The nine lives of Nawaz Sharif - Hindustan Times
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The nine lives of Nawaz Sharif

ByHT Editorial
Dec 27, 2023 10:15 PM IST

Nawaz Sharif now faces the difficult task of galvanising his party for what promises to be one of Pakistan’s most intriguing elections.

Pakistan’s former premier Nawaz Sharif has cleared one hurdle for his return to electoral politics with authorities giving the initial approval for the nomination papers filed by the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) supremo for next year’s general elections. Sharif came back to Pakistan in October after four years in self-imposed exile because of a raft of charges brought against him by the former government of Imran Khan, and is eyeing an unprecedented fourth stint as PM. The Pakistan’s Election Commission has accepted Sharif’s nomination papers despite questions about his eligibility to contest the February 8 elections given his lifelong disqualification from politics by the SC. The PML-N has argued that Sharif’s disqualification ended with his acquittal in all the graft cases he was facing. He now faces the difficult task of galvanising his party for what promises to be one of Pakistan’s most intriguing elections.

Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, center in brown coat, waves to his supporters as he leaves after a court hearing in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.(AP) PREMIUM
Pakistan's former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, center in brown coat, waves to his supporters as he leaves after a court hearing in Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023.(AP)

Pakistan of today, mired in economic problems and contending with a resurgent Tehreek-e-Taliban, is very different from the country that Sharif headed in the past. The polarising politics of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has created deep divisions within society and the political establishment, though the military has reasserted its supremacy by shutting him out from electoral politics. Sharif has to focus on rebuilding his party amid a decline in the PML-N’s popularity. Though he has other hurdles to cross first, if Sharif does lead the PML-N to victory, he will again face the dilemma of balancing between pushing for civilian supremacy and catering to needs of the security establishment, which never allowed him to complete a full term as PM in the past.

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