Muhammad Nawaz Sharif

  • Party:
    Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PMLN)
  • Province:
  • Permanent Address:
    Shamim Farm, Jati Umra, Raiwind Road Lahore.  
  • Local Address:
    Prime Minister House, Islamabad
  • Contact:
    [email protected]
  • Website:

Profile Brief

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif (میاں محمد نواز شریف‎) born 25 December 1949 is the 12th and current Prime Minister of Pakistan, in office since June 2013. A veteran politician and industrialist, he previously served as Prime Minister from November 1990 to July 1993 and from February 1997 to October 1999. Sharif is the president of Pakistan Muslim League (N), which holds a parliamentary majority since 2013. As owner of the Ittefaq Group, a leading business conglomerate, he is also one of the country's wealthiest people. Born into a wealthy Punjabi family in Lahore, Sharif studied business at GCU and later law at Punjab University before entering politics in the later 1970s. In 1981, Sharif was appointed by the military government as the Minister of Finance for the province of Punjab. Backed by a loose coalition of conservative's, he was elected as the Chief Minister of Punjab, after the end of martial law in 1988, he was elected again as the Chief Minister of Punjab, as a nominee of the center-right Pakistan Muslim League. In 1990, Sharif led the conservative alliance, IJI, to victory, leading him to become the Prime Minister. Investigation into the election would later revel that the election was rigged in favour of Sharif by the Pakistani intelligence through channeling millions of rupees into his election campaign. Sharif's first administration came to an end when then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan attempted to dismiss Sharif on corruption charges. Sharif successfully challenged the dismissal in the Supreme Court, but both men were ultimately persuaded to step down in 1993 by army chief Abdul Waheed Kakar. Sharif served as Leader of the Opposition between 1993 and 1996 and led the Muslim League to a Supermajority in Pakistan's National Assembly. His government amendment the constitution to restrict's the powers of the presidency to dismiss governments. His second administration is notable for holding Pakistan's first nuclear tests in response to neighboring India's second nuclear tests as part of the tit-for-tat policy. 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, Sharif's second term also saw tussles with the judiciary and the military. Sharif was summoned for contempt by the Supreme Court in 1997 after making a speech in parliament criticising recent decisions by Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah. Sharif also forcibly relieved Chairman joint chiefs General Jehangir Karamat from command over a policy issue and replaced him with Pervez Musharraf in 1998. However, after Pakistan's haphazard performance in the Kargil War, his relations with Musharraf also deteriorated. When he attempted to relieve Musharraf from his command on 12 October 1999, the military instead ousted Sharif's government, exiling him to Saudi Arabia. Sharif returned in 2008, and his party contested the elections in 2008, forming a provincial government in Punjab under Sharif's brother, Shehbaz, that remained in office until 2013. He successfully called for Musharraf's impeachment and the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. Between 2008 and 2013, Sharif led the country's main opposition party. In 2013 general elections his party achieved a largest number of votes and he formed a government. He became the 20th prime minister of Pakistan, returning to the position after fourteen years, for an unprecedented third time. Sharif's third term has brought macroeconomic stability with the help of substantial loans from IMF, and signed multi-billion investment deals to construct the CPEC and to remedy chronic power shortages. In 2015, his government launched a military offensive to remove extremist groups in northwestern Pakistan and lifted the moratorium on the death penalty. Sharif's third term is also underpinned by social centrism rather than the social conservatism which guided his prior two terms.

Early life and education

Nawaz Sharif was born in Lahore, Punjab on 25 December 1949. The Sharif family are Punjabis of Kashmiri origin. His father, Muhammad Sharif, was an upper-middle-class businessman and industrialist whose family had emigrated from Anantnag in Kashmir for business, and eventually settled in the village of Jati Umra in Amritsar district, Punjab at the beginning of the twentieth century. His mother's family came from Pulwama. After the movement led by Jinnah and his struggle to create Pakistan in 1947, his parents migrated from Amritsar to Lahore. His father followed the teachings of the Ahl al-Hadith. His family owns Ittefaq Group, a multimillion-dollar steel conglomerate and Sharif Group, a conglomerate company with holdings in agriculture, transport and sugar mills. He is married to Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif. 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 as well as the Senior Chief Minister of Punjab. His daughter Maryam Nawaz, apparently a housewife but sometimes active for her father's party, is currently the chairperson for the prime minister's youth initiative. His other daughter, Asma Nawaz, is married to Ali Dar, son of Ishaq Dar, the current finance minister of Pakistan. The personal residence of the Sharif family, Raiwind Palace, is located in Jati Umra, Raiwind, on the outskirts of Lahore. He also has a residence in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, known as the Sharif Villa, where he lived during his years in exile. His son, Hussain Nawaz Sharif, currently resides in the Jeddah house. He went to Saint Anthony High School. He graduated from the Government College University (GCU) with an art and business degree and then received a law degree from the Law College of Punjab University in Lahore.

