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March 3, 2024

Shehbaz Sharif: The ‘Accidental’ Prime Minister Set to Lead Pakistan Amid Economic Challenges

In a significant political development, 72-year-old Shehbaz Sharif, representing the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and backed by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), has been elected as Pakistan’s 24th prime minister. His victory with 201 votes in the National Assembly signals a return to power for the influential Sharif family amid mounting economic challenges and security threats.

Shehbaz Sharif: Political Journey and Profile Born on September 23, 1951, in Lahore, Punjab, Shehbaz Sharif hails from the influential Sharif family, deeply entrenched in Pakistani politics. Educated at Government College, Lahore, and the University of Punjab, he entered politics in the 1980s under the tutelage of his brother Nawaz Sharif, swiftly rising through the ranks of the PML-N.

Known for his administrative prowess, Shehbaz served multiple terms as the chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province. He previously assumed the role of prime minister in 2022 during his brother Nawaz Sharif’s absence, successfully navigating Pakistan through a tumultuous period marked by economic instability and political upheaval.

Challenges Ahead for Shehbaz Sharif As Shehbaz embarks on his second term as prime minister, he faces a daunting array of challenges. Pakistan’s economy remains in a precarious state, with persistent inflation and looming threats of default. During his previous tenure, Shehbaz secured a $3 billion loan program to avert an economic collapse, implementing unpopular measures such as subsidy cuts and energy price hikes.

Now, tasked with steering the nation through another economic crisis, Shehbaz must navigate the demands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while mitigating public discontent over austerity measures.

In addition to economic woes, Pakistan grapples with escalating security threats, attributed in part to the Taliban’s resurgence in neighboring Afghanistan. Shehbaz must address these security concerns while upholding stability and safeguarding Pakistan’s interests on the global stage.

Shehbaz Sharif: Leading a Fragile Alliance Despite his electoral victory, Shehbaz’s coalition government faces internal dissent and allegations of vote rigging from opposition parties, particularly the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). However, he has garnered support from a diverse array of political factions, including the PPP, MQM-P, and Balochistan Awami Party, underscoring the complex nature of Pakistani politics.

Conclusion As Shehbaz Sharif assumes the mantle of leadership in Pakistan once again, he confronts an arduous path fraught with economic and security challenges. His ability to navigate these turbulent waters will shape the trajectory of Pakistan’s future and determine his legacy as a leader during a pivotal moment in the nation’s history.

Rajan Shukla

Rajan Shukla

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