Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif born 25 December 1949. He is the 18th 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 the government. As the owner of Ittefaq Group, a leading business conglomerate, he is also one of the country's wealthiest men. He is commonly known as the "Lion of the Punjab"
Nawaz Sharif entered the corridors of power in 1980s when in the general elections of 1985, he won with an overwhelming majority, both in 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 Assemblies by General Zia. Nawaz Sharif was again elected as Chief Minister after the 1988 general elections. After Zia's death and Benazir Bhutto's being elected Prime Minister in 1988, Sharif emerged as opposition leader from the conservative Pakistan Muslim League. When Bhutto was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 on corruption charges, Sharif was elected Prime Minister the same year. But relations between Sharif and Ghulam Ishaq too deteriorated, with Ghulam Ishaq attempting to dismiss Sharif on similar charges. Sharif successfully challenged the President's decision in the Supreme Court, but both men were ultimately persuaded to step down in 1993 by army chief Abdul Waheed Kakar.
Serving as the Leader of the Opposition during Bhutto's second tenure, Sharif was re-elected Prime Minister with a historic two-thirds majority in parliament, after Benazir was again dismissed for corruption by new President Farooq Leghari. Sharif replaced Leghari with Rafiq Tarar as President, then stripped the Presidency of its powers by passing the Thirteenth Amendment. He also controversially ordered Pakistan's first nuclear tests in response to neighbouring India's second nuclear tests. 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 army. After Sharif was summoned for contempt by the Supreme Court in 1997, party workers attacked the court and Chief Justice Syed Sajjad Ali Shah. Sharif also fell out with army chief Jehangir Karamat and replaced him with Pervez Musharraf in 1998, but after Pakistan's haphazard performance in the Kargil War, relations between the two also deteriorated. When he attempted to relieve Musharraf from his command on 12 October 1999, the army instead ousted Sharif's government, exiling him to Saudi Arabia.
Sharif returned in 2007, and his party contested elections in 2008, forming the provincial government in Punjab under Sharif's brother Shahbaz until 2013. He successfully called for Musharraf's impeachment and the reinstatement of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Between 2008 and 2013, Sharif was in opposition. In the 2013 Pakistani general election, his party achieved the largest number of votes and he formed a coalition to become the 18th Prime Minister of Pakistan, returning to the position after fourteen years, in a democratic transition, for an unprecedented third time.
Early life and education
Nawaz Sharif was born in the upper-middle class Sharif family 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, eventually settling in the village of Jati Umra in Amritsar district, Punjab in the beginning of the twentieth century. His mother's family came from Pulwama. Following the partition of India 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 Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab. His daughter Maryam Nawaz, apparently a housewife but sometimes active for her father's party, is currently the chairperson for Prime Minister's youth initiative. His other daughter, Asma Nawaz, is married to Ali Dar, who is a 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, Lahore with an art and business degree and then received a law degree from the Punjab University Law College.
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 discovering that the family steel business was lost into the hands of the government as a result of Bhutto's nationalisation of the economy, and Sharif jumped into national politics soon after. In 1976, Sharif politically motivated himself and joined the Pakistan Muslim League, a conservative front rooted in the Punjab province. He initially focused on regaining control of his steel industry 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, and 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 the Zia-ul-Haq, who soon agreed to return to him his private steel mill which had been lost during the wave of 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-resource rich Arab countries in the Middle East to restart 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 and the Pakistan Peoples Party." After coming into national power in 1990, Sharif attempted a reversal of Bhutto's nationalisation policies, introducing an economy based on privatization and economic liberalisation.