Vishwakhabram: Why did Pakistani Punjab’s first woman CM Maryam Nawaz start her tenure by taking the name of PM Modi?

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Maryam Nawaz has become the Chief Minister of Punjab province, carrying forward the legacy of dynastic politics in Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif’s daughter Maryam had earlier been the Information Minister of Pakistan in the government of her uncle Shehbaz Sharif. Maryam is not only the first female Chief Minister of Punjab province, the largest province of Pakistan, she is also seen as the real political successor of her father. It is believed that in future she can also hold the post of Prime Minister of the country and if this happens, she will be the second woman after Benazir Bhutto to reach the post of Prime Minister. By making Maryam the Chief Minister of Punjab, Nawaz Sharif has given a clear indication that his daughter will rule the country in the future. Smiling Maryam amidst her father and uncle on the stage at the swearing-in ceremony in Lahore was giving a clear indication that a big political personality is emerging in Pakistan.

It is also worth noting here that after about 180 years, that part of Punjab has been ruled by a woman. Moreover, Maryam becoming the Chief Minister is no small achievement in a male-dominated political system like Pakistan, where women are often marginalised. Moreover, this is certainly no small feat in a family where every person has been or wants to be the Chief Minister of Punjab province. Let us tell you that before making Shehbaz Sharif the Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif made him the Chief Minister of Punjab several times and after that when Imran Khan’s government fell, he put Shehbaz forward to take over the post. Now when a coalition government is going to be formed once again in Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif has got a consensus among the coalition parties in the name of Shahbaz Sharif. In this way, the uncle will be the Prime Minister of the country and the niece will be the first woman Chief Minister of Pakistan’s largest province and any state in the country.

Let us tell you that Maryam came into limelight for the first time in October 1999 when General Pervez Musharraf overthrew her father Nawaz Sharif’s government and imprisoned her. At that time Pervez Musharraf had put the male members of the Nawaz family in jail. At that time, Nawaz’s wife Kulsoom and daughter Maryam held rallies and gave interviews to the media to gain public support. If we look at it, Maryam Nawaz’s political career started by facing political oppression. While dictators and governments of other parties targeted her father politically, false political cases were filed against Maryam in the courts. Even when Nawaz Sharif and Maryam were detained at Lahore airport in July 2018, a few days before the general elections, not even the slightest wrinkle was visible on their faces. If seen in Pakistan, going to jail before starting politics has been beneficial for everyone.

Not only this, during the government of Imran Khan in Pakistan, she was tortured in many ways but she remained vocal against the government. During that time, Nawaz Sharif, sitting in London, had also warned that if anything happened to his daughter, he would not spare anyone. Let us also tell you that Maryam already has experience in administrative work. In fact, in 2013, during her father’s third Prime Ministership, Maryam got a prominent role in PML-N. During that time, he established a media communication cell in the Prime Minister’s Office and also took charge of the Prime Minister’s youth related programs. But at that time, due to Maryam’s growing influence and her interference in government work, many officers disliked her and she was often associated with controversies. For example, there was an attempt to implicate him in the so-called Dawn Leaks of 2016. Apart from this, he was also accused of supporting blasphemous material.

If we look at it, from Benazir Bhutto to Maryam Nawaz, the journey to the top has not been easy for women politicians of Pakistan. Saying disgusting things about women in gatherings, meetings and online platforms is nothing new in Pakistan. Take Imran Khan, who had said that Maryam, do not take my name so loudly otherwise your husband will feel bad. Not only this, if after swearing in, Madam CM folds her hands in the Assembly or touches her father’s feet to show respect, critics respond by saying that this is not our culture. Let us tell you that after becoming the Chief Minister, when Maryam touched the feet of her father Nawaz Sharif, many people wrote on social media in Pakistan that this is not our culture, Hindus do all this.

However, from her first address in the Assembly, Maryam has indicated that she will take everyone along. He has also said that handling the economy will be his priority. He has also indicated to follow the policies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to handle the economy. Maryam Nawaz, the first female Chief Minister of Pakistani Punjab province, has praised Prime Minister Modi’s economic vision and said that she intends to implement programs similar to PM Modi’s economic model. Maryam Nawaz has said that she will make policies to transform Punjab province into an economic hub. It remains to be seen how Maryam takes Pakistani Punjab forward by following Modi’s economic policies. Let us remind you that earlier Imran Khan had been a fan of Modi’s foreign policy and now Maryam has praised Modi’s economic policies. It can be said that another big political admirer of the Indian Prime Minister has emerged in Pakistan.

-Neeraj Kumar Dubey

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