Opinion: How Pakistan’s army sidelined Nawaz Sharif
File photo. (Image source: Reuters/DNA) Photograph: (Others)
The recent sentencing awarded to Pakistan's ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court ahead of the general elections is yet another example of judicial and military coup in the country.
It is a well-established fact that in Pakistan the military solely decides who would remain in the government and who would be displaced.
Nawaz Sharif has been awarded 10 years of imprisonment by Pakistan's accountability court on July 6. While his daughter Maryam Sharif has received a 7-year jail sentence, Nawaz's son in law Captain Safdar has already been arrested.
Moreover, his sons have been declared proclaimed offenders. The entire family has been charged in a corruption case involving purchase of luxury apartments in London.
Following the revelations of the Panama papers leak, Nawaz was forced out of the prime ministership of the country. He was later disqualified by the apex court for not fulfilling the constitutional criteria for honesty.
His ousting, dismissal and more importantly the timing of the court verdict holds significance as the entire process is completed before the polls in Pakistan.
The hearing in the case started on September 14, 2017 and the verdict was delivered on July 6, 2018. About 107 hearings were held in the case and 18 witnesses were presented against Sharif.
The court proceedings were completed in just ten months.
Sharif who entered politics with the support of his mentor General Zia ul Haq, has now lost the military support.
From 1981 until the military coup against him in 1999, Sharif had a very strong and cordial relation with the Pakistan armed forces.
He succeeded Benazir Bhutto in 1990 after she was charged in an alleged corruption case by the Pakistan military.
It was alleged that the 1990 elections, wherein Sharif won against Bhutto, were  rigged by the Pakistani Intelligence agency, ISI, in his favour.
Nawaz, however, became critical of the military after the coup of 1999 wherein he was thrown out of the government by General Pervez Musharraf.
Sharif served as the Prime Minister of Pakistan for three unsuccessful non-consecutive terms.
His first term in office which started in 1990 continued till 1993, second from 1997 to 1999 until his removal in a military coup by General Pervez Musharraf.
The second dismissal followed after the Kargil war in 1999. The war deteriorated his relations with Musharaff.  Between 2000-2007, he was allowed to go into exile in Saudi Arabia.
His third tenure began in 2013 and continued until his disqualification from office in 2017.
According to a media report Pakistan army's crackdown on Sharif began after the military got upset with an article in a Pak newspaper stating that the civilian government wanted to act against the jihadis but the military did not.
After his dismissal in May the former prime minister also admitted to Pakistan's role in the 26/11 terror attacks on Mumbai.
These admissions were certainly responsible for the growing military displeasure against him.
The recent military ire which has forced him out of power had once benefited him when the wrath was against Bhutto in 1990 and 1998.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL)