In the early eighties, after that Nawaz Sharif had completed his education his father Mian Muhammad Sharif started him in the business. However, this proved a disaster. As a second option Mian Muhammad Sharif set him up with Pakistani actor Saeed Khan Rangeela to get him into acting (something which Nawaz Sharif wanted). A few days later Saeed Khan Rangeela sent his regrets to Mian Muhammad Sharif saying that his son was too dumb for acting and movie industry. Mian Muhammad Sharif then a cricket coaches to train his son for cricket, but his physical fitness was too low for the sport. It is rumored that by mid-day on his first day at training Nawaz Sharif threw the bat down and left the stadium saying, "This is too tough for me." As a last resort he paid General Ghulam Jilani Khan a considerable sum of monies to introduce Nawaz Sharif to General Zia-ul-Haq recommending him for a political post, who in turn made Nawaz Sharif the Finance Minister of Punjab. This was the day when the street thugs of Mohni Road had stepped on to becoming the national thugs of Pakistan.
The day Nawaz Sharif had become Finance Minister, the entire family's earnings were few million rupees and had only one refinery. From there they went on to: Ittefaq Sugar Mills was set up in 1982, Brothers steel in 1983, Brother's Textile Mills in 1986, Brothers Sugar Mills Ltd in 1986, Ittefaq Textile units in 2-3 in 1987, Khalid Siraj Textile Mills in 1988, Ramzan Buksh Textiles in 1987, Farooq Barkat (pvt) Ltd in 1985. By the time of Zia ul Haq's fateful plane crash, Mian Muhammad Sharif's family was earning a net profit of US$ 3 million, up from a few million rupees. By the end of the decade their net assets were worth more than 6 billion rupees, according to their own admission, nearly US$ 350 million at the time. But this turned out to be small-change when Nawaz Sharif became the Prime Minister.
When Nawaz Sharif became prime minister, the group took a decision to secure project loans from the foreign banks and only working capital were taken from the nationalized commercial banks. The project financing from foreign banks was ostensibly secured against the foreign currency deposits, a number of which were held in benamee accounts, as repeatedly claimed by Interior Minister Naseer Ullah Babar at his press conferences. In 1992 Salman Taseer released an account of Nawaz Sharif's corruption stating that the family had taken loans of up to 12 billion rupees, which were never paid back. On March 2, 1994, Khalid Siraj, a cousin of Nawaz Sharif claimed that the assets of the seven brothers were valued at Rs 21 billion.
These were the accounts of profits and companies which were openly known to public. However, the family kept their side business going all the while "“ the gambling dens and heroin control in Lahore "“ and along with their industry the side business also mushroomed.
During the Afghan-Soviet War Nawaz Sharif's cousin Sohail Zia Butt started working under the drug baron Mirza Iqbal Beg, then Pakistan's second biggest drug lord after Ayub Afridi. Mian Muhammad Sharif and his sons had a permanent share in his gambling and heroin business. In 1990 Suhail Butt won a seat on the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad ticket in the Punjab Assembly. It was through Sohail Butt's association that Nawaz Sharif became a close associate of Mirza Iqbal Beg. It was through him that Nawaz Sharif became benami owner of many of the privatized government entities, such as Muslim Commercial Bank. Sohail Zia Butt other than getting involved in the drug business made billions in the co-operative societies' collapse, mainly through the National Industrial Credit and Finance Corporation. It was Nawaz Sharif's share in his cousin's drug business which he used to buy off the generals thereby delaying the inevitable dismissal of his government.
In 1995 when Mirza Iqbal Beg was imprisoned, Sohail Zia Butt took over his drug empire. It is at this time that he became one of the biggest drug and crime bosses in Pakistan and was nicknamed the "King of Hera Mandi" and at one time all six underworld gangs of Lahore were working under him.
By 1995 family's declared annual profits from industrial units had increased 1500% from US$ 30 million to staggering US$ 400 million.
This is the short version of how in mere 15 years small street thugs running gambling dens became leaders of a country running narcotics, underworld and smuggling empires, untouched by everyone.