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Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) was founded and established by Fida Mohammad Khan, In 1988 an original Pakistan Movement activist, who became the party’s founding president, whilst Nawaz Sharif became its first secretary-general. The party is not the original Muslim League, but is accepted as its continuing legal successor.

At the time of the 1988 elections, the PML was part of the eight-party Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA), which had contained the right-wing conservative mass as one entity against the left-wing circles, led by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The general elections of 1988 marked the emergence of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s as the single largest political party, with its election to 94 of 237 seats in the state parliament.

The IDA occupied 55 seats, but an influential leader of PMLN, Nawaz Sharif, chose to serve the Chief Minister of Punjab Province. With Benazir Bhutto elevated to the post Prime Minister of Pakistan, the IDA nominated Abdul Wali Khan as a compromise candidate for opposition leader in the state parliament. Within 20 months, tales of bad governance and corruption plagued the Pakistan Peoples Party’s government. Finally, in 1990, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan charged the PPP government with corruption and lack of governance and dismissed the National Assembly and the first Bhutto government.