Story of Nawaz’s political career
According to the PML (N) leadership, former Prime Minister and “Quaid” of the Party, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is traveling back home on 21st October. Well, a long-awaited return of a native to his country.For any political leader; the party workers, voters and general public, are all like a family member. If an individual cannot distance himself or herself from afamily for a long time, similarly, the political leaders, especially those who have been serving the masses for years and years cannot live in isolation. People are like an oxygen for a public leader without whom his or her existing becomes impossible. Same goes to Nawaz as well.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif looks like a Shakespearean tragic hero, who as a statesman andpolitical leader went through persistent mental agony and physical pain. There is a famous saying that when you make choices you have to pay the prices, no doubt, Nawaz Sharif has paid a big price during hislong political career.
The circumstances in which Nawaz left the country were unconducive for him at that time.When he was leaving for London on 19 October, 2019, the doctors’ team (both government and private) through a detailed medical examinationreported that the former prime minister was suffering from “immune system disorder”and his blood “platelets” counts were low to a dangerous level, considered a serious threat to his life.He was serving 10 years in prison, the punishment awarded by the National Accountability Bureau Judge Muhammad Bashirin the Avenfield Apartment Corruption reference. His daughter Maryum and son-in-law Captain (R) Muhammad Safdar were also penalized in the same reference as co-accused. However, former PM Nawaz, his daughter Maryum Nawaz and PML (N) party leaders have rejected the court decision, declaring it the worst kind of a “political victimization.”
If we see the series of political events which were unfoldedin the countryafter the Panama Papers scandal, which appeared in the local as well as the international media in April 2016, they indicate that taking advantage of the news, some important office holders of that time, targeted Nawaz Sharif only. The purpose of those individuals was to sideline Nawaz from the electoral and power politics.
Former Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar’s judicial activism against an elected prime minister through the Panama Papers scandal was a well scripted plan to remove him from the power and pave the way for the PTI Chief Imran khan to occupy the most powerful office on the Constitutional Avenue Islamabad. And of course, the same target was achieved after a controversial election in 2018.
The decision against Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and his family was announced on July 6, just three weeks before the electoral process sending a very clear message to everyone that who would rule the country. When other parties were holding election rallies and campaign, Nawaz and his daughter were in jail. It was unfair?
That’s why during last few years we have been hearingNawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryum Nawaz complaining fornot being provided a level playing field during 2018 elections. Nawaz and his daughter want a level playing field in any future elections.By the way today PML (N) seems to be partially satisfied with the present political and electoral conditions for the upcoming elections. The interim setup was installed with the Nawaz’s approval. He has confidence in the Army leadership, newly appointed CJP and Chief Elections Commissioner. Apparently, media is also friendly so far.
On the other hand, the PPP and PTI were raising their voices for the level playing field. From power politics point of view, it was really difficult to explain the phrase “level playing field.” In Pakistani politics mostly the players (or the competing teams) believe in the match fixing.
Let us look at the Nawaz’s past career as the Chief Executive of the country. In his first tenure As Prime Minister (1990-1993) Nawaz Sharif introduced policy of privatization and economic liberalization including the “Yellow Cab Scheme” a policy to provide respectable source of income to the joblesspeople. In the second term as PM (1997-1999) he launched ‘Motorway Scheme’ to build the communication infrastructure of the country providing an opportunity to the businesses and economy to grow.
Despite western opposition and pressure, he as the prime minster responded to the India nuclear tests by conducting nuclear explosion at Chagai,Balochistan, declaring Pakistan as the first Muslim,while, 7th nuclear power of the world.
In the third term (2013-2017)as the Chief Executive of the country Nawaz Sharif signed a historic China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a project opening various economic and social development avenues for the country.
The project broughtbillions of dollars investments in the infrastructure, communication, energy and other sectors. Due to numerous political reasons Nawaz was never allowed to complete his tenure as the prime minister of Pakistan. He and his party believe that certain elements in the establishment and judiciary hadconspired against his governments in the past, resultantly which hindered the economic progress and prosperity in the country. Nawaz had always complained that if his governments had been allowed to complete five-year term, today, the country would have not beenpassing through the worst economic and financial difficulties. There is no second opinion that political instability and bad law and order situation in any country could prevent the domestic and foreign investments.
Even the remittances by overseas Pakistanis are badly affected as well.
Nawaz Sharif is a prominent political leader. He is basically the political party himself. Without his presence PML (N) may not be able to perform well both inthe field as well as ingovernment.The recently ended 16 months coalition government of PDM led by Shahbaz Sharif, the president of the party, was a nightmare for masses.Thehistoric inflation and uncontrolled price hike have damaged the reputation of PML (N).That’s why the aspirant candidates both for the national as well as provincial assemblies were really nervous to go into elections.
As Nawaz, family members and the party leaders confirmed, that, the former PM is set to comeback to Pakistan on 21th of this month. Nawaz must have got a clearance from the legal team that once he is in the country,he will not face any of the cases,whichdisqualified him for holding any public office and send him to jail in 2018.
He must have got a nod from the establishment without which he will never take any risk of trying to fish in the troubled waters.
If Imran khan remains out of elections process as the PML (N) was demanding and calling it as a level playing field. Meaning by that in 2018, Nawaz was disqualified, put behind jail during elections, barred to lead the party elections campaign. Similarly, PML (N) wants Imran to be disqualified, remain in prison during the next elections leaving an open ground for Nawaz League particularly in Punjab. This it calls a level playing field with reference to PTI.
On the other hand, PPP and PTI were also complaining of level playing field. Both believe that PML (N) is being given a free hand and open space even during the care taker set up.
If all goes well, as Nawaz and his party were aspiring, the biggest challenge would be that how he would convince the masses to vote for a party, which has desperately disappointed the people during Shahbaz premiership.
Narratives are key to success. Political narratives change the minds of the people. What narrative Nawaz will carry to the public?
Will Nawaz launch his campaign with the accountability of the former generals and judges, as he has recently told the media?
Or will he provide a practical solution to the economic and financial challenges the country and masses were facing?
With which narrative will he land in the battle field accountability or the relief to public?
Accountability of the former generals and judges sounds very aggressive and popular; however, some believe this will defocus Nawaz from the actual issue of economic reforms and growth agenda.Let us see where Nawaz wants to take himself and his party?
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