Health issues

Nawaz Sharif underwent heart surgery in May 2016 in London. It was his second open-heart operation. His deteriorating health and ultimately an open heart surgery only three days before the presentation of country's annual budget risked undermining the already under-pressure leader. Many opposition leaders and the legal fraternity, including former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry have raised important questions impending constitutional crisis in the country. Chaudhry called for electing a new interim Prime Minister to avoid the crisis.

Initial political career

Nawaz Sharif started his political career during the period of nationalisation policies introduced by former Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The Sharif family were financially devastated after the family steel business was nationalised, and Sharif jumped into national politics soon afterwards. In 1976 Sharif joined the Pakistan Muslim League, a conservative front rooted in the Punjab province. He initially focused on regaining control of his steel plants from the government. 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; Sharif was one of the men he found and promoted, quickly making him Finance Minister of the Punjab. 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. He maintained close relations with Zia-ul-Haq, who soon agreed to return the steel mill which had been lost to nationalisation by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. 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. Sharif invested in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Arab countries in the Middle East to rebuild his steel empire. 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 or the Pakistan Peoples Party."[38] After coming to national power in 1990, Sharif attempted to reverse of Bhutto's nationalisation policies, introducing an economy based on privatisation and economic liberalisation.

Punjab Advisory Council

In 1981, he initially joined as a member of the Punjab Advisory Council under General Ghulam Jilani Khan, the Governor of the Province. Since his early career, Sharif has been a strong vocal of capitalism and strongly opposed its inverse, the nationalisation. In the 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 to improve the economy. 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. As provincial finance minister, he presented development-oriented budgets to the military government. 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. 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. Due to its huge financial capital in the 1980s, Punjab Province was Pakistan's richest province and had a better standard of living compared to other provinces.

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. Sharif secured a landslide victory during the non-political parties 1985 elections and became Chief Minister of Punjab with the support of the army. He served for two consecutive terms as Chief Minister of Punjab Province, the most populous province of Pakistan. Because of his vast popularity, he received the nickname "Lion of the Punjab". As chief minister, he stressed welfare and development activities and the maintenance of law and order. 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. 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. In 1988, General Zia dismissed the government of hand-picked Prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo, and called for new elections. 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.

First term as prime minister (1990–93)

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

Nuclear 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." On 26 November, Sharif authorised talks with the US to solve the nuclear crises after the US had tightened its embargo on Pakistan, prompting Sharif to send his government's Treasure Minister Sartaj Aziz to held talks on Washington. It was widely reported in Pakistan that the US Assistant Secretary of State Teresita Schaffer had told the Foreign Minister Shahabzada Yaqub Khan to halt the uranium enrichment programme. 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. On December, the financial embargo was placed and the country's economy felt a distress that prompted Sharif to replace his Treasure minister. 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. 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. 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. Responding to US 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." 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. 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. 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. His policies to make the nuclear program for economical use was also continued by Benazir Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf.

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. 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. However, mismanagement of these societies led to a collapse in which millions of Pakistanis lost money in 1992. 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.

1993 Constitutional Crisis

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. 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 Sher 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. On 26 May 1993, Sharif returned to power after the Supreme Court ruled 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. Justice Sajjad Ali Shah was the only dissenting judge, he later became 13th Chief Justice of Pakistan.

End of First Term

However, issues with the president over the authority circled and a subsequent political standoff was instigated between president and Prime minister. Finally, in 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,Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Shamim Allam and the Chief of Army Staff General Abdul Vahied Kakar 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.

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. 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.

