Nawaz Sharif a hero or a zero?

Published: 06:26 PM, 7 Oct, 2022
Nawaz Sharif a hero or a zero?
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During my college days, there was a man in our town named Rabu who spent days more in jail than at home. If any theft case happens or any drug cases come to the surface, Rabu will be accused of all the troubles. Several times people had asked Rabu why he is the only one being accused by the police. Rabu miserly replied police had caught him twice picking rice from the field, another time they caught him stealing wheat straw for animals, and once they caught him smoking hashish. All these things have made me a habitual criminal in their eyes. That doesn’t matter now if I become innocent I will always be a guilty person for them and at last, my destiny will be in jail.

This story is quite similar to the story of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, who was the prime minister of Pakistan three times as the cases follow him always. Whenever he occupied the seat of governance, the files of the cases were closed and when he started to gain a foothold in power then again the same files started coming out of the cupboards and reaching the desk of judges.

So, is Nawaz Sharif a habitual criminal or a patriotic leader?

Nawaz Sharif was exposed to politics during the tenure of General Zia-ul-Haq and had been trained under Zia’s supervision. He remained a part of the Punjab government for a very long period. After being part of the Punjab Provincial Council for some time, he became the Finance Minister of Punjab in 1981. Non-party elections held in 1985 under the shadow of dictatorship, Nawaz won the national and provincial seats with huge margins.   

He became the Punjab Chief Minister on 9 April 1985. On 31 May 1988, General Zia dismissed the Junejo government but retained Mian Sahib as a Caretaker Chief Minister. General Zia once prayed to Nawaz Sharif for his life. In December 1988, IJI was formed to defeat the Pakistan People's Party. The People's Party did not lose but the Punjab Chief Minister slot once again fell to Mian Sahib. When the government of the People's Party ended, Mian Sahib became the Prime Minister for the first time as a result of the elections held in 1990. However, he could not complete his five-year term and was dismissed from his post by the then president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Although reinstated by the country's Supreme Court after a constitutional trial, he had to resign along with the president in July 1993.

In 1997, Mian Sahib again made a comeback to power after winning the election again but it proved temporary and two years later, military dictator General Pervez Musharraf took over the reins using the plane conspiracy case as an excuse. This time, Nawaz Sharif's biggest mistake was being stuck with the army. In October 1999, Nawaz Sharif tried to remove the army chief Pervez Musharraf and appoint a new army chief.

Bearing the consequences he was imprisoned for a while, tried and moved to Saudi Arabia after a secret deal with the army. In 2006, he signed the Charter of Democracy with Benazir Bhutto with a commitment to end the military regime. On August 23, 2007, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Sharif family and rejected the government's objection to their return to the country and allowed the entire family to return home. After the imposition of emergency, Nawaz Sharif along with his family reached Lahore on 25 November 2007 as a result of Saudi Arabia’s pressure on Pervez Musharraf.

In the 2013 general elections, the PML-N won with a majority. Resultantly, he became the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the third time. As soon as Nawaz Sharif took oath as the Prime Minister for the third time, he was made controversial by the opposition party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf. For three years, Imran Khan continued hurling rigging allegations. It was the misfortune of the Nawaz Sharif government that the tragedy of Model Town took place during this period in which 14 people were killed and more than 90 were seriously injured who were workers of Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri. Qadri started a revolutionary march to seek justice for his workers and Imran Khan did a long march against rigging. There was a sit-in in the capital city and after the intervention of the Army Chief, an FIR was registered against 9 people, including Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.

His followers call Nawaz Sharif a hero and Nelson Mandela, oppositions call him a thief, bandit, etc. I am at a loss what to say. From the story of Rabu, it seems that Nawaz Sharif will come again. Maryam Nawaz has said too that he will come very soon. The question is if he comes back, will he be able to clear the stain of disqualification from the courts? If this happens, looking at his past record, it seems that no one will be able to stop him from becoming the Prime Minister for the fourth time.

Categories : Opinion
Azhar Thiraj

The writer is a senior journalist who worked at Daily Khabrain, Nawa-i-Waqt and Dunya News and is currently working in 24News.