(NVONews.Com) The verdict is finally out and there is very clear picture emerging from across Pakistan. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has seen his stock rise once again. He is set to form the next government and there are indications that his party may still manage a simple majority in the National Assembly of Pakistan. Imran Khan who led a very aggressive campaign against Nawaz Sharif instead of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is set to emerge as distant second while PPP has been relegated to the third spot in the state assembly.
Nawaz Sharif has seen a remarkable turnaround in his fortune. After being deposed by military dictator Pervez Musharraf following a military coup he spent months in solitary confinement in a Pakistani jail before being packed and sent to Jeddah after an intervention by Saudi monarch Shah Fahad. He returned to Pakistan on the eve of last elections despite Saudi government stoutly opposing his return. . Now his tormentor is in jail and Nawaz is set to take the driver’s seat in Pakistani government.
Nawaz Sharif seems to have sobered considerably in the last few years. He is clearly a man who is not expected to get involved in retaliatory action either against Pervez Musharraf or against any other opponent including Asif Ali Zardar, his main political opponent right now.
In the meantime despite claims of a hung National Assembly, Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Sunday morning led in the elections by a big margin over other rivals. Of the 152 seats so far secured by different parties, the PML-N bagged 86 seats, 21 went to the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) or Justice Movement of cricketer-turner-politician Imran Khan, 15 to the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) of President Asif Ali Zardari, 9 to independent candidates, 8 to MQM, 4 to JuI-F, 2 to Jamat-e-Islami, 2 to Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and 5 to others, reported Xinhua. It may take hours for the Election Commission of Pakistan to announce the final results as thw counting of votes is continuing. However, judging by the PML-N’s share of the 152 seats for which results have so far been unofficially declared, it is set to win the National Assembly elections. The National Assembly has a total of 342 seats, and the four provincial assemblies together have 728 seats. Elections were held to 268 of the National Assembly seats. Sixty seats have been resrved for women and ten for non-Muslims.
In the meantime Sharif’s speech was of that a statesman and not as the head of a single party. Late Saturday night, Sharif emerged from the terrace of his home in Lahore to speak to his thousands of supporters who gathered to celebrate the victory. “I want to thank and assure you all that I will honor all commitments I and my party leaders had made during the election campaign,” Sharif told the cheering crowds. Referring to some problems the country is currently facing, he invited all political parties to dialogue to find out solution to the problems so the nation could take a sigh of relief and lead a prosperous life. Nawaz Sharif, who won two seats in the May 11 elections, has served as the country’s prime minister for two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993 and from February 1997 to October 1999. However, his both governments were dismissed before completing constitutional term.
But Sharif will have to undergo a very tough test of resolve in saving the country from multiple issues affecting almost every segment of population. He will be leading Pakistan at a time when the country is facing some serious problems, including the worst energy shortage, extremism, corruption, bad governance and poor economic condition. When he spoke to his supporters in what was described as “victory speech”, Sharif announced that he has already set an agenda in his mind to “steer Pakistan” out of the current situation. As a two-time prime minister, Nawaz Sharif has years of experience to deal with the challenges Pakistan is facing. Analysts are of the view that Nawaz Sharif will mainly focus on economy as he had run his election campaign on economic agenda. Suhail Warriach, a political commentator and columnist, said that the PML-N chief had himself highlighted his economic agenda during the campaign and now he has a golden opportunity to implement it.
In the meantime Indian government has welcomed Sharif’s victory. Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid said, “India welcomes whatever result that comes out of a democratic election. Our government has had relations with Nawaz Sharif. From Prime Minister’s side also congratulations will be offered to him”. He went on to add, “I hope we can continue to have good relations if he comes to power”.