Friday, 24 June 2016

Nawaz Sharif

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif ,Urdu: میاں محمد نواز شریف‎,  is the 20th 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 is currently Pakistan's largest political party, and has formed a government. As owner of the Ittefaq Group, a leading business conglomerate, he is also one of the country's wealthiest people. He is commonly known as the "Lion of the Punjab".

Nawaz Sharif entered politics in the 1970s but was not in the government until the 1980s, after the government of Bhutto nationalized the family factories. In 1981, Sharif was appointed Minister of Finance of Punjab. By the 1985 General Elections, he had become a popular political leader, a member of the right-wing political coalition which in 1985 won overwhelming majorities in both the National and Provincial Assemblies. On 9 April 1985, he was sworn-in as Chief Minister of Punjab. On 31 May 1988, he was appointed caretaker Chief Minister after the dismissal of the Assemblies by President Zia ul Haq. Nawaz Sharif was re-elected Chief Minister in the 1988 general elections. After Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 on corruption charges, Sharif won election as the new Prime Minister in the ensuing election. But relations between Sharif and Ghulam Ishaq too deteriorated, and Ghulam Ishaq attempted to dismiss Sharif on similar 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 during Bhutto's second term, 1993 to 1996. Sharif was re-elected as Prime Minister when with a Supermajority in Parliament, after Benazir was again dismissed with another president, Farooq Leghari, again alleging corruption. The Sharif government appointed Rafiq Tarar as President after Leghari voluntarily resigned. The presidency has already been stripped of its powers when the parliament passed the Thirteenth Amendment. He also notably ordered Pakistan's first nuclear tests in response to neighbouring 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. But 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 was a member of the opposition party. In the 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 in office started on 5 June 2013. Since then his government has brought macroeconomic stability with the help of substantial loans from international financial institutions, and signed multi-billion investment deals to construct the CPEC and to remedy chronic power shortages.

His government also launched a military offensive to remove extremist groups in northwestern Pakistan and lifted the moratorium on the death penalty. On the foreign policy front his government has so far seen improved ties with United States as well as with Russia, China and India. On the domestic front, Sharif has revived economic growth but shortages of electricity remain an endemic problem.

Sharif's third term is also underpinned by social centrism rather than the social conservatism which guided his prior two terms.

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