Second term as prime minister (1997–99)

By 1996, the national economy had come under intense situation and deadlock, and an economic failure was soon near. The continuous and large scale of government corruption made by Benazir Bhutto and her appointed government ministers had deteriorated the country's economy at the extreme level. In the 1997 parliamentary elections, Sharif and his Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) won a landslide victory in the elections, defeating Benazir Bhutto and her People's party. 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. 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. As commentary, 1997 election resulted to boost Nawaz's popularity and was mandate onerous task to improve the country's economy. Nawaz defeated Benazir Bhutto with overwhelmingly voting numbers and it was the worst defeat of Bhutto and People's Party since its inception. After the elections, Nawaz arrived in 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 Islamabad to take the oath. Sharif was sworn as prime minister in the early morning of on 17 February to serve a non-consecutive second term. 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.

1998 nuclear tests

The 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. 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. 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. When India tested its nuclear weapons the second time, it caused a great alarm in Pakistan and pressure mounted to build on the Prime minister. On 15 May 1998, Sharif called and chaired a National Security Council meeting in Prime minister Secretariat. The Pakistan Armed Forces left the matter to elected Prime minister, though Prime minister Sharif put the Pakistan Armed Forces on high-alert. The discussions went on for a few hours and encompassed the financial, diplomatic, military, strategic and national security concerns. At this sensitive meeting, it has had two important agendas; first, whether or not Pakistan should conduct its nuclear tests 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. Sheikh Rasheed and Raja Zafarul Haq, were the first people 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. 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. 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. On the morning of 17 May 1998, Sharif summoned Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad and asked him for his opinion on two points discussed on 15 May. Ahmed told the prime minister that the decision to test or not to test was that of the government of Pakistan. Dr. Ahmad also acknowledged that PAEC was ready for the capability of carrying out the tests. 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. 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 guarantee of success." 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. Prime minister Sharif, at first, was hesitant towards the nuclear test program and its economical turn out if the tests are ordered. 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. On 18 May, Prime minister Sharif ordered PAEC to make preparation for the tests, but remain on stand-by for the final decision. In his own words, Sharif called dr. Ishfaq Ahmad and ordered him, "Conduct the explosion!". 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. 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. A Boeing-737 airline from Pakistan International Airlines was readily made available for PAEC scientists, engineers, and technicians to Balochistan. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Economical effects of tests

After weeks of anticipation, Pakistan surprised the world by conducting its own nuclear tests. 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 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.

Political effects of tests

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. 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. 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". 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. The Pakistan Academy of Sciences also thanked Sharif and his government for having been given the opportunity to prove their capabilities. As in return, Sharif established the National Center for Theoretical Physics (NCTP) and inaugurated the Abdus Salam Museum in 1999. 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. 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 become 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. 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". Sharif was awarded an Ig Nobel prize for his "aggressively peaceful explosions of atomic bombs".

Attack on Supreme Court

Chief Justice Sajad Ali Shah, however, continued to assert his authority and persisted in hearing Sharif's case. On 30 November 1997, while the hearing was in progress, Sharif's cabinet ministers and a large number of his supporters entered the Supreme Court building, disrupting the proceedings. 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. 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. The prime minister forced President Farooq Leghari to resign, and appointed Wasim Sajjad as acting president. After the president's removal, Sharif ousted Chief Justice Sajad Ali Shah to end the constitutional crisis once and for all.

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. 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.

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. 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. 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. His term was due to end on 9 January 1999. However, in October 1998 Sharif had a falling out with General Karamat over the latter's advocacy of a "National Security Council". Sharif interpreted this move to be a conspiracy to return the military to a more active role in Pakistan politics. In 1999, after Sharif's removal, the National Security Council was indeed established by his successor. 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. Sharif then also appointed General Musharraf as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee despite Musharraf's lack of seniority to Admiral Bokhari. In protest, Admiral Fasih Bokhari resigned from his post as Chief of Naval Staff.

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. In October 1998, Sharif forced and fired General Karamat over the serious issues on National Security Council disputes. The dismissal of General Karamat was least popular decision in Sharif's prime ministerial ship, and his approval ratings plummeted. Military lawyers and civilian law experts saw this step as clear "violation" of Pakistan Constitution and as clear violation of military justice code. Media Minister Syed Mushahid Hussain and later Prime minister himself justified his actions on national and international media: The relieve of General Karamat was a heated issue discussed even by his senior government ministers. The most-senior and the former Treasury minister Sartaj Aziz gave vehement criticism and showed opposition to the Prime minister for making this move. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Admiral's resignation was made public domain and Sharif accepted the resignation of Admiral Bokhari onwards. 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. Confrontation with military began sometime in 1999, starting first with Admiral Fasih Bokhari, when Admiral Bokhari lodged a powerful protest against the Kargil debacle and called for court-martial of Pervez Musharraf in private television channels. During the Kargil War in 1999, Sharif claimed to have no knowledge of the planned attacks, saying that Pervez Musharraf acted alone. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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, the greatest number of combat-related casualties for the navy since the Indo-Pakistani Naval War of 1971 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

