Shahbaz Sharif’s time in office since 2013 till just about yesterday, was mainly dedicated to work on materialising the completion of “tangible” development projects. Tangible because, everything is evident, the stats from education are evident, social sector spoke for itself. From a major contribution in the energy sector of the country to achieving health sector milestones such as the establishment of the first of its kind Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research Centre, Government of the Punjab today has uncountable feathers in its cap. Shahbaz Sharif could be seen spending little to no time answering his political rivals/opposition, despite severe allegations; all negated - each as it sprouted.

Hudaibiya Paper Mills case and Multan Metro Bus corruption scandals are just instances from recent past. While both could not ruffle any feathers for Shahbaz Sharif , Ashiyana Housing Project scandal may be used as a means to enfeeble the credibility of the provincial government. Although, it still might not serve the purpose against Shahbaz Sharif’s established cogency.

January 21, 2018, Shahbaz suddenly breaks the oyster and takes the lead. On the occasion of laying the foundation stone of “Baab-e-Pakistan”, the Punjab chief minister delivered his first, fully charged “political” speech. One could observe him using facts and figures to abnegate the allegations put on him by PTI Chairman Imran Khan, PAT chief Tahirul Qadri and other political rivals.

This sudden turn of events in Shahbaz Sharif’s speech suggests that maybe the otherwise somewhat tranquil attitude that we witnessed was just a “calm before the storm” gesture. Nonetheless, it comes just a few months before elections, after more than four years were spent in sheer sense of deliverance as one may put it. The timing is unmistakably spot on as the general elections are just around the corner. In his speech on “Baab-e-Pakistan” foundation laying event, Shahbaz Sharif vehemently stressed that if the public elects him the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, he would himself monitor the projects which can very well be expected from the man in question.

He expressed that if he becomes the next Prime Minister of Pakistan, he would deliver for the whole of Pakistan just the way he has delivered in Punjab. It is fine to establish what more can a man do, when he has already delivered more than what was ever delivered in any other province in the history of Pakistan by any chief minister. Democracy shines brighter not when such claims are just claims but when dreams actually come to fruition.

Since ex PM Nawaz Sharif’s ouster in July 2017, the political turmoil in the country was enough to completely cripple PML-N down to its very core. In Imran Khan’s words, it was Shahbaz Sharif’s turn to leave office after Nawaz. But here is what happened; Supreme Court rejects NAB’s plea to reopen Hudaibiya Paper Mills case and the fraudulent Chinese company Yabaite involved in corruption in Multan Metro Bus Project gets blacklisted for life. Even so, the Baqir Najfi report didn’t help the opposition. To add fuel to the flame, just a day before his appearance before NAB, Shahbaz Sharif confidently reiterated that if corruption of a single penny is proved against him, he would leave office. This undeterred confidence should not be underrated, at least not in the currently shaken political set up when each move is closely monitored.

”Give respect where respect is due.” Amidst all the political uncertainty, Government of the Punjab kept soldiering on. Very smartly, the core focus was diverted towards mega initiatives, inaugurations, health infrastructure, school education, roads infrastructure and everything that could prove its presence to mark the development work being done in Punjab. Even when the opposition was gathering at Mall Road Lahore united for Punjab CM’s resignation, Shahbaz Sharif was in Kasur being briefed on progress on Zainab’s murder case.

Evidently, Shahbaz can be seen warranting the manifesto that got him elected as the Chief Minister of Punjab back in 2013. In the words of many, from media persons to journalists and even foreign dignitaries, for the first time in the history of Pakistan, Punjab has seen such massive development. Zachary Harkenrider, who had served in Pakistan from summer 2013 to summer 2016 as United States Consul General in Lahore, expressed his views about Shahbaz Sharif in these words, “Its not only his strategic vision of where to take his province but also a practical capacity to implement that vision in the day to day life of his country and his city. That’s something completely unique in my experience in the developing world. I have never seen anyone who is that capable of matching vision and execution as Shahbaz Sharif was.”