Nawaz Sharif poised to lead Pakistan again after long wait

Published: May 12, 2013
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Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: After 14 years out of power, Nawaz Sharif is poised to become prime minister again, and he is a man in a hurry to clean up what he calls Pakistan’s mess.

Sharif said on Saturday his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party was the clear winner in general elections and that he hoped for a majority to avoid a coalition.

He inherits a country with a dizzying array of troubles, from chronic power cuts to a Taliban insurgency.

“The challenges are huge,” the portly Sharif told Reuters in his bullet-proof car during the last days of campaigning. “We have to bail out the economy.”

Sharif, who vows to bring in free market enterprise and ease economic controls, says speedy growth is the only answer for nuclear-armed Pakistan, a strategic US ally.

The powerful military still calls the shots in Pakistan but the poll marked the first time that an elected government will replace another one. Nevertheless, Sharif will have to work with the generals, who control foreign policy and security.

The new civilian government will also have to play its part in Pakistan’s difficult relationship with the United States.

In addition, the economy is stuttering. Power cuts that can last all day have infuriated Pakistanis and crippled key industries. Corruption and poverty are rampant, and infrastructure is crumbling.

Sharif, who made his fortune in steel, seems to have matured as a politician since he was toppled by former army chief and president Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup in 1999.

As the main opposition leader, he avoided antagonising Pakistan’s powerful army, or bringing down the Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition government when it was in trouble.

Instead, he waited patiently for an opportunity to rule and now that his moment has come, he says he is in a hurry to fix Pakistan.

The honeymoon will be short.

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Reader Comments (8)

  • C. Ouch
    May 12, 2013 - 2:28AM

    That is probably the worst possible outcomes of the polls. Twice Nawaz Sharif and his government has led Pakistan into a crisis of international proportions. In addition, the the Sharif brothers have had very Punjab centric political views.

    I pray and hope for a better outcome.

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  • ali
    May 12, 2013 - 3:21AM

    another 5 miserable years.

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  • naeem
    May 12, 2013 - 3:41AM

    We love you Nawaz Sharif!

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  • Sultan Khan
    May 12, 2013 - 6:49AM

    Had he been an able, competent and sagacious leader he would never have been kicked out twice. An able leader is one who takes the boat to the other side of prosperity overcoming and bypassing the tides and whirlpools and does not sink it in the middle of the ocean. He is a man of crisis. He can create crisis very easily but knows not how to overcome it.

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  • Asim
    May 12, 2013 - 9:03AM

    I share the pain. Why our fate has to be decided by un-educated people of punjab. Why zaat bradari matters in selecting your representative in Punjab. Why punjab has so many seats in NA. Why punjab matters so much and dont count. It was people of punjab who made PPP won in 2008 and now they have made PML(N) won. I think people of KPK are the most sensible coz they voted for PTI.

    Things will only get worst from here.

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  • Asam
    May 12, 2013 - 7:57PM

    Democracy is not about education . It is one person one vote and that is the reason Punjab has more seats in National assembly . Punjab is also the bread basket of Pakistan. We should celebrate that a democratic process has been successfully completed. Majority have spoken and should not be insulted by being called uneducated of Punjab. It is called Bigotary and Ignorance. The elections of 2013 have gone a long way to engage a disenfranchised electorate. I hope that Khakkis do not march back in to power and the next elections take place in 2018.

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  • Zalmai
    May 13, 2013 - 6:16PM

    Now everyone will jump on the PML-N bandwagon and jump ship/tonga/rickshaw from the PTI wagon.

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  • Tahir
    May 16, 2013 - 12:43AM

    @Asim: Don’t be so sure about PTI. First let’s see how they fare in KP.

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