Nawaz Sharif’s last political opportunity

PML(N) chief Mian Nawaz Sharif is now in the decisive stage, in a wait and see phase, while a once-in-a-life-time opportunity stares him in the face saying: Step forward as you are running out of time and I will not be there for you if you act later.

The decision to act, or not to act, is one that has to be taken by Mian Nawaz Sharif alone and this decision will decide the shape of Pakistan’s future political landscape. He has to now take bold, calculated and dynamic political initiatives. If he does not do this then he will have to soon face an irretrievable political situation while his political rivals climb to new political heights.

Because of his hitherto ‘save the system’ policy Mian Nawaz Sharif has lost colossal amount of political space. Can he and his colleagues now bring about quick paced political initiatives aimed at regaining that lost political space? If they do they might even make PPP’s coalition partners i.e. PML-Q, MQM and ANP wonder if they are really onboard the better ship or are they on a drowning ship way out at sea. Can the PML-N bring this about and thus isolate PPP before launching a decisive political onslaught?

For the past three and a half years Mian Nawaz Sharif, obsessed with the fear of a military takeover, always came to the rescue of Mr Zardari’s so-called reconciliation driven coalition government, each time it was under threat.

On 18 March, 2009, Mian Nawaz Sharif could have easily brought down the then fragile government but did not do so for the same fear i.e. a military take over necessitated by chaotic conditions. He chose to call off the long march at Gujranwala after the judiciary was restored. This was a moment when Mian Nawaz Sharif was at his highest political pedestal since his return to Pakistan in late 2007.

Thereafter, it has been a tale of woes and political setbacks that have made Mian Nawaz Sharif face unfair taunts and criticism from friends and foes. One can imagine that this period must have been extremely difficult and embarrassing for him.

However, the ensuing situation now presents Mian Nawaz Sharif only two clear choices through which he can now either regain everything or lose a lot more. The first choice is, to strive and bring about a political change in Pakistan by the end of 2011 because every passing day only adds up to making things more and more difficult for the PML-N.

Secondly, to continue with the hitherto wait and see policy and simply keep wriggling and writhing under an even stronger, bolder and arrogant PPP regime.

In the light of these choices, should Mian Nawaz Sharif now decide to intensify activities. He will have to adopt a two-pronged strategy in which while, on one hand, he builds bridges with some of the political forces and on the other hand he whips up the existing and extreme frustrations of the public against the incumbent government.

More and more political forces will start aligning themselves with Mian Nawaz Sharif if he is seen as successful in whipping up support amongst the masses. Even ANP, MQM and PML-Q will then desert the PPP without the slightest hesitation.

Mian Nawaz Sharif and his planners must realise that it is because of the fear of him and not any so-called national interest etc. that the PML-Q, ANP and MQM find themselves as bed-fellows of the PPP. Inwardly, they all despise each other but are huddled together against a common foe namely, the PML-N.

Deep within PML-Q there is a huge ‘strength reservoir’ for the mother Party i.e. PML-N and Mian Nawaz Sharif’s planners must now appreciate this aspect while deriving their strategy.

Indeed, a do or die situation now stares at Mian Nawaz Sharif in which he does not have the option of losing. Mian Nawaz Sharif and his advisors should be able to see that there is a very bright and glittering silver lining in the apparently adverse political situation confronting them. That silver lining lies in the deployment of the opposing political forces.

Every single political entity that despises PML-N and its leadership has taken refuge in the existing coalition. PML-N is, therefore, presented with a very rare opportunity to outwit all its political opponents in one swooping political maneuver against the PPP led coalition. It would have thus neutralized PPP, PML-Q, MQM, ANP in that one swoop.

While the coalition now holds only one card in the shape of numbers in the National Assembly Mian Nawaz Sharif and his team have multiple options open to them.

Will the PML-N operational staff be able to decipher those multiple options, or not, is something that time will tell. The coalition is now a sitting duck for the Opposition specially as the masses no longer stand with it for commonly known reasons.

The PML-N only has to put into operation a series of calculated and synchronized political actions and win the day.

Can Mian Nawaz Sharif emerge from the dark clouds once again and conquer Pakistan’s political landscape? The next three months should provide the answer.

Mian Nawaz Sharif is the man of the moment and needs to be watched. It has to now be seen how good his political generals are in the unfolding political battle that has much at stake for all the major political parties of the country and in all this 12 March, 2012 is extremely significant.

The writer is a former DG of Intelligence Bureau. Email:
Note:- This was published in Pakistan’s largest circulation English language daily newspaper The News on 14 in the National News Section as a ‘Perspective’. The link is This includes making reference to the relevance of the material to the examination, but also, and of course more importantly, the real-world practical application of the ideas and concepts to be covered

Related Posts

Masood Sharif Khan KHATTAK’S Proposed Manifesto – A Plan to make The KHATTAK’S owners of their Resources

7 Replies to “Nawaz Sharif’s last political opportunity”

  1. Nawaz Sharif has always failed to capitalise on opportunities when they have presented itself. This brings to fore a question — is he really ready to take bold and right decision. This time we will know as he has now lost lot of space to maneuver. Overall I will grade him Average in Decision making abilities.


  3. @Hamid Khattak. Screaming with Capitals in your comments does not mean that you will be listened to well and will be taken as a serious person.You could easily have expressed yourself in a better manner and yet, even more strongly. The manner in which you expressed yourself only showed raw anger devoid of logic and may I say, in my opinion, wrongly directed.

