package, therefore breaking the promises he made during his election campaign.[131] On 4 September 2013, The IMF approved another $6.7 billion loan package to help revive the ailing economy. The loan would be given over a three year period. Pakistan's central bank had only about $5 billion left in its foreign currency reserves, enough to cover less than five weeks of imports.[132] In return, the IMF demanded that Pakistan had to carry out various economic reforms, including privatising 31 state owned companies.[133]


According to analysts, public expectations of Nawaz Sharif were sky high that he would quickly get to grips with Pakistan's most pressing problems, such as rampant terrorism, multiple insurgencies, an economy in free fall, the lack of electricity and a debilitating foreign policy. On the 9th September 2013, Sharif proposed that dialogue with the Pakistani army would create a civil-military partnership, putting the army and an elected government on the same page for the first time in Pakistan's history. This had so far yielded few results.[134]

Nawaz Sharif announced that it would open unconditional talks with the Taliban, declaring them stakeholders rather than terrorists. The PML-N also chose to blame the US and NATO for causing terrorism in Pakistan. The peace effort was encountering problems before it had ever really begun. The Pakistani Taliban’s Supreme Council released demands for a cease-fire, to also include the release of all its imprisoned militants and the withdrawal of the Pakistani military from all tribal regions. Former and current government officials criticised Sharif for not yet laying out a clear vision of how the country should handle its more than 40 militant groups, many of them made up of violent Islamic extremists.[135]

Military relations

On 15 September 2013, just six days after Sharif's proposal for talks with the Taliban, a roadside bomb killed a Pakistani general and another officer near the border with Afghanistan. Major General Sanaullah Khan, along with a lieutenant colonel and another soldier, were killed in the Upper Dir district after visiting an outpost near the border. Taliban spokesman Shahidullah Shahid claimed responsibility for the bombing. On the same day, seven more soldiers were killed in four other separate attacks.[136] Army Chief General Pervez Kayani, who had earlier warned Sharif not to adopt a surrender strategy, now publicly warned the government that the army would not allow the Taliban to set conditions for peace. General Kayani stated: "No-one should have any misgivings that we would let terrorists coerce us into accepting their terms."[137] According to media reports, Nawaz Sharif is in favour of holding unconditional talks with the Taliban whereas General Kayani favours direct military action. General Kayani stated that Pakistan will not be coerced into talks and that as long as militant groups carry out attacks on soldiers, the military will respond with brute force.[138]

Public image and legacy

Wealth and conglomerates

The industrialisation of the country was bestowed under the watchful eyes of the president Ayub Khan during the most of the 1960s.[139] The industrial sector was destroyed by the nationalisation program of prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, in an attempt to secure the capital flight of country's investment to Eastern Europe.[139] This program included the encroachment of Itefaq Group and many other large industries by Bhutto government[140] Although the steel mill was returned in 1980 to Sharif family, but a havoc was already done by the nationalisation policy of the prime minister Bhutto.[139]

In 2005, Daily Pakistan reported that Sharif family are the fourth wealthiest family and the second wealthiest political leaders in Pakistan with an estimated net worth of US$ 1.4 billion.[141] The Sharif family is intensively playing their role in the industrial growth of the country and expanding the steel business empire by employing state-of-the-art technology in their steel business in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Middle east.[142][143]

See also


Further reading

External links

  • Nawaz Sharif Elections & Constituency details on
  • Nawaz Sharif Topics on
Political offices
Preceded by
Sadiq Hussain Qureshi
Chief Minister of Punjab
Succeeded by
Ghulam Haider Wyne
Preceded by
Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Balakh Sher Mazari
Preceded by
Balakh Sher Mazari
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Moeenuddin Ahmad Qureshi
Preceded by
Benazir Bhutto
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Benazir Bhutto
Preceded by
Malik Meraj Khalid
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Pervez Musharraf
as Chief Executive of Pakistan
Preceded by
Shahid Hamid
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Pervez Musharraf
Preceded by
Sartaj Aziz
Minister of Finance

Succeeded by
Ishaq Dar
Preceded by
Mir Hazar Khan Khoso
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Minister of Defence
Party political offices
Preceded by
Fida Mohammad Khan
Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz
Succeeded by
Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif
Preceded by
Shahbaz Sharif
Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz

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