Election 2013: Nawaz Sharif's third term and democratic transfer of power

By
Shaharyar Khalid

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government, formed after the 2008 polls and the death of Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007, became Pakistan's first elected government to complete its five-year tenure. 

Pakistans President Asif Ali Zardari smiles during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul (not pictured) in Istanbul on November 1, 2011. — Reuters
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari smiles during a meeting with his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul (not pictured) in Istanbul on November 1, 2011. — Reuters

However, then-prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani faced disqualification from ex-chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry's Supreme Court on June 19, 2012.

Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was named the Premier for the remaining PPP tenure.

A screengrab of a news about the dismissal of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani on June 19, 2012. — The Guardian
A screengrab of a news about the dismissal of former Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani on June 19, 2012. — The Guardian

Pakistan's subsequent general elections were slated for May 11, 2013, marking the country's first democratic as well as peaceful transition of power. The main contenders in these polls were Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and PPP.

Supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) march in a rally along with an effigy of a lion, the partys electoral symbol, on the top of a car for the general election in Islamabad on May 4, 2013. — AFP
Supporters of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) march in a rally along with an effigy of a lion, the party's electoral symbol, on the top of a car for the general election in Islamabad on May 4, 2013. — AFP

Following a significant power display in Lahore on October 30, 2010, the Imran Khan-led PTI gained momentum with slogans of a new Pakistan, change, and the 'third force.' 

Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imran Khan addresses a rally in Lahore on October 30, 2010.—X@PTIofficial
Pakistani politician and former cricketer Imran Khan addresses a rally in Lahore on October 30, 2010.—X@PTIofficial 

Notable political figures like Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi joined PTI after this event. The PTI emerged as the party of the urban middle-class and claimed to win the 2013 general polls. 

PTI founder Imran Khan (centre), flanked by Shah Mehmood Qureshi (right) and Makhdoom Javed Hashmi (left), speaks during a press conference. — X@PTIofficial
PTI founder Imran Khan (centre), flanked by Shah Mehmood Qureshi (right) and Makhdoom Javed Hashmi (left), speaks during a press conference. — X@PTIofficial 

During the elections, PML-N secured victory with 126 seats. PPP claimed the second spot with 34 seats, while PTI managed to secure 28.

A Pakistani vendor arranges morning newspapers with front-page coverage of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharifs success in landmark elections the day before, along a roadside stall in Islamabad on May 12, 2013. — AFP
A Pakistani vendor arranges morning newspapers with front-page coverage of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's success in landmark elections the day before, along a roadside stall in Islamabad on May 12, 2013. — AFP

In line with the central results, PML-N celebrated a landslide victory in Punjab. In Sindh, PPP won for the second consecutive time, PTI triumphed in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and, in Balochistan, Pakhtunwkha Mili Awami Party (PKMAP) and the PML-N got 10 seats each.

The overall turnout in these elections jumped to 53.62% with 83,756,567 registered voters. Punjab again was top of the list with 57%, followed by Sindh with 53%, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 42%, and Balochistan lowest with 36%. 

Following the polls, Nawaz Sharif became prime minister for the third time, marking Pakistan's first peaceful and democratic transfer of power.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari administers oath to Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif on June 5, 2013. — AFP
Former President Asif Ali Zardari administers oath to Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif on June 5, 2013. — AFP

However, just like his 1990 and 1997 tenures, Nawaz's time in charge was cut short as he faced disqualification from the Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case in 2017. 

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (R) is sworn in by Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain (L, front) as Pakistani 28th Prime Minister in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Aug 1, 2017. —Xinhua
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (R) is sworn in by Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain (L, front) as Pakistani 28th Prime Minister in Islamabad, Pakistan, on Aug 1, 2017. —Xinhua

Subsequently, PML-N appointed Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as PM for the remainder of the party’s term.


The writer is a staffer at Geo.tv, he tweets X@ranashaharyar01