On May 8th, 2021, former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, was released on bail from a hospital in Lahore. The 71-year-old politician had been serving a seven-year prison sentence for corruption before being granted bail on medical grounds. Nawaz Sharif’s release has once again brought attention to his long and controversial political career, which spans over four decades.
Born on December 25th, 1949, in Lahore, Nawaz Sharif began his political career in the early 1980s as a protégé of military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq. He was elected as the Chief Minister of Punjab province in 1985 and served in that role until 1990. Sharif’s tenure as Chief Minister was marked by a number of controversies, including allegations of corruption and his involvement in the establishment of extremist religious groups.
In 1990, Nawaz Sharif was elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan, and he served two non-consecutive terms in this role. His first term lasted from 1990 to 1993, and his second term began in 1997 and ended in 1999. During his time in office, Sharif implemented a number of policies aimed at liberalizing the Pakistani economy and attracting foreign investment. He also pursued a policy of nuclear weapons development, which culminated in Pakistan’s first nuclear tests in 1998.
Despite these achievements, Nawaz Sharif’s political career has been marked by a number of controversies and allegations of corruption. In 1993, he was dismissed from office by then-President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on charges of corruption and abuse of power. He was later reinstated by the Supreme Court of Pakistan but was again dismissed by General Pervez Musharraf in 1999, in a military coup.
Following his removal from office in 1999, Nawaz Sharif went into exile in Saudi Arabia for several years. He returned to Pakistan in 2007 and re-entered politics, becoming Prime Minister for a third time in 2013. However, his third term in office was once again marred by allegations of corruption, and he was removed from office in 2017 by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Since his removal from office, Nawaz Sharif has been embroiled in a number of legal battles, including corruption charges related to the Panama Papers scandal. In 2018, he was sentenced to ten years in prison on charges of corruption and money laundering. He was released on bail in 2019 for medical treatment and remained in exile in London until his recent return to Pakistan.
Nawaz Sharif’s release on bail has sparked controversy in Pakistan, with some accusing the government of granting him special treatment due to his political connections. Others argue that Sharif’s health issues make it necessary for him to receive medical treatment outside of prison. Sharif’s release has also led to speculation about his future political ambitions and whether he will once again seek public office in Pakistan.
Despite the controversies surrounding his political career, Nawaz Sharif remains a popular figure in Pakistan, particularly among the country’s business community. His policies aimed at economic liberalization and attracting foreign investment have earned him praise from many, and his supporters argue that his removal from office was politically motivated.
However, critics argue that Nawaz Sharif’s political career has been marked by corruption and abuse of power, and that his policies have done little to address the country’s deep-seated problems of poverty, inequality, and political instability. They point to his close ties with Pakistan’s military establishment and his role in the establishment of extremist religious groups as evidence of his questionable character.