Vastavam web: Nawaz Sharif, known as the ‘Lion of Punjab’, became the Prime Minister in the politically unstable Pakistan for a record three times, but every-time he was forced to quit in the middle of his term – first by the presidency, then the military and now the judiciary.Sharif, who leads the country’s most powerful political family and the ruling PML-N party, successfully managed to swim through all the “tsunamis” since he assumed power for the third term in June 2013, but a Supreme Court ruling against him in the Panamagate case struck a heavy blow to his career.The 67-year-old wily political leader, seen by many as someone who can fix the country’s problems such as economy and the terrorism, found himself besieged by problems after Panama papers showed illegal money laundering by him in 1990s when he twice served as Prime Minister to purchase assets in London.
International Consortium of Investigative Journalists disclosed that Sharif’s children Mariam, Hassan and Hussain – were the beneficial owners of offshore companies set up in the British Virgin Islands, a known tax haven.In May, the Supreme Court set up a six-member joint investigation team (JIT) to investigate the charges against Sharif and his family.Sharif, his sons, daughter and brother Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif all appeared before the JIT which comprised officials from Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ISI and the military intelligence.
Sharif dismissed the report as a “bundle of baseless allegations” and refused to quit, despite demands to do so from several quarters, including opposition political parties.On July 21, the court reserved its verdict after concluding the hearing and ruled against Sharif on July 28.During his tenure, Sharif developed serious differences with conservative president Ghulam Ishaq Khan, who dissolved the National Assembly using his reserve powers in April 1993.In July, Sharif resigned under pressure from the army but made a settlement that resulted in the removal of Khan as well.
In 2013 general elections, Sharif’s centre-right Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) emerged as the single largest party falling just short of a majority. But, he was able to muster the required strength within days as many independents came forward to support him.During his third term, Sharif had managed to swim through several crisis such as massive protest rallies outside the parliament in his second year in office by cricketer-turned- politician Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and supporters of influential cleric Tahirul Qadri.During this tenure, Sharif launched a number of development projects including the multi-billion China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
His another major achievement was the launch of military operation Zarb-e-Azb in 2014 to flush out the militants from North Waziristan and South Waziristan – a hub of terrorism.Sharif was born in 1949 into a wealthy family of industrialists in Lahore and was educated privately at English-language schools.He got degree in law from the University of Punjab before joining his father’s steel company and eventually entering politics after his family was hit considerably following nationalising of nationalised private industry in the 1970s by then Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.