Military coup

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 requested refueling; 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. Only one protest was held by Sardar Mohsin Abbasi in front of Supreme Court on 17 October 1999 on the first hearing of Main Nawaz Sharif. That was the first strong message. Raja Zafar-ul-Haq, Sir Anjam Khan, Zafer Ali Shah & Sardar Mohsin Abbasi were the only supporters left in first six months. 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, 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 begin.

Trial of the prime minister

The military placed him on military trial for "kidnapping, attempted murder, hijacking and terrorism and corruption". The military court quickly convicted him in a speedy trial and gave him a life sentence. 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. 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. Sharif's defence team blamed the military for intentionally providing their lawyers with inadequate protection. The military court proceedings were widely accused of being a show trial. Sources from Pakistan claimed that Musharraf and his military government's officers were in full mood to exercise tough conditions on Sharif 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. 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 centred on a civilian helicopter, which he said to have owned during the mid-1990s. 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. Pakistan, under Nawaz Sharif and Saudi Arabia, under King Fahd, enjoyed extremely close business and cultural relations that is sometimes attributed as special relationships. Amid pressure exerted by the US President Bill Clinton and King Fahd, the military court avoided the award of a death sentence to Sharif. 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 the 1980s. Under an agreement facilitated by Saudi Arabia, Sharif was placed in exile for the next 10 years and through the Saudi Arabian Airlines. Sharif agreed not to take part in politics in Pakistan for 21 years. He has also forfeited property worth $8.3 million (£5.7 million) and agreed to pay a fine of $500,000. Sharif travelled to Jeddah where he was received by the Saudi officials and taken to a residence managed and controlled by the Saudi government. At Jaddah, the Saudi Arabian government gave Sharif a loan to establish a steel mill and Sharif bought land where he established the iron-steel mill foundry that is worth millions of dollars. 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.

Return to Pakistan

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

Successful return in Lahore

On 20 November 2007, Musharraf went to Saudi Arabia as he left the country for the first time since implementing emergency rule. He attempted to convince Saudi Arabia to prevent Sharif from returning until after the elections in January 2008. The political role of Sharif returned to the fore after Benazir Bhutto's return a month earlier. Saudi Arabia appeared to argue that if Pakistan has allowed a democratic-socialist woman leader, Benazir Bhutto, to return to the country, then the conservative Sharif should be permitted to return too. On 25 November 2007, Sharif returned to Pakistan. Thousands of supporters whistled and cheered as they hoisted Sharif and his brother on their shoulders through ranks of wary riot police officers. After an 11-hour procession from the airport, he reached a mosque where he offered prayers as well as criticism against Musharraf. His return to Pakistan came with only one day left to register for elections. This set the stage for an overnight shift of the political scene.

2008 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. For the elections, he campaigned for the restoration of the independent judges removed by emergency government decree and Musharraf's departure. Bhutto's assassination led to the postponement of the elections to 18 February 2008. During the elections, both parties, but the Pakistan Peoples Party in particular, rely on a mix of feudal relationships and regional sentiment for their voting bases – the Bhuttos in Sindh, Nawaz Sharif in the Punjab. Sharif condemned Bhutto's assassination and called it the "gloomiest day in Pakistan's history". Between Bhutto's assassination and the elections, the country faced a rise in attacks by militants. Sharif accused Musharraf of ordering anti-terror operations that have left the country "drowned in blood." Pakistan's government urged opposition leaders to refrain from holding rallies ahead of the elections, citing an escalating terrorist threat. Sharif's party quickly rejected the recommendation, accusing officials of trying block the campaign against Musharraf since large rallies have traditionally been the main way to drum up support in election campaigns.On 25 January, Musharraf initiated a failed four-day visit to London to use British mediation in Pakistani politics to reconcile with the Sharif brothers. Zardari's Pakistan People's Party, boosted by the death of Benazir Bhutto, and Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N dominated the elections. PPP received 86 seats for the 342-seat National Assembly; the PML-N, 66; and the PML-Q, which backs president Pervez Musharraf, 40. Zardari and Sharif would later create a coalition government that ousted Musharraf.

