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Nawaz Sharif

Sharif, Nawaz (näwäzˈ shärēfˈ) [key], 1949–, Pakistani politician; grad. Government College, Lahore; Punjab Univ. Law College. Born into a prominent Lahore business family, he was by 1980 director of one of Pakistan's largest industrial conglomerates. In 1981 Sharif was appointed finance minister of the Punjab by the Zia government, and in 1985 he was elected chief minister of the province. An opponent of Benazir Bhutto's government, Sharif led the right-wing opposition, was elected to parliament in 1990, and became prime minister of a coalition government later that year. His administration initiated economic privatization and deregulation and the elevation of Islamic law. Sharif was ousted in 1993, but he again became prime minister when his Pakistan Muslim League (PML) party swept the 1997 elections. Sharif subsequently moved to reduce the power of Pakistan's president. In 1999 he was forced out by Pervez Musharraf's coup. Accused by the new government of treason, hijacking, and corruption, Sharif was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. His sentence was commuted, however, and in 2000 he was fined and exiled to Saudi Arabia for 10 years. In Aug., 2007, Pakistan's supreme court ruled that Sharif could return and, after an unsuccessful attempt to return in September, he did so in November. Subsequently, however, he was barred from running for parliament, but Pakistan's supreme court overturned that ban in May, 2009, and his hijacking conviction was overturned two months later. In the 2013 elections, the PML won a commanding plurality and Sharif became prime minister in June.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: South Asian History: Biographies


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