Nawaz Sharif must be allowed to complete his term as his dismissal will do no good

Published: July 17, 2017

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. PHOTO: REUTERS

The earliest memory of television I have is Pakistan winning the 1992 Cricket World Cup. I don’t recall what happened on TV afterwards or how things got there, but I vaguely remember Nawaz Sharif’s sombre looking face on the television set in our living room a year later. Nawaz was prime minister. That’s all I was old enough to understand.

Then one day he wasn’t.

I was in grade three and apparently a new federal election was taking place. I recognised no one except Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz when they were on television or the newspaper. Who was my family voting for? I had no idea, but I knew they didn’t like Benazir. Neither did any of my friends in school.

But then she won.

I remember the Awami Markaz in Islamabad. Was that the first time I recall using an escalator? Probably. They said Benazir built it. I didn’t know, moreover I didn’t care. I just loved the magic stairs that didn’t make you walk. I recall her awarding Arjuna Ranatunga the 1996 World Cup trophy, dressed in green and white, the elegant prime minister of Pakistan.

Then one day she wasn’t.

Everyone seemed to be happy since they all said she was pure evil.

I was in grade six and another new election was taking place. Everyone was supposed to vote for good ol’ Nawaz. Pious, patriotic and pleasant. And everyone did. A few years down the road, he gave us the atomic bomb. Nawaz was a rock star.

Then one day he wasn’t.

The TVs stopped working, the phones stopped working. What happened?

It was 1999 and Pervez Musharraf was here.

This time, I was old enough to understand what happened. And nearly a decade of privatisation fondling, cable networking sprouting and Osama bin Laden chasing, he was gone.

It was 2008, Benazir was assassinated. Nawaz was back and Asif Ali Zardari was pacing through the corridors of power.

Strange and sad yet familiar.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was in power. Zardari was president. They remained in power and there was no abrupt end this time. There was nothing on TV that would confuse me.

It was 2013 and they completed their term. They begged. They stole. They were choked. They were beaten. They held on to the last straws of life, and they crawled through. Democracy was finally here, 66 years later.

So was Imran Khan the politician; breathing fire and galvanising thousands. Making sense? Questionable.

It was 2016 and this time Panama was here. Fast forward a few months, and the scenes are all too familiar. 2008 to 2013 was an anomaly. Or was it?

Nawaz is staring at a dismissal, voluntary or otherwise.

Imran wants him out.

Zardari wants him out.

Farooq Sattar wants him out.

Sirajul Haq wants him out.

Facebook wants him out.

Twitter wants him out.

Instagram and Snapchat probably do too.

Does Nawaz’s playlist have The Clash’s ‘Should I stay or should I go’ on repeat?


Will a Nawaz dismissal do any good? Probably not.

Regardless of whether he decides to resign or not, Nawaz has been hit and he has been hit hard. For a country that always appears to be a sneeze away from bringing the walls of democracy down, Nawaz must be allowed to complete his term and then face the music when we go to polls in 2018 as scheduled. The wheels of democracy, no matter how flawed, must be allowed to roll. Reverting back to the musical chairs of the 90s will destroy the little progress that has been made since 2008. Megalomaniac Populism, for all its allure and charm, is not the answer right now. The bitter pill needs to be swallowed for the greater good.

More importantly, there will always be little kids on TV and iPhones who will look at these faces and wonder what happened and why it happened so fast, and that will be sad.

Do you think Nawaz Sharif should be allowed to complete his term?

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salman Zafar

Salman Zafar

The writer works in the Education Sector and tweets as @salmanzafar1985 (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Mughees Ahmed


  • Zaib

    So where are the evidence then…Recommend

  • Zaib

    Full agreeRecommend

  • Omair Shahid

    Nawaz sharif should not be allowed to continue he should resign and select any other leader for pm for remaining part of the governmentRecommend

  • Syed Imran

    “The bitter pill needs to be swallowed for the greater good.”

    The only bitter pill that you need to swallow is to let these people go. You want him to stay because musical chairs will start? You need a monarchy then; not democracy.

    The will of the people decides who governs. You are mistaken if you think NS was elected by the people and that democracy is thriving in the country.Recommend

  • Parvez

    That was terrible logic …… by removing Nawaz, the PML-N still remains in government and democracy does not get derailed, it gets strengthened.Recommend

  • Hannad Shad

    Nicely written. I can relate my childhood!Recommend

  • Manal

    Democracy doesn’t mean a free ticket to loot and plunder for 5 years! That’s just our abysmal thinking and society….Recommend

  • rex Minor

    The author has missed the point. The Sharifs have been caught red handed with all the evidence and proof that they hve been vigorously looting the treasury and distributing wealth to their cronies on the way. There are dark forces now ready to send the entire family to hell on charges beyond corruption. The former Predators residing outside the country are shocked to learn about the size of the Sharif wealth and are ready to return to take their share with Imran Khan. The Supreme Court should disqualify all politcians those mentioned in jit report to avoid the repeat of musical chair game.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Abdc286

    You were brilliant till 2013. But then you choked and you choked bad !Recommend

  • Ahmar

    Why should Nawaz Sharif resign or be disqualified? Because of article 62?

    If article 62 is strictly applied to every MNA, the whole assembly would be disqualified. Has Imran Khan never lied and “Sadiq”? Does anyone consider Zardari “Ameen”?

    Article 62 and 63 were inserted into the constitution by General Zia-ul-Haq. Apparently he was the paragon of being “Sadiq and Ameen”? It was an amendment to the constitution to keep the civilian-elected politicians in control of that dictator.

    Go ahead and disqualify Nawaz Sharif if you will. PML-N and Sharif family will come back stronger and with even more support in 2018. What will the media, agencies and judiciary do then?Recommend

  • sherlock

    This time that one tiny bit of evidence is calibri font. everyone leaves the evidence behindRecommend

  • numbersnumbers

    In case you missed it, the entire sordid affair was viewable when ET published the 200 plus page JIT report for all to read! THATS WHERE MUCH OF THE EVIDENCE IS!!!! Just search for “JIT report pdf” and download a free copy!Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Would the author please tell all of Pakistan under which crimes the PM should be removed for, if massive corruption doesn’t do it for him!Recommend

  • Sane

    If Nawaz Sharif is allowed to complete tenure, then free all those who are in jails and stop prosecuting under trial prisoners.Recommend

  • ab

    patwari or patwari in the making?Recommend

  • Sane

    Sharifs have looted this country. Should looters be stayed in the name of democracy? Then what kind of democracy is this?Recommend

  • Nawaz Shareef

    Thats Why we are too Behind, When Paid Journalist come forward to defend me.Recommend

  • Patwari

    If you cross a bonobo with one of Ms Jane Goodall’s lab
    subjects, the mitochondrial would reflect Nawaz to an ARecommend