    Before, I say anything else, let me say that I am a very proud Pakistani besides being a very proud Pakhtun too. I value my being a Pakhtun more than my life so let none of you doubt that. Having said that let me proceed to what I wanted to say.

    Is it us the Pakhtuns who vote in the political leaders(I call them so-called-leaders) in what is now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa or is it people from other Provinces of Pakistan who vote them into power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa? It is we the Pakhtuns, Hazarawalas and the Hindko speaking people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who vote them into powerand ceratainly not the Punjabis ad the Sindhis who cast their votes for us.

    If we i.e. the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa usually vote for political leaders out of whom a majority cannot even spell their names correctly then can we blame anyone but ourselves for the plight that the Pakhtuns face today? It is we the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa ourselves who should be blamed for the collective pathetic conditions of the Province.

    Our political strength in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is always divided. We elect in bits and pieces. A sprinkle of every Party represents the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the Provincial and National Assemblies while the more qualified sycophants(khushamandgaars of the party leaders) make it to the Senate. The result of all this has always been what you see happening today.

    If you do not understand what I just said let me spell it clearly. Because, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have not brought forth any dynamic political leader and no political forum(or Party) that can represent the interests of the Province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa those elected practise the politics of hypocrisy and self interests which leads to further deprivations of the masses while the so-called-leaders progress to become, from paupers to millionaires and from millionaires to billionnaires.

    So who do we blame for our plight? Believe me it is only us to blame. If Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is ever represented by one political party led by a dynamic leader everything will change in no time. Today, if it is a “who cares” attitude towards the Pakhtuns it is not because Punjab or Sindh have anything to do with it. Today, it is the spineless and vision less leaders that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have elected for themselves who do not fight for the interests of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

    Believe me no one will ever care for people who are leaderless or are represented by leaders like those we see running the affairs of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today. Since the people create these leaders they must also apportion the larger part of the blame to themselves.

  4. Nawaz Sharif is just suffering from political isolation and in such a condition a man commits several blunders and same with Mian Sahib. In the past he hijacked lawyer’s movement and penetrated into it like an uninvited guest and now he is doing the same by leading power protest organized by the goons of PML-N. Such politics strongly backfire and flood of people could wash away Raiwind palace and Takht-e-Lahore, if he does not stop supporting mobs in the streets. I wonder that several people are losing their lives every day, 8 to 10 people succumbed to Dengue every day but Mian Nawaz Sharif is seeking loopholes to plough ground for future politics. It is hilarious; both the brothers are out with all the guns towards presidency and kicked off election campaign while people of Punjab are dying of diseases, poverty and other issues making their life bitter.

  5. Sir with due deference and respect I want to say that joining hands with PTI was a wise decision. Nawaz sharif is playing games with the people of Pakistan since last 3 to 4 years he is in opposition but at the same time he is with zardari if you had joined hands with nawz sharif it should have been a bad decision imran khan sir is a true leader he is a hope for us.sir we the people of karak are in the favor of your decision

  6. Mr. Masood Sharif, I use to watch your analysis and find it very helpful in understanding the current political and military situation.
    With the reference to the post of Mr. Hamid Khuttak, I want to ask you a question. Why this anti-Punjabi element is growing there in your area? What are the reasons. I am a student and I have in my college there are Pakhtoons and Pathans. When they came to Lahore they have negative sentiments. But gradually when they passed their time with us, their opinion totally changed. As a former Intelligence Chief, you are supposed to be a well known and well informed person about the specific climate of different provinces and even different cities in Pakistan. In my opinion and according to my observation, there is no racism and difference in Punjab, as far as the common Pakistanis are concerned, I am not talking about politics.
    And second thing, I am totally in agreement with you that people of KPK are responsible for what is wrong there, and I believe this fact applies all over the Pakistan. But he is to blame for? People of Punjab? Certainly not, let me assure you, Punjab is the most politically educated province in Pakistan, and as far as development is concerned, in my thought the people of that area are the most responsible ones for development or non development. Obviously it is a democratic system, but what is missing is the “Pressure” which should be built on the elective candidates. I think here in Punjab people somehow realize this.
    Coming back to the point, as you answered Mr. Hamid “So who do we blame for our plight? Believe me it is only us to blame. If Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is ever represented by one political party led by a dynamic leader everything will change in no time. Today, if it is a “who cares” attitude towards the Pakhtuns it is not because Punjab or Sindh have anything to do with it. Today, it is the spineless and vision less leaders that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have elected for themselves who do not fight for the interests of the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.”
    I totally agree. The provincial governments are responsible to do so, if they fail then central government must act. I am not talking about whats going on, I am saying what must happen.
    And you might know, Ch, Pervez Elahi was far more better than Shahbaz Sharif. He raised the pays of doctors, started rescue 1122 and modern traffic police, and above that when he left, the province was with a surplus of Rs.100 Million. Today Punjab Govt. is running out of balance which you call overdraft. I live near to the mighty houses of Nawaz, Shahbaz and Hamza sharif and they corden off all the roads.
    So what are the results we getting from this discussion?
    1. People of Pakistan are solely responsible for all wrongs.
    2. If Pakistanis know their real strength (as it was demonstrated in PTI jalsa Lahore) the change can bring in.

    and my question is due to you Sir, about the growing racism.
    Thank you.
    Syed Talal Hassan
    Chartered Accountancy Student

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.