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. Sharif won much public support for his uncompromising stand against Musharraf and for his insistence the judges be reinstated. The coalition successfully forced Musharraf's resignation. He also successfully pressured Zardari for the reinstatement of judges removed by Musharraf in emergency rule. This led to the courts cleansing Sharif of a criminal record rendering him eligible to re-enter parliament.


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

Musharraf impeachment

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

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. 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. During this election, Justice Siddiqui was defeated by Zardari for the residency.

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. Sharif had championed the cause of the judges since their dismissal. The new government that succeeded Musharraf which had campaigned on reinstatement had failed to restore the judges . This led to a collapse of the coalition government in late 2008 due to Zardari's erstwhile refusal to reinstate the sacked judge. Zardari feared that Chaudhry would undo all edicts instated by Musharraf including an amnesty that he had received from corruption charges. 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. 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. Zardari attempted to place Sharif under house arrest on 15 March 2009, 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. Sharif, with a large contingent of SUVs, began leading a march to Islamabad but ended the march in Gujranwala. 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". 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."

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.

2013 Pakistan general election 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 leaders 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. From 26 April 2013, in the run up to the elections, both the PML-N and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) started to criticise 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. 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. On 18 August 2014, Khan announced his party would renounce all its seats it won in the 2013 elections, claiming the elections were rigged, a claim he had made before. He accused Sharif of plundering the national wealth, and demanded his resignation. He called on the public to withhold taxes and payment of utility bills to force the government to resign. On 22 August 2014 Khan and his fellow 33 PTI lawmakers resigned from the national assembly. He called for a caretaker government to be formed composing non-political people, and for fresh elections.


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. He also promised to construct a third port in Keti Bandar on the southern cost of Thatta District. 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.

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." Even before the result was announced, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) conceded victory. PTI leader Imran Khan congratulated Sharif on his victory in the elections. 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. 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. 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. On 27 June 2014, PTI's chairman Imran Khan announced that they would go for a long march—naming it "Azadi March"—from 14 August against the government alleging that the 2013 elections were rigged. Khan claimed that he will gather more than million people in the march. On 6 August 2014, Khan demanded the government to dissolve the assemblies, election commission and resigntion of the Prime minister, and claim that this would be the "biggest political protest in the history of the country." PTI started their march from Lahore on 14 August and they reached to Islamabad on 16 August. The PTI's lawmakers announced their resignation from the National Assembly, and the Punjab and Sindh assemblies. However government leaders were trying to negotiate a settlement with Khan and his party's backers to break what had become a political deadlock.

Third term as Prime Minister (2013 – present)

Unlike Sharif's previous two governments which were underpinned by social conservatism, Sharif's third term is credited to be one of social centrism. He called the future of Pakistan as one underpinned as an "educated, progressive, forward looking and an enterprising nation". In January 2016, he also moved to back Punjab Government's policy of banning Tablighi Jamaat from preaching in educational institutions and in February 2016 he enacted a law that provides for a helpline for women to report abuses by their husbands and others despite the criticism of conservative religious parties. On 29 February 2016, his government hanged Mumtaz Qadri who shot dead Salman Taseer in 2011 over his opposition to blasphemy laws.[158] According to BBC News, the move to hang Qadri is an indication of government's growing confidence in taming the street power of religious groups. To the disliking of religious conservatives, he promised that the perpetrators of honor killing's will be ‘punished very severely’. On 9 March 2016, The Washington Post claimed that Sharif is defying Pakistan's powerful clergy by unblocking access to YouTube, pushing to end child marriage, enacting a landmark domestic violence bill, and overseeing the execution of a man who killed Salman Taseer for criticizing the blasphemy law. On 16 March 2016, his government declared the Hindu festivals Diwali and Holi, and the Christian festival of Easter, as public holidays, Time Magazine called the step as a "significant step for the country's beleagured religious minorities." On 17 March 2016, Dawn, in an editorial, claimed that the 'religious right has found itself in and its urgent need to put pressure on the federal government', earlier that month far-right leaders gathered in Mansoorah to demand for nullification of a pro-women law. The newspaper warned the Sharif government that 'crumble now and history will be less forgiving'.


