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Nawaz Sharif’s Internal Journey

by Newsweek Pakistan

File Photo. Adem Altan—AFP

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s disenfranchisement with the PMLN points to the personal transformation of the ousted prime minister

The latest spat between the PMLN’s ex-information minister and senior politician Pervaiz Rashid and ex-interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan is a good indicator of the internal journey of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif from a conservative protégé of an ideological establishment to an enlightened modernist leader leaning toward secular-democratic ideals. Rashid came close to calling Khan a representative of the deep state, who didn’t do enough to parry the blows coming from Imran Khan’s establishment-supported Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and his spook-supported “dharna” (sit-in) politics.

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has long been a trusted lieutenant of Sharif as a rightwing leader that military dictator General Ziaul Haq had nurtured as a Punjabi substitute for the Sindhi leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto he toppled from power. Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s links with the military were always well-known—and were considerably “useful” for the prime minister—but his reluctance to take on the establishment directly from his interior ministry was noticed by many, including his reference to Imran Khan as an “old friend from school.”

But the real break came from within, as Sharif’s adherence to hard Islam softened. People saw it in his efforts to normalize relations with India and his remarkable fraternization with the Hindu community, which the Chief Justice of Pakistan avoided naming in his recent address in Quetta. Earlier this year, Sharif met the Hindu community of Karachi and declared that he would join them in celebrating the holi festival. He was condemned by the clergy for this “unholy intimacy,” but what took the cake was his January address to them as he inaugurated the restoration of an ancient Hindu temple complex in Punjab: “In my personal view, we are all are equal—Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians—and people belonging to other religions; we are all one.” His own party was bemused but there were some like Pervaiz Rashid who welcomed it.

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1 comment

Arshed Iqbal August 19, 2017 - 4:53 pm

Nawaz Sharif rightly once protege of Zia Bush Saudi militant islamic alliance; distance from comandments irked powerful establishment and its ill concieved stretegic depth into Afghanistan; once again.

The journey of Sharif from rightious religious family to secular modren muslim leader is undoubtly achieved from rising Turking ducessful model and self exile life at one of modt tolerant nations like England.

Sharif ouster from scene is viewed largely by concious analysts due to ever independent approach, Denial to military’s dictates on foreign policy, handling of neighbouring Afghanistan & India and game changer CPEC with ever marginalised US intrests in the region.


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