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Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif

Shahbaz SharifMian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, brother of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is son of (late) Mian Muhammad Sharif. Although Nawaz is "Quaid" (Supreme Leader) of the party, Shahbaz is the official President of the PML-N. An eloquent interlocutor, Shahbaz often appears more articulate, intelligent, and energetic than his elder brother. Shahbaz, a keen businessman, managed the Ittefaq Group of Companies, which was founded by his fathers and uncles. Shahbaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif's brother and former chief minister of Punjab province, prefers good ties with the military. Nawaz Sharif, who remained close to the military generals until the 1999 coup against his government by General Pervez Musharraf, has since followed a collision course with the army.

Pakistan’s ruling party appointed an interim chief executive of the country 29 July 2017, a day after the Supreme Court ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for concealing assets. Sharif's younger brother, Shahbaz Sharif, would run in a parliamentary election for the seat vacated by the ousted prime minister so he could become a member of the national parliament and take over as permanent prime minister of Pakistan.

Shahbaz's passport indicates he was born on September 23, 1951. He got his early education from Cathedral School Lahore. Shahbaz graduated from Government College, Lahore with distinction. He also studied at Punjab University. He belongs to a family of distinguished business community. He was a son of Mian Muhammad Sharif, a leading industrialist of Lahore and the owner of Ittafaq Foundries. His father wanted him to become an engineer but Shahbaz Sharif was not interested in science subjects. He got admission in Government College Lahore, from where he did his Masters in Economics.

The Sharif family were perturbed with a great economic setback when during the process of Nationalization Ittafaq Foundries were taken over by the Bhutto government. At that critical time Shahbaz Sharif decided to help his father in his business. He worked hard along with his father and within a couple of years they successfully managed to establish six new factories. Under the guidance of his conscientious and talented father, Shahbaz Sharif showed his caliber as an effective and resourceful businessman. As a keen businessman he played a vital role in the success of Ittefaq Group of Companies, which was founded by his father and uncles. He came into politics to follow the footsteps of his brother and "Quaid" of Pakistan Muslim League.

In 1983, when his brother Nawaz Sharif was a provincial minister he was also asked to participate in local bodies elections but he refused to do so. However, he played an active role in the election campaign of his brother Nawaz Sharif. In the same year Shahbaz Sharif was elected as the President of Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

He served as President Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry from 1985. Shahbaz Sharif participated in the elections of 1988 and was elected from Lahore as Member of both National and Provincial Assemblies. He opted to retain his seat in the provincial assembly of Punjab where his brother Nawaz Sharif was the Chief Minister. However, after winning the election in 1990 he decided to become member of National Assembly. Yet till 1993, Shabaz Sharif was mainly interested in his family business hardly spending time in politics.

He represented Pakistan on International forums including United Nations, where he was hailed for his views and speaking powers. His keynote speech at International Labour Conference held at Geneva in 1981 was appraised all round the world by the labor organizations, activists and democratic world.

Later, he joined active politics and served as Member, Punjab Assembly during 1988-90; and as Member, National Assembly during 1990-93 during Nawaz's first administration, where he earned a reputation as the government's behind-the-scenes troubleshooter. He was elected as Member, Punjab Assembly again in 1993 and served as Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly (1993-96) during Benazir Bhutto's second term as Prime Minister. He became Member of Punjab Assembly for the third term in 1997; was elected as Chief Minister.

When Benazir Bhutto as the leader of Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDA) was elected for the second time as the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1993, Shahbaz Sharif was once again elected as the Member of the National Assembly. This time he showed more interest in politics and made his presence felt both inside and outside the Parliament. When Nawaz Sharif was reelected as the Prime Minister of the country in result of the election of 1997, Shahbaz Sharif decided to opt for the provincial seat. Punjab Provincial Assembly elected him as the leader of the house by casting 226 votes in his favor in the house of 240.

Shahbaz was Chief Minister of Pakistan's biggest province, Punjab from 20 February 1997 to 12 October 1999.; he was widely considered to be an efficient administrator. Shahbaz's appointment as Chief Minister reputedly was the genesis for the rift between the Sharifs and the Chaudharys (of the PML). Chaudhry Shujaat complained that Nawaz promised to make his cousin, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Chief Minister in exchange for their support. Shujaat accused Nawaz Sharif of breaking his word and appointing Shahbaz instead.

During his government, development and progress of the province was appreciated by national and global media. Ghost schools were eliminated and IT sector and foreign investment was given warm welcome. Due to his good policies Microsoft and Oracle made a huge investment in Pakistan.

Shahbaz functioned as Chief Minister of Punjab till 1999 when, as a result of military coup, his government, along with the Federal Government, was toppled. He was imprisoned and then exiled.