Wall Street Journal reviewed Pakistan's privatisation plans on 25 September 2013 in an article published, WSJ reported that Islamabad plans to sell 35 inefficient state-owned enterprises. Officials have announced plans to sell 35 public corporations over three years, including power companies, Pakistan State Oil, Pakistan International Airlines and Pakistan Steel Mills. These enterprises currently lose taxpayers some 500 billion rupees ($4.7 billion) a year, while delivering poor service. Inefficiencies in energy cause frequent blackouts, and the supply problem is exacerbated by government subsidies that have cost a further 1.5 trillion rupees over five years.[211] The privatisation process will be led by a 15-member privatisation commission headed by Mohammad Zubair, formerly IBM's chief financial officer for the Middle East and Africa. On 9 January 2014, Board of Privatisation Commission approved the divestment of shares of three banks along with two other companies. The government announced to restructure Pakistan International Airlines, which flies routes around the world, including to North America. PIA has already put out a tender to lease new aircraft, to improve its capacity and save fuel with more-efficient planes. As part of the restructuring, PIA has been split into two companies. A holding group would retain some 250 billion rupees in debt and excess personnel, and a "new" PIA would hold the lucrative landing rights and new aircraft. Afterward, the government plans to sell a 26% stake in that new PIA to a strategic partner. In February 2016, Pakistan International Airlines Corporation (PIAC) is to be converted into a public limited company as Pakistan International Airlines Company Limited (PIACL) to make way for privatization, however this trigged eight-day long union strike.

Communications and Development

Upon assuming office, Sharif launched Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) which for FY 2014–15 consists of construction of Diamer-Bhasha Dam, Dasu Dam, Faisalabad-Khanewal M-4 Motorway, Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus Service and Lahore-Karachi Motorway. While Sharif has also approved feasibility studies for the construction of rail links from Islamabad to Muzaffarabad via Murree, Havelian to the Pakistan-China border and Gwadar to Karachi, along with other initiatives such as approach roads to the New Islamabad International Airport, the new Gwadar International Airport project, Jetty and Infrastructure development at Gadani, Gwadar Port Economic Free Zone project, Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute at Gwadar and the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park at Lal Sohnra Park Phase-II (600 MW). On 24 April 2014, Sharif's administration successfully completed the auction for next-generation telecom spectrum's raising $1.112 billion from the process. Sharif personally handed over the 3G and 4G mobile spectrum licenses to the successful mobile companies – Mobilink, Telenor, Ufone and Zong – Sharif claimed that Rs 260 billion will be collected in the treasury every year because of the new technology, moreover the technology will create millions of jobs in the service sector. To counter competition, Sharif upon assuming office addressed the nation and launched the Prime Minister's Youth Programme, a PKR 20 billion to provide interest free loans, skills development and provision of laptops. During the 2014–15 fiscal year, Sharif's government announced an increase in Public Sector Development Programme from Rs 425 billion in to Rs 525 billion. The PSDP is the main instrument in government's direct control to channelise funds and make developmental interventions. The government provides budgetary allocations to those projects and programmes that yield maximum benefits for the society in the shortest possible time. While the government allocated a whooping Rs 73 billion for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, including for its cornerstone development, the Lahore-Karachi Motorway.

Pakistan Vision 2025

On 11 August 2014, Sharif administration 'unveiled an ambitious programme to transform the country into an economically strong and prosperous nation and to enhance exports to $150 billion by 2025', The Economic Times reported.[220] According to the Daily Times, the Vision 2025 is based on seven pillars those are: putting people first; developing human and social capital; achieving sustained, indigenous and inclusive growth; governance, institutional reform and modernisation of the public sector; energy, water and food security; private sector-led growth and entrepreneurship, developing a competitive knowledge economy through value addition and modernisation of transportation infrastructure and greater regional connectivity. Considering the existing political challenges faced by Sharif and shaky democratic process in the country, ownership of the rather flawed Vision 2025 is another major concern. The question is will future political setups continue to work on this plan to make it a reality, in case of any change of guard at the center? Each successive government in Pakistan has historically made a U-turn from its predecessor's policies. If this trend prevails, then the Vision 2025 will fail to translate into action. — Arab News on 18 August 2014, [222]

Operation Zarb-e-Azb

The negotiations between the Taliban and the Sharif administration collapsed after the execution of 23 Frontier Corps by the Taliban on 17 February 2014, the relations between the administration and the Taliban escalated further after the 2014 Jinnah International Airport attack. The operation was formally launched on 15 June 2014 after the Sharif administration prepared for a three-front operation:[245] isolating targeted militant groups, obtaining support from the political parties and saving civilians from the backlash of the operation. The 2014 Wagah border suicide attack has been the deadliest retaliation against the Operation so far.

