Islamabad- First he didn’t try traditional tactics to install a government of his own in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa even when Maulana Fazlur Rehman tried his best to provoke him, then he didn’t avail a chance to grab the top provincial slot in Balochistan when the mighty yet egoistic Murri and Zehri sardars of his own party didn’t want to lose this chance. 

The two mature decisions in a row baffled Nawaz Sharif’s adversaries who expected action replay of the 90s political culture when the centre under him installed favourites in Sindh at all costs.

Experiences of the last 14 years, laden with exiles and betrayals of party men, still fresh in his mind, we have been seeing the elder Sharif in a different mental mode, this time. At times, he kept a low profile during the last five years of Zardari rule. Never went for a kill to dislodge the last PPP government even when opportunity was there, especially during the memo scandal days of Nov-Dec 2011.

Let’s believe, even with some genuine safe guards in mind, that the incoming third-time premier has come of age. President Zardari’s case is different. Despite being a Sindhi-Baloch, he is still in the old political chessboard mode, and cronies are still not ready to convince him to revamp the failed political strategy. Election defeat of his party and September exit from the Presidency still occupying his mind, he told television anchorpersons the same day, “Balochs are not forthcoming in getting solved their issues.”  Sharif sent a practical, more mature message across. The Balochistan beginning is at least heartening for the larger good of that restive province close to the hearts and minds of sensitive and patriotic Pakistanis. Healing and reconciliation in that part of Pakistan (Balochistan) is a buzzword in the capital circles, though the incoming government and the powerful military establishment may have their own approaches to tackle the issue at a micro level. This difference of approach on key issues was what echoed in National Assembly as it sat to elect its speaker. Mahmood Khan Achakzai, the top Pashtun nationalist leader of Balochistan, didn’t mince words in reminding fellows that they need to send a loud and clear word not to side with any military dictator in future. It was a clear reference to the exit strategy being evolved for Musharraf these days as American friends want a safe exit for him. His fellow legislators knew Musharraf is a bitter pill to swallow for the government, but they kept harping on ‘unique tunes’ over the issue.

Difficulties may be enormous, but a serious looking Sharif knew well that he has taken the right step as he sat in the National Assembly Hall to oversee a lengthy process of speaker and deputy speaker’s election.

His decision to elevate a moderate and middle class Baloch nationalist like Dr Abdul Malik Baloch as the new chief minister of restive Balochistan was lauded largely from every nook and corner of the country.

The elevation of some Pashtun nationalist lieutenant of Mahmood Khan Achakzai as the next governor of the province was even more commendable. Achakzai was truly overwhelmed.

He announced ending decades old complaints against what he terms as Punjabi establishment, piled up for the last many decades in Baloch and Pashtun minds of that province. Achakzai could only speak for Pashtuns. Baloch are appreciative, but guarded sans practical measures. Even Sardar Akhtar Mengal could not hold himself from appreciating the step. The sardar, who ended his self exile a few months back, on the insistence of PML-N leadership after some basic assurances from the military establishment on key issue, is still not ready to accept the 2013 elections result. He claims his mandate has been robbed as he points fingers towards the paramilitary guardians of that province. BNP-M is not ready to allow its members to take oath as provincial and national legislators. Imran Khan’s Tahreek e Insaf however sits in the same parliament even when it has piled up complaints of vote rigging in Punjab and elsewhere. The other day, Khan scored a valid point when he prompted the incoming premier, who is to take oath of office on June 6, to announce downing of American Drones.

Monday was a different day. One was expecting that the PTI educated brigade would come up with appreciation of the Balochistan set-up decision but it wasn’t the case. Perhaps, PTI brains, setting their eyes on the next general elections, don’t want to be appreciative of the incoming government.

Fair enough, but we in media expected a mature and more progressive approach from people like Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Shahfqat Mahmood or Shireen Mizari to convince the top Khan to show some heart.

One could feel the grudges Javed Hashmi may be having against his former party bosses. But politics is not personal vendetta. Political foes sit across the treasury-opposition divide, debate, get nasty at times, and make their day. It was Sardar Ayaz Sadiq’s day for sure, though he fumbled, mumbled, and what not as he took oath. Naturally he was confused for being given such a big reward.

His seniors, friends and even adversaries were also surprised on the sudden rise of a third tier PML-N Lahore legislator to the coveted office of speaker of the National Assembly. Ayaz Sadiq could however safely guess that his lucky victory over Tahreek-i-Insaf’s top Khan from the Sharif bastion was no small thing. A ministry or deputy speaker slot was a safe bet. But luck smiles in its own fashion, sometimes overwhelmingly. Each one of them had his own reasons, but refusal of four heavy weights -- Mahmooad Khan Achakzai, Mir Zafarullah Jamali, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and Shahhid Khakhan Abbasi – for the speakership paved the way for an easy going, simple and clean politician like Ayaz Sadiq.

On May 9, as Sharif was raising his hands in a Lahore public meeting, Sardar knew it was a wild card. A win could bring him a political fortune. And only Mian Nawaz Sharif could deliver it, even when some party heavy weights had advised him against it. Opponents of this decision had some valid points up their sleeves. Firstly, Ayaz was from Lahore, and conventional decision making was required to elevate some non-Lahori in general and non-Punjabi in particular for the slot, from any of the three smaller provinces. With limited or no choice from Sindh, and KPK, and a very limited choice from Balochistan, a man from Southern Punjab or Potohar would have been better suited. But in the wake of refusal of the four above-mentioned heavyweights, the buck stopped at Ayaz – the man Nawaz Sharif had set his eyes on for at least calming down the tsunami in Lahore. One could take Imran’s defeat in normal manner like the way late Benazir Bhutto got defeated from NA-1 Peshawar at the hands of Ghulam Ahmed Bilour in 1988. But ask the close circles around the incoming premier and they will narrate how Shafqat Mahmood’s success from Lahore, Hanif Abbasi’s defeat and Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s victory from Rawalpindi are still boggling the minds of PML-N leadership. Likewise, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi’s surprise win from Islamabad is not digestible. His Multan’s triumph was much tolerable.  These were sheer exceptions, especially when almost all the urban and rural Punjab sided with the PML-N wave in these elections even when some of its candidates were average and below average. The Leaguers should not expect such a soft public approach and sentiment in future. At least for now, expectation level on governance and deliverance is so high, difficult to match for the incoming government.