He played a leading role in the restoration of democracy in the country. In 2000, Shahbaz and his brother were exiled from Pakistan and spent the next seven years in Saudi Arabia and London. He was elected as the president of Pakistan Muslim League on 3rd august 2002 while he was on exile in Saudi Arabia. In the meeting of central executive committee he was elected unopposed. The move to pass on the party leadership to Shahbaz Sharif suggests that the PML (N) still believes it is the charisma of the Sharif name which may win them votes in the elections.

Shahbaz attempted to return to Pakistan in May 2004 following a High Court decision but was deported back to Saudi Arabia upon his plane's arrival in Lahore. Shahbaz and his brother retained excellent business and personal relations with the Saudi royal family.

Shahbaz claimed his party had no interest in impeaching Musharraf as long as the President did not block restoration of the 1973 constitution (which would increase Prime Ministerial powers) and restoration of the judiciary. Some speculate that Musharraf was (and continued to be) amenable to working with Shahbaz, but Nawaz has rejected this option, fearing his brother's influence might outstrip his own.

In January 2001 Shahbaz was charged -- but never convicted -- of being involved in a April 1998 clash with police in Sabza Zar (near Lahore) that resulted in the death of five people.

He was forced to leave the country along with his family by the Military Government. He spent two years in Saudi Arabia and in London trying to come back to power, through a democratic process. His family returned to Pakistan in 2007 but he did not come as the court had ordered his arrest. In addition he was also not allowed to run in the general elections of 2008 because of the numerous charges he was facing.

On his return before 2008 elections after he was cleared on all charges by the court. Shahbaz did not contest the February 18, 2008 elections because the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) deemed him ineligible, based on the grounds that he had pending criminal charges. Shahbaz said the ECP rejected his papers because of government pressure, and he decided not to appeal the decision, claiming it meant recognizing Musharraf's illegal courts.

The PML-N did especially well in the 2008 parliamentary elections, garnering 67 (almost 25%) of the National Assembly seats. The Sharif brothers intended to wield their restored political clout within Punjab Province, with Shahbaz at the province's helm.

Saudi money reputedly financed the Sharif's parliamentary campaign and Shahbaz met with the Saudi Ambassador in Lahore to discuss PML-N political strategy. Having been elected unopposed as Member, Punjab Assembly for the fourth term, he functioned for the second time as Chief Minister, Punjab.

In this period of responsibility he made numerous changes to Punjabthat have benefited the society in various ways. Shahbaz was was deposed in 2009 after President Asif Zardari imposed governor's rule under Salmaan Taseer, following the Sharif brothers' electoral disqualification by the Supreme Court. The Sharifs were acquitted after the Long March restored the judiciary, and governor's rule was lifted. Sharif's second term focused on development in infrastructure, and successfully combating an outbreak of dengue fever in 2011.

Shahbaz Sharif also actively took part in the scheme to terminate the Dengue Fever outbreak that occurred during 2011. This resulted in many lives being saved and was appreciated by numerous foreign countries. He also protested against the long periods of load-shedding that occurs in Pakistan andaimed to reduce it drastically. Sharif was re-elected Chief Minister following the general elections of 2013. His third term saw large development projects including the rapid-transit Lahore Metrobus, but was also marred by increasing controversy, after 14 anti-government protestors were shot dead by police in Lahore in 2014. Sharif was contentiously cleared of involvement by a judicial inquiry.

He has been married three times: to his cousin Nusrat (married in 1973, she died in 1993), to Aaliya Honey (married in 1993, she died just 6 months after marriage), and to Tehmina Durrani. Shahbaz Sharif's first marriage was with his cousin Nusrat Shahbaz in 1973, with the approval of his father. They have two sons, Hamza and Salman and three daughters. His son, Hamza Shahbaz is in politics and is a member of the National Assembly. Salman Shahbaz, educated at Oxford, concentrates mainly on business. Shahbaz Sharif's second marriage was with Aaliya Honey in 1993-94. They have one daughter, Khadija. He divorced her while in exile in Saudi Arabia.

Shahbaz's last two marriages damaged his political standing. His marriage to Tehmina raised eyebrows for two reasons: first, it was a third marriage for both of them (as Shahbaz had not divorced his first wife) and second, Tehmina was well-known for her best-selling tell-all book, "My Feudal Lord," which is an indictment of her prior husband.

He is a dynamic political leader known for his strong and efficient administration. Better health facilities, educational reforms and economic uplift were his top priorities. He has made extensive travels abroad.

Shahbaz Sharif is considered a strong and disciplined character in the politics of Pakistan. His administration was considered the best in the history of Punjab, as he controlled the beauracracy and cut the red tape.Shahbaz knows several languages including English, Arabic, German, and Russian. Shahbaz is regarded as as a good Punjab administrator who is sharper than his brother, but some opine that Shahbaz can be "difficult" and is rumored to be on medication for psychological problems.

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Page last modified: 10-07-2018 17:35:45 ZULU