2016 Panama Papers leak

The Panama Papers are documents leaked in 2016 from the Mossack Fonseca law firm that disclose client information. Much of it is innocuous, cryptic, or incomplete. Some records do however suggest corruption or fraud by business leaders, politicians, athletes, and other wealthy individuals and organizations. The secrecy of offshore companies also allows tax evasion, fraud or income and identity obsfucation. According to these documents, Nawaz Sharif's family holds millions of dollars worth of property and companies in the UK, and around the world. The Mossack Fonseca documents do not name either Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif or his younger brother, Punjabi Chief Minister Shebaz Sharif. They do however link in-laws of Shebaz Sharif and children of Nawaz Sharif to offshore companies. The documents reveal that Nawaz Sharif's children Hassan, Husein and Maryam have multiple properties in the United Kingdoms through a set-up of at least four offshore companies in the British Virgin Islands. Mossack Fonseca records tie Nawaz daughter Maryam Nawaz and her brothers Hussein and Hassan to four offshore companies, Nescoll Limited, Nielson Holdings Limited, Coomber Group Inc., and Hangon Property Holdings Limited. The companies acquired at least six upmarket real estate properties in 2006-2007 near London's Hyde Park. The real estate was used as collateral for loans of up to $13.8 million, according to the Panama Papers documents. The prime minister's children say the money came from the sale of a family business in Saudi Arabia. Maryam Nawaz tweeted denial of wrongdoing, adding that she did not own "any company/property abroad," except as a trustee in a brother's corporation, "which only entitles me to distribute assets to my brother Hussain's family/children if needed." The leaked documents name her the sole beneficial owner of Nescoll, created in 1993, and Nielson, first registered in 1994. The two companies subscribed to Mossack Fonseca services in July 2006. The Panama Papers name Maryam as the joint owner with her brother Hussain of Coomber Group. Mossack Fonseca was managing Nescoll, Nielsen Holdings, and Coomber Group when the three companies obtained a £7 million mortgage from the Swiss bank, Deutsche Bank (Suisse) SA and purchased four flats in Avenfield House, at 118 Park Lane in London. Hassan, the other brother, whose name is sometimes spelled "Hasan", bought Hangon Holdings and its stock in 2007 for £5.5 million; Hangon then bought property, financed through the Bank of Scotland, at One Hyde Park in London, which a real estate agency calls "the finest building in England" and an architectural historian "an over-sized gated community"; 59 of the 76 apartments that had been sold by January 2013 were owned by offshore shell companies.[344] Hassan also lists the Park Avenue address for an additional six companies registered in the United Kingdom of which he is a director, according to the British business registry Companies House. A seventh, Flagship Development, is listed at Stanhope House in Stanhope Place, near Marble Arch. Samina Durrani, mother of Shebaz Sharif's second wife Aaliya Honey, and Ilyas Mehraj, brother of his first wife Begum Nusrat Shahbaz, also figure in the documents. Habib Waqas Group/Ilyas Mehraj is listed as a shareholder with 127,735 shares in Haylandale Limited, registered July 24, 2003 in the Bahamas. Mehraj denied knowing anything about "any company whether incorporated in the Commonwealth of Bahamas or anywhere else under the name Haylandale Ltd." Rainbow Limited, the newest of the three offshore companies owned by Samina Durrani, was registered September 29, 2010 in the British Virgin Islands (BVI). Armani River Limited, registered in the Bahamas on May 16, 2002, describes its assets as "property in London, which is not currently rented." Assets of Star Precision Limited, registered in BVI May 21, 1997 were reported as "cash as the investment portfolio. We are also holding 1,165,238 shares in Orix Leasing Pakistan Limited." Hussain Nawaz, whose name sometines appears as Husein or Hussein, said his family won't impede any investigation, and urged one of former president Pervez Musharraf as well. The government on April 15 announced an investigation by an inquiry commission of all Pakistanis named in the documents. Opposition politicians said a judge, not a retired judge, should investigate. Various judges have already recused themselves. In addition, on April 19, 2016 Army Chief General Raheel Sharif warned that across-the-board accountability is needed.