NAWAZ SHARIF: PAKISTAN’S FORMER LEADER RETURNS AFTER NEARLY FOUR YEARS IN SELF-EXILE
Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister of Pakistan, has made a dramatic return to the country after almost four years in self-exile, adding another layer of complexity to the already tense political landscape as the nation prepares for an upcoming national election. Sharif, a three-time prime minister, arrived at Islamabad airport on Saturday, marking his first return to Pakistan since being disqualified from holding office in 2017 due to corruption allegations.
A TURBULENT POLITICAL JOURNEY
Throughout his political career, Nawaz Sharif has faced numerous challenges and controversies. He was ousted in a military coup in 1999 and subsequently removed as prime minister by a military-backed president in 1993. In 2017, the Supreme Court’s ruling on corruption allegations led to his disqualification, and the following year he was handed a seven-year prison sentence, which was later suspended on medical grounds. His return to Pakistan comes after an Islamabad court granted him protective bail, preventing his arrest before appearing in court.
FRAUGHT POLITICAL CLIMATE
Sharif’s return has heightened tensions in Pakistan, which has been mired in political instability following the ouster of another prime minister, Imran Khan. The nation has seen widespread protests over rising prices and discontent with the powerful military, which some claim played a role in Khan’s removal, although the military denies this.
INFLUENTIAL FAMILY DYNASTY
Sharif comes from a political dynasty that has played a significant role in shaping Pakistan’s political landscape. As the former head of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party, he wields considerable influence and is expected to lead the party’s election campaign. His younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, has also been involved in politics and previously served as prime minister.
DIVISIONS AND CHALLENGES
The political turmoil in Pakistan has exposed deep divisions and challenges within the country. Crippling inflation, soaring fuel and food prices, and a struggling economy have contributed to public dissatisfaction and affected the popularity of the PML-N party. The return of Nawaz Sharif further complicates an already volatile situation as the nation braces for the upcoming national election.
As Pakistan navigates through this politically charged period, the return of Nawaz Sharif has implications for the country’s future. With the election on the horizon, the political landscape is likely to be further shaped by the actions and influence of key figures such as Sharif and his party. The uncertainty and complexity surrounding Pakistan’s political scene underscore the challenges and shifts taking place within the nation’s governance.
1. « Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan after four years in exile » – CNN
2. « Nawaz Sharif returns to Pakistan, set to transform political landscape » – Reuters
3. « Political turmoil in Pakistan as former prime minister Nawaz Sharif returns » – Al Jazeera