The process for the election of the prime minister of Pakistan has kick-started. Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif is set to become the premier for third time. He, along with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) politician Makhdoom Amin Faheem and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI) leader Makhdoom Javed Hashmi submitted his nomination papers today.
Here’s a glance at the three candidates for premiership:
PML-N candidate Nawaz Sharif
A former two-time premier and chief minister of Punjab, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is much known for carrying out nuclear tests in 1998. Sharif, a politician and businessman, served his first term as premier from November 1, 1990 to July 18, 1993. His second term began on February 17, 1997, ending on October 12, 1999.
Sharif’s political career took off in the 1980s when he served as Punjab’s finance minister and later as the province’s chief minister.
In November 1990, Sharif was elected prime minister, succeeding Pakistan Peoples Party’s Benazir Bhutto. In his first tenure as premier, he initiated many developmental projects in the country. His premiership also saw the passing of the Shariat Bill, making Quran and sunnah the law in Pakistan.
Nawaz was vehemently criticised by PPP and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) for neglecting Sindh and Balochistan with respect to projects involving development and industrialisation.
He was first ousted from power in 1993 following a widening rift between himself and Ghulam Ishaq Khan, the president at the time.
Sharif again became prime minister in 1997 and spearheaded a series of constitutional amendments. Several of these were viewed as attempts to counter “institutional opposition” to his rule. Sharif also entered into a conflict with the then chief justice of the country and faced contempt of court charges. These were eventually dismissed.
His second term also saw Pakistan conducting nuclear tests, days after India carried out its own.
And although, Sharif secured considerable popularity as a result, he found himself in conflict with his newly-appointed army chief, Pervez Musharraf, on Kargil. The conflict between the two escalated and Sharif’s second government was ousted in a military coup on October 12, 1999. Sharif returned to Pakistan on November, 2007, from exile in Saudi Arabia a month after Benazir’s homecoming, and resumed political activities.
For an in-depth profile of Nawaz Sharif, click here.
PTI candidate Makhdoom Javed Hashmi
Currently the president of PTI, Javed Hashmi got involved in politics early on in life – in 1972, he was the president of the Punjab University Students’ Union. He was also an activist for the Jamaat-i-Islami’s student wing in his college days and also had a short stint in Asghar Khan’s Tehrik-i-Istiqlal. Eventually, not finding the ideology quite to his taste, he took part in the 1985 non-party election and eventually joined Pakistan Muslim League in 1988.
He went on to serve multiple terms in Parliament as an MNA. In addition, his distinguished political career includes the ministry of health portfolio from 1997 to 1999. During Nawaz Sharif’s exile, Hashmi also served as the acting president of Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N). He was an MNA from 1985-88, 1990-1993, and again from 2008-2011. However, at the end of 2011, Hashmi resigned from the National Assembly, shortly after joining the PTI – a move that stunned his PML-N colleagues.
The veteran politician, who was once part of Ziaul Haq’s government, says he considers his support for the former military ruler the only mistake of his entire political career.
But Hashmi’s truly anti-establishment credentials became evident much after Zia’s days were over – He was jailed by Pervez Musharraf in a much-publicised case of treason and was released in August 2007 on the Supreme Court’s orders. After emerging victorious in the 2008 general election, he was one of just a few who refused to take oath under the former military ruler.
Despite having been a loyal PML-N member for over two decades, it began to become apparent in recent years that Hashmi was slowly being sidelined within the party. Eventually, when Hashmi publicly called for Nawaz to apologise to the nation for going into exile in exchange for a pardoned conviction, it seemed only a matter of time until the senior leader called it quits.
For an in-depth profile of Javed Hashmi, click here.
PPP candidate Makhdoom Amin Faheem
Born on August 4, 1939 in Hala, Sindh, Makhdoom Amin Faheem hails from an influential feudal family and is a senior leader PPP. He inherited the PPP’s politics from his late father Makhdoom Mohammad Zaman, who was one of the founder members of the party and a senior vice-president. Faheem was also a trusted aide of PPP’s former chief, Benazir Bhutto, especially during her years in self-imposed exile.
He graduated from Sindh University in 1961 and won his first National Assembly seat in 1970. Faheem has been elected six times since. However, as PPP member, he boycotted the 1985 non-party election during General Zia ul Haq’s tenure. Faheem was also offered the position of prime minister during former president Pervez Musharraf’s tenure, which he refused. He recently served as MNA from NA-218 (Matiari-cum-Hyderabad (Old Hyderabad-I)).
Faheem served as a minister with various portfolios during PPP governments. He served as a Federal Minister of Communication (1988-90) and Minister of Housing and Public Works (1994-96) during Benazir’s two terms and recently served as Federal Minister for Commerce.
After Benazir’s assassination, Faheem felt sidelined by the party’s new de facto chief Asif Ali Zardari. Apart from being passed over for the position of party chief, Faheem’s name was also dropped as PPP’s candidate for prime minister in 2008. Faheem’s candidacy was reportedly jeopardised due to his past contacts with Musharraf.
Despite the snub, Faheem stuck to the party and was later appointed federal commerce minister. He has been in the news over his alleged involvement in the National Insurance Company (NICL) land scam and also over the postponement of his trip to India as tensions sparked between the two countries. Moreover, he was recently elected president in PPP’s intra-party election. Whether he would be able to reclaim the influence he once enjoyed within his party remains a matter of speculation.
For an in-depth profile of Amin Faheem, click here.