When Mian Nawaz Sharif was pestered in 1993 by the establishment-backed President Ghulam Ishaq Khan to resign from Prime Ministership, he addressed the country on Pakistan Television stating “I will not resign, I will not dissolve the parliament and I will not take dictation.” The man who was handpicked by a three-star lieutenant General, Ghulam Jillani, then governor Punjab under Zia’s military government, has become the embodiment of Pakistan’s political history. As editor Raza Rumi would put it, Nawaz Sharif’s story is the story of ‘contemporary Pakistan’. For me, he represents the power tussle between military establishment and civilian institutions which has been at the heart of this nation’s woes. The ex-prime minister is the incarnation of dynastic politics that has dominated the country’s national and provincial assemblies ranging from the Bhuttos’, Sharifs’, Chaudhrys’ to Legharis’. The 67 year old is the very manifestation of the big money centric politics and election system prevalent in Pakistan, and most of the world. Historians will have to delve deep into the Nawaz’s kitchen cabinet meetings, informal encounters (like the one where he unveiled the plan to few high ranking journalists pertaining to the planned dismissal of Benazir’s government) and information from military archives to un-package this successful, tumultuous and controversy ridden career. For me, Nawaz Sharif is an opportunist, a political tactician of the highest order, with an eye for development and an ability to insert development initiatives into nationwide discourse seen by the construction of motorway, roads, metros and now, China Pakistan Economic Corridor. But there is something else that has turned him into a 3-time prime minister and a juggernaut that he is today. These happen to be the political tactics, gimmicks and manipulations that he has showcased over the course of his 3 decade career. Nawaz Sharif’s timely moves and clever manoeuvres are unrivalled and can’t be seen in any of the major political figures to have stepped foot in the country’s political arena. How so? Realising that due to years of dictatorship, the military establishment was the kingmaker in the country hence Nawaz Sharif used their instrumental backing and funding channelled through a private banker for the IJI in the 1990 election to win the Prime Ministership. While many thought that he was the establishment’s pawn, Mian Nawaz started showing the hunger for autonomy and a want for civilian supremacy on foreign relations, development projects so on and so forth. It was this that laid the seeds for a long drawn out battle between Nawaz Sharif and the ever green establishment of the country, a constant struggle which has been at the centre of Pakistani politics. Retiring General Karamat prematurely, Kargil war, Dawn Leaks are just some major examples of this back and forth. Nawaz Sharif’s fiery gameplay was best displayed by pressurising Prime Minister Gillani to resign by filing a petition in the Supreme Court for his disqualification over contempt of court. This was yet another example proving Nawaz’s ability to make rightly timed moves to be on the same side as establishment whilst building superb momentum for the coming general election. In 1996, he became well aware of the Benazir-Leghari conflict and exploited this to ensure that the latter knew he could be trusted to beat Benazir in snap elections. Coming back to Lahore with such a support base intact is Nawaz’s statement against the elements that have led to the termination of his prime ministership, which for him are the same as in the past — an overly active judiciary and covert conspiracies As highlighted by an Op-ed, getting Nawaz out of office might have been easy through the formation of a conducive environment and by thorough investigation only possible by inclusion of agency members in JIT but the game is far from over. For the first time in the history of this country, the most successful politician and the only one who has locked horns with the all-powerful military on multiple occasions is not only able to control the government but play the role of opposition. And Nawaz Sharif is most lethal when in opposition as shown above. The fact that he has managed to produce massive, sizeable and impressive crowds in Jhelum, Rawalpindi and especially Gujranwala legitimises his leadership once again. The aim for him is to amend the game in his favour, a game in which, for him, his family has been singled out and subjected to a trial unseen before. Coming back to Lahore with such a support base intact is Nawaz’s statement against the elements that have led to the termination of his prime ministership, which for him are the same as in the past, an overly active judiciary and covert conspiracies. He didn’t get a chance to fight back after the 1993 dismissal, and 1999 coup-de-tat but he sure has seized the opportunity to make an impact now. The unfortunate bit is this: the first martial law was imposed in this country after Abdul Qayyum Khan (ironically a graduate of the same institute as me) hit the streets, protested and lead Ayub Khan to impose military rule. When Bhutto’s crowd reached huge and unparalleled numbers in Multan in 1977 on the back of several successful protests across country, he was declared a threat to the country and then executed. Today, we have a man who has carried the flag for civilian supremacy when in power, made bold moves like the Lahore Declaration between India and Pakistan and ousted a Chief of Army staff, reasons that led to the 1999 coup. The aggressive nature of the rhetoric and narrative he has built about Prime Ministerial mandate being disrespected and stolen is a testament to the fact that he is dangerous right now, and his actions can amount to producing the same consequences that were generated by those of Abdul Qayyum Khan and Zulfikar Bhutto. Nawaz Sharif, for me is threatening and unpredictable right now. He is the Jinn of Pakistani politics. The writer is a student of International Relations at London School of Economics, President of the London School of Economics Pakistan Development Society and Vice President of LSE South Asia Society. Co-Founder-Future of Pakistan Conference Published in Daily Times, August 15th 2017.