Statesmanship a la Nawaz Sharif

Courtesy:- S.Rahman 

Charismatic leadership is a bygone phenomenon, but statesmanship is a permanent feature and blessed are those nations that have sagacious, good-natured and practical statesmen like Mian Nawaz Sharif.

It might appear to some as mere panegyric or praise for the sake of praise but in fact, it is not so. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif rather symbolises all these qualities by way of their practical demonstration in his style of administration.

His is a blend of personal warm feelings and formal functions, a unique combination of good human qualities and efficient governance that adds up to what we can describe as graceful statesmanship.

Just the other day, the nation witnessed the glimpse of that graceful statesmanship when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held an honourable farewell in the honour of the outgoing President, Asif Ali Zardari.

And it was a departure from the cosmetic farewells that are usually held on different occasions to bid goodbye to the retiring functionaries. It was no doubt a ceremony but from all perspectives, it heralded the beginning of a new democratic era whose foundation had already been laid down many years back by Mian Nawaz Sharif with the cooperation of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto through the signing of Charter of Democracy (CoD), the mother of politics of reconciliation.

Of course, the CoD proved to be the mother of reconciliation as proved subsequently. The passage of 18th, 19th and 20th constitutional amendments and 7th NFC Award with government-opposition cooperation were marvels achieved through consensus and understanding, the two important ingredients of democracy.

But all that good and positive happened due to the political sagacity of the second largest party of the previous tenure i.e. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) as publicly acknowledged in his speech of thanks by Asif Ali Zardari.

The latter’s acknowledgement of Mian Nawaz Sharif’s sagacity and responsible opposition during the PPP’s incumbency, is further proven from the PML-N leaders’ track record of democratic conduct that they maintained throughout the entire term of the preceding government. And that strengthened the cause of democracy.

If Asif Ali Zardari has got the honour of being the first elected president of Pakistan to leave with dignity and honour (‘Waqar’, to quote PM Sharif), it owes to the reasonable and discreet responses and actions of PML-N top leaders. As a matter of fact, reconciliation is a two-way phenomenon and one can easily coin a phrase in this context that “it always takes two to reconcile”. Had Mian Nawaz Sharif opted to give tough time to the PPP regime, the latter would have hardly survived for the complete, mandated term of five years. What it would have meant? Nothing but the collapse of democracy more than the collapse of an elected political party in power.

Who should then be credited for Zardari’s complete, graceful five-year term in the Presidency followed by his dignified departure and who should be credited for the PPP government’s completion of the mandated tenure? Judge this situation on any yardstick — logical, historical or political -– the answer is that Nawaz Sharif’s political sagacity and statesmanship are to be credited for these complete democratic tenures.

Another demonstration of Sharif’s graceful attitude and sagacity was discernible from his speech that he delivered during the farewell luncheon. On this occasion, the PM said memories could be sweet as well as bitter. Recalling his meetings with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in Jeddah and at other places, the PM exuded sagacity by telling the gathering that he had chosen to remember only the pleasant memories.

Recalling those “pleasant memories” — from the meeting in Jeddah with Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, the signing of the Charter of Democracy in Dubai to the Raiwind rendezvous — Nawaz said a spirit of goodwill prevailed among them for the sake of restoration of democracy.

Now the fact is that the very choice of picking up pleasant memories owes to the pleasant psyche of PM Sharif as he has himself stated: “Memories could be both sweet and bitter, but my heart is only filled with the pleasant ones, and I want to bid goodbye to President Zardari with sweet memories.”

These are the traits of statesmen whose vision sees beyond the horizon and which is never influenced by narrow biases and considerations of power hunt or power game.

The sagacity contained in this overall conduct of Mian Nawaz Sharif will also be proven in the days to come. Some visible symbols of that sagacity have already started appearing. The first and most important symbol is Zardari’s recognition of Nawaz Sharif’s democratic conduct and tolerant and patient behaviour.

It is on this account that Asif Ali Zardari has promised to wait for five years to do any kind of politicking. Till then, he would fortify the democratically elected government in place. While it can be said that Asif Ali Zardari has shown grace in remaining steadfast on the reconciliatory task, it can also be described as the fruit of Sharif’s sagacity that has made the other major party realise the significance of ‘repaying the goodwill overtures in the goodwill coin (style) only’ with no other options acceptable on the democratic canvas of Pakistan.


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