Sharif Exit 1:‘I will not resign. I will not dissolve parliament and I will not take dictations from anybody’, thundered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while addressing the nation on TV and on radio in April, 1993. He also accused President Ghulam Ishaq Khan of hatching conspiracies against him and dared him to ‘test me inside or outside parliament.’ Within twenty hours of this speech, the President had used his discretionary power under Article 58-2(b) to dismiss the elected government headed by Sharif. He alleged “maladministration, corruption, nepotism and espousal of political violence” as the reason for this dismissal.Having never ruled for more than three years in his previous terms, Nawaz Sharif is for the first time leading a government which has lasted four. Efforts to derail this progress manifested first in the form of the great Dharna and then the Panama-gate scandalThree years ago, President Khan had dissolved the government headed by Benazir Bhutto accusing it of “rampant corruption, nepotism, misuse of resources and banks for political ends and for personal gains.” During Mr Sharif’s three year stint as Prime Minister (1990-93), he had faced hurdles in handling foreign policy, appointing army chiefs and making amendments to the constitution. Mr Sharif wanted to remove the sword of Damocles (Article 58-2) from the constitution but President Khan resisted this move.Within a week of his dismissal, Mr Sharif appealed the decision in the Supreme Court. On May 26, 1993, a full bench of the Supreme Court gave an almost unanimous verdict, holding that President Ghulam Ishaq Khan had acted unlawfully in dissolving the National Assembly and dismissing the Nawaz government. This verdict resulted in the restoration of the National Assembly but the President had other plans. He orchestrated the dismissal of the provincial assemblies in Punjab and NWFP. Amid a burgeoning constitutional crisis, the army stepped in and brokered a deal which resulted in the resignation of both the President and Prime Minister and in fresh elections.It was an inglorious exit for Nawaz Sharif, who had stepped up from the Chief Ministry of Punjab to the Prime Minister House, despite his election in 1990 being marred by the ‘Mehran Bank’ Scandal, in which an ‘election cell’ within the presidency had dispersed money to different politicians including Mr Sharif. Fresh elections in 1993 brought Benazir Bhutto back to power and gave her party—the Pakistan Peoples Party, PPP—a chance to elect a president of their choice.Sharif Exit 2:In May 1998, Prime Minister Sharif decided to allow detonation of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, confirming long-held suspicions of American and European sources that Pakistan had nuclear capability.Following the demonstration of this power by both India and Pakistan, there was a theoretical restoration of the balance of power in South Asia. In February 1999, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee made a historic visit of Lahore, signing the ‘Lahore declaration’ which sought to bring the two neighbours closer together.Domestically, Mr Sharif was more popular than most other politicians. His party had achieved a ‘heavy mandate’ in the 1997 elections and the opposition was reduced to being a mere nuisance. Mr. Sharif’s quest for total control resulted in his clash with the Chief Justice, the President and finally, the Chief of Army Staff.All three of these gentlemen had to resign from their positions and after the nuclear tests, the Sharif government felt invincible. The rapprochement with India was a historic step, considering the tight grasp the military held over India-Pakistan relations.In May 1999, Pakistani forces occupied strategic posts in the Kargil area, deep inside Indian territory. This came as an unwelcome surprise for Mr Sharif who had, in his mind, set in motion a peace process with India.Pakistan suffered heavy losses in the Kargil war and had to retreat in the face of relentless attacks by Indian forces who used Bofors guns to strike at Pakistani positions.Prime Minister Sharif had to ask US President Clinton for intervention and the whole debacle ended with an ignominious defeat for Pakistan. In the aftermath of Kargil, Sharif wanted to replace the Chief of Army Staff, Pervez Musharraf but Musharraf had other ideas.He instructed a coterie of his comrades to ‘take over’ if the government tried to remove him while he was away from the country. As if on cue, Sharif made the move and appointed another general as the Chief of Army Staff. Within hours, the pre-appointed generals quashed this change and arrested the Prime Minister. Sharif spent a year in jail before making a deal to leave for Saudi Arabia.In 2013, Sharif became the Prime Minister of Pakistan for the third time—an unprecedented feat. From the beginning, allegations of vote-rigging and corruption plagued his government. His overtures towards India also did not earn him many friends in the military establishment.Having never ruled for more than three years in his previous terms, Nawaz Sharif is for the first time leading a government which has lasted for four years. Efforts to derail this progress manifested first in the form of the Dharna and then the Panama-gate scandal.Involvement of the Supreme Court has further muddied the water. With the military, the judiciary and at least half of the opposition baying for his blood, will Sharif be able to survive in his third time as PM? The writer is a freelance columnist based in Lahore. He writes on History, International Relations and Culture Published in Daily Times, July 20th, 2017.