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.

  • Syed Haider Hussain

    Why do we have law then if democracy is above the law… Democracy should be there, Nawaz is not democracy – stop confusing the people. if he Supreme Court decides based on evidence provided – he has go and someone else from his party may lead..Recommend

  • 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

  • Chaudhry

    Yes the democracy needs to roll on but you cannot use it as a maxim to allow an allegedly corrupt Pm to lead it. By all cannons of democracy, accountabilty must be ensured. It is a norm of democracies that the executives of the government named in scandals have resigned and a new person was installed through proper channels. It didnt derail their democracy, now did it?
    Infact, the PM must step down and allow someone else from the major party to lead until the new general elections but he is too keen to hold all the power in his grip n shape it as his personal Monocracy. And it is this very stubbornness of politicians, we have witnessed over the decades that has given army a space to cross the barracks and come to power corridors.Recommend

  • 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

  • Zaq

    You have apparently not read the entire JIT report with the evidences. Pity you mate!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

  • Humza

    I don’t think the biased JIT report showed me anything. It was all politically motivated by the cowards who do not want to see this country continue to develop. Pakistan’s economy is the best performing in the Muslim world and there is not only stability but less violence. Imagine how much more growth we would have if not for all the judicial nonsense that has nothing to do with laws but with sore losers like Imran Khan who want to derail democracy. I agree
    100 % with the author. Nawaz Sharif and company may be no angels but they are better than the other looters and plunderers who have ruled the country in the last decades. Look at Pakistan’s standing in the world is the best of all Muslim countries and ask yourself if you want the embarrassment of the lost decade of Musharraf ! Let democracy take roots and if people believe JIT they will vote out Nawaz but if they want more of the same development, he’ll be back. This is what the politically motivated JIT is about – not about 2 properties in London bought more than 20 years ago.Recommend

  • Custard_Pie_In_Your_Face

    As long as our leaders continue to feel themselves to be bigger than the party they represent then Pakistan is nowhere near a democracy.

    Forget completing his term, if he had a shred of decency he would never have allowed the nation to be the centre of this circus and would have resigned a long time ago.

    To think that I actually wasted my vote on this shameless human being.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Would be difficult for Team Sharif to run for offices from jail cells!
    BTW just how did the wealth of Team Sharif members increase from 20 to 80 fold plus with no matching income to account for as shown in JIT report???Recommend

  • Patwari

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

  • Patwari

    Well, look up how many Muslims were hung in
    Hindustan last week over Gau Mata,…er raksha.
    Then switch to Dalit women getting raped by
    fellow hindus.Recommend

  • Rizwan Nasar

    There is no rational to let a proven plunderer of the nation and a lair to continue as the PM. He should be arrested and prosecuted for his crimes. While democracy can continue. The ruling party can elect a new PM and democracy continue to flow. This Supreme Court has a chance to “Make Pakistan Great Again” and they should avail this chance without hesitation.Recommend

  • Ahmar

    If Nelson Mandela could do it, so can Nawaz. Pakistanis always go with the person they see as being victimized.

    I have read bits and pieces of the report. The alleged wealth increase spans over decades. The majority of this time, they were not in power. They are a business family with money invested in several private companies. These companies turned profit and their wealth increase is a result of these companies’ appreciation of stock. Property prices have also gone up a lot in the last twenty years.

    The big question is where they got the initial funding from to invest in property/companies…not the increase in value.Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Waiting for your “list of 14 Indian Consulates” you claim exist along Afgan-Pakistani border?
    Waiting for your “very long list of Indian Terrorist Attacks” that you claimed to have, but now have lost!!!Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    20 to 80 plus fold increase in wealth highlighted in JIT, but missing from declarations made by PM on taking office is the issue! Panama Papers is about money hidden overseas and not declared in case you missed it!Recommend

  • Patwari

    Afghans look very different from hindus. Short, dark,
    wearing a dhoti with a bindi on the forehead……….
    Just go to the Afghan side of the Pak border and ask any Afghan villager to guide you to the Hindustani Hindu House
    of Culture. They will gladly take you to the ‘consulate’ There
    are more than 14 now. Give or take about 27. It’s a long border.
    You will have to pay the villager, because Afghans want money for the smallest service.
    They will even sell their mother down the street if it comes to
    that, or their brother or their sister or their daughterRecommend

  • Ahmar

    You have to declare your own wealth and assets. Panama papers have named his children as the owners of the flat and offshore companies.

    The case is still in court however and I am fine waiting for a verdict. Why should he resign?Recommend

  • Sana Ajmal

    People elected the Parliament… Not the leader of the Parliament. Dismissal of one person shouldn’t affect democracy if democracy is implemented in its true spirit. If it does then 2008 to 2013 also saw a PM’s dismissal but the author still sees that era as an anomaly. No Parliament would ever want a person who has charges of corruption leveled against him as their leader. What are assuming democracy to be? A ticket to loot? Conventional democracy in feudal controlled systems, without transparency and accountability, and lack of formal technical thinking process … Do u really think that’s the answer to our problems..?Recommend