Rise and fall of Nawaz Sharif

What make Nawaz Sharif U-Turn on NWFP and 18th Amendmen

By Dr Shahid Qureshi

The rise and fall of Nawaz Sharif provides a good reason for his immediate as well as future successors, that they should also use commonsense and not juts intelligence. Nawaz Sharif was born on 25th December 1949 in Lahore, grew up as a child of ill-conceived politics. The political scene in Pakistan has been dominated by the feudal with a little sprinkling of urban elite but to Nawaz Sharif, belonged the dubious credit of breaking this mould. He studied at prestigious Government College Lahore and had a law degree. His family moved from Jati Umra near Amirtasr now in India and by 1960 they owned a few modest size factories – iron foundry, ice making and water pump factory and that would make him ‘man of steel’.

With some cash to spare it was the time now for the family to buy its way into politics as well. So the late Mian Sahrif, aka ‘Abbaji’ gave them some ‘pocket money ‘ and sent his two sons both Nawaz and Shabaz into two brand new and secular political parties which had been set up Z.A. Bhutto (PPP) and Air Marshal® Asghar Khan’s (Therik Istaqlal) when they were young and in twenties.

Some how ‘Abbaji’ managed to reach General Jill, as General Jilani was known and begged him to give a break in politics to Nawaz Sharif (pohla – simpleton). Nawaz Sharif was appointed as finance minister of Punjab in 1983. General Jilani was former Director General Military Intelligence and Governor of Punjab at that time. A senior military source said, ‘when General Jilani asked for Shahbaz instead ‘Abbaji’ replied, ‘who will look after the business take ‘pohla'(Nawaz Sharif)’ instead.

In 1981 the family business group Ittefaq’s turn over was Rs. 337 million, but by 1987 it had soared to at least Rs. 2,500 million, that is according to the group’s own accounts. Within four years Ittefaq had become one of the wealthiest private industrial groups in Pakistan. ‘Hard work and grace of Allah’ explained Shabaz Sharif. In 2010 can some one explain the miraculous growth in the assets and wealth of Sharif family? That is scale and record-breaking growth. Sharifs like others have looted Pakistan’s wealth with both hands and got whole family into politics. Not a bad investment by visionary ‘Ababji’!!

When President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Benazir Buhtto a security risk the ground of corruption and mal-administration. It was now Nawaz Sharif’s turn by common acclaim, ‘the lesser evil’ even though the establishment was not too keen to have him as prime minister. Instead the establishment preferred late Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi who had briefly acted as caretaker prime minister after the dismissal of Benazir Bhutto.

What clinched the appointment for Nawaz Sharif was a word to the presidency by the then ISI chief Lt. Gen Hamid Gull, ‘that the army believed he was a better choice. General Hamid Gull now regrets his misjudgement. Subsequently the President also dismissed him. Nawaz Sharif’s problem was power: a pathological crass compounded by crass incompetence.

In March 2010, General Hamid Gull in a phone interview said, “something like Nawaz Sharif is not a representative of ‘religious classes or Taliban’ and he is more dangerous’. On that point writer reminded former head of ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) that, ‘you planted this seed (Nawaz Sharif) Sir. The General regretted the plantation and said yes that is true!!

According to a London Magazine, “General Aslam Beg told a friend that they had chosen Nawaz Sharif in preference to Ghulam Mutafa Jatoi because Jatoi said have a dozen or so ‘girl friends’ and it was difficult to reach him after he had retired for drink after 9 pm. Nawaz Sharif was no less romantic he asks his women to sing over the telephone for him. He doesn’t drink but he doesn’t dispose the files either. But Jaoti used to never sit over files.

Nawaz Sharif also seemed to an ungrateful person. He did not feel any obligation towards president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, nor did he ever say ‘thank you’ to General Hamid Gull’. The US loathed Hamid Gull as a ‘visionary’ general. One task given to Benazir Bhutto by the US at that time was to shunt him from the ISI. She managed to do at last before boarded the plane to her first visit ‘thanks-giving visit to Washington like Zardari is being tasked to make of ISI toothless and make it like a ‘wedding band’ under Rehman Malik.

Aslam Beg retired because Nawaz Sharif felt inferior before him and don’t want to extend his tenure. But he ended up accepting some one who is far more difficult than Aslam Beg, General Asif Nawaz Junjua. The smart business minded Mian Sharif aka ‘Abbaji’ invited General Asif Nawaz to his Lahore residence. After a fatherly ‘tête-à-tête’, Abbaji told the new army chief that he was like his son and requested him to take his two sons Nawaz and Shabaz under his wings: and also told the ‘children’ that they must follow and never disregard the General Sahib’s advice. And one last thing Abbaji said to the General Sahib, as he came to see him out off at the porch of his house, ‘my both children have a Mercedes each, and here is the key to yours; you are like a son to me.’ Words to that effect.

Nawaz Sharief’s moto was that he could buy any general if he sent his wife on a day trip to Karachi. It didn’t work with General Asif Nawaz, he felt offended and therefore, instead of being able to buy the General, Nawaz Sharif had instead lost his respect too.”

This attitude continued when he promoted General Pervez Musharaf bypassing other more senior Generals on the advice of Nisar Ali Khan brother of General Iftikhar Ali. As a result General Musharaf shunted Nawaz Sharif out of the power and country with his parrots and pigeons. History repeated after Z.A Bhutto promoted General Ziaulhaq out of turn by passing many seniors. Z.A. Bhutto ended up in prison and then grave.

“I sent Ghaus Ali Shah former Chief Minister of Sind, to give a lift home to General (Pervez) Musharaf, Chief of the Army Staff (on 10th October 1999) and inform him that he has been deposed in absence”, said Nawaz Sharif while addressing a meeting of Imran Khan’s charity dinner in Manchester in July 2007. How intelligent was to promote an engineering corp’s, Kashmiri, General Zia Butt and decorate him with the badges purchased from Sadar Bazar Pindi.

The writer also asked Mian Shabaz Sharif about their relationship with Indian Industrialists of Ambani Industries, in London at an Iftiar Party few years ago in Kundan Restaurant. Senator Ishaq Dar was also sitting with us. Shabaz Sharif said, ‘I have no knowledge but (‘Baraa Mian Saab) Nawaz Sharif knows about it’.

In my opinion Shabaz Sharif is a very different kind of person and might become next prime minister of Pakistan. When I asked both Nawaz Sharif and late Benazir Bhutto in London at Park Lane Flats, ‘are you training and coaching Shabaz Sharif and Ameen Faheem to be prime ministers? Benazir Bhutto said, ‘our party will decide like Labour Party in this country but Nawaz Sharif ignored the question’. It was a genuine question and no one should feel offended. I might have great respect for Shabaz Sharif but that does not mean one has put with Nawaz Sharif’s non-sense. It was the same press conference when out of 43 minutes Nawaz Sharif spoke 6 minutes and Bhutto spoke 37 minutes approximately.

One wonders if Nawaz Sharif has learnt anything apart from appointing and dragging his relatives into politics? By taking U-turn on 18th Amendment on ‘Khyber Puktunkhaw’ issue, Nawaz Sharif shot in his foot before taking in his mouth.

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”, said Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.


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