Pakistan: Sharif Brothers Declared Ineligible For Election Whilst Governor Rule Imposed

The Supreme Court after prolonged hearing of Sharif brothers’ electoral eligibility case, finally declared today that the two leaders of Pakistan's most prominent political party Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz group have been deemed ineligible to have contested the elections a year back on 18th February 2008.  Although it must be noted that the merit of this decision was based on a certain case in which Nawaz Shairf was convicted of a crime in 1999, the in-famous plane hijacking case in which Nawaz Sharif the then Prime Minster of Pakistan did not permit the then Chief of Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf's plane from landing in Pakistan, it was after this tussle that the Pakistan Army over took the country at the behest of Pervez Musarraf and overthrew Nawaz Sharif's elected government and enforced a martial law on the country.

Immediately People in Pakistan reacted vehemently to this Supreme Court verdict and were seen to be rioting on the streets mostly in the province of Punjab. With the sitting Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif effectively ineligible to occupy this position, a two month governor rule was enforced allowing Salman Taseer full control of the province.

Though justice must be served across the board and one cannot expect the judiciary to be selective, If the Nawaz brothers are guilty then the Mr. Asif Ali Zardari must also come under the knife and open his billions of dollars of corruption cases, or even the mere fact that all elected parliamentarians in Pakistan need to have a basic Bachelors level higher education and Mr. Zardari cannot even produce a degree and merely suggests ‘to have been educated from ‘a business school in London’.

Farhan at the Guppu Blog starts off to say:

Just for the political revenges, they keep on holding a particular case as to be able to use it as a weapon against someone when needed. I ask a simple question; what took so long for the Supreme Court to pronounce the decision? Answer is simple likewise, that Supreme Court continued the hearing and pronounced the decision when Zardari wanted it to.

DeadPan Thoughts feels Justice needs to be served across the board:

Personally I do agree that people with marked and murky histories should not be allowed into our politics anyways, but if this is so then why were they allowed to run in the last election. Why were they accepted as the “Chief Minister of Punjab” and why are some politicians declared “unfit” while others enjoy the protection of various deals brokered outside Pakistan.

Omar Azam at Pak Times talks about how Nawaz Sharif was disqualified earlier but Shahbaz Sharif was allowed to serve as Chief Minister of Punjab for over a year:

On June 23, 2008, a full bench of the Lahore High Court disqualified PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif from contesting the election. However, the court had conditionally allowed PML-N President Mian Shahbaz Sharif to hold the office of the chief executive of the province.

Pakistan Policy Blog analyzes the overall political gravity of the situation:

Politically, the Sharifs and their faction of the Muslim League (PML-N) are isolated. Its major allies are those outside of parliament: the lawyers, Jamaat-i Islami, and Tehreek-e Insaaf. Zardari is politically secure. The Pakistani president has Musharraf-era constitutional powers (the hyper-presidency), a docile (though occasionally rebellious) prime minister, a healthy coalition in the center, a share in all provincial governments, a pliant Supreme Court, an army stuck in the barracks, and support of major Western governments. An influx of foreign aid could bolster his hold on power. Also, the PPP will likely be the largest party in the Senate after elections in March. Zardari — if he makes the right deals — could get a constitutional amendment passed that would fall short of restoring the presidency to its original nominal status. In short, Zardari could have his cake and eat it too.

While Pro-Pakistan questions the decision:

Shahbaz Sharif will have to step down from the position of Chief Minister of Punjab. This will also intensify their involvement in the upcoming Long March of Lawyers on 16th March, 2009. This will have major implications on the political scenario of the country

Derwaish from All Things Pakistan expresses dismay at this decision which might cause political instability:

Without going into merits of the decision, I think it will create more political instability and uncertainty which is the last thing we want to see in Pakistan. It is rather unfortunate but the initial reactions and statements suggests that Pakistan might be heading towards the politics of confrontation and horse-trading of 1990's

Yasir Latif Hamdani from Pak Tea House is stumped:

I thought the PPP government and President Zardari were more astute than this. By allowing this to go through, they have called forth a flood vis a vis the Lawyer’s Movement and this time around it would be the civilian government of liberal and democratic PPP instead of the Military regime. I wonder who will gain from this?


  • Although Pakistan is facing a new challenge in political grounds and a resistance is being observed in different cities by the common people, but the resistance and protest should be non violent. We should not burn the properties of the common people or any national resources, as this would be an attempt to destroy our own home land. So we should behave like true Pakistanis.

  • I see this whole issue in a different picture of the current confrontation between the PML-N and the PPP parties because of the disqualification of the Sharif brothers and the imposition of emergency rule in Punjab, may be called as replay of 1990s rift between the two parties. But as far as I can analyze, there is another perspective to it, the confrontation is yet another chapter of the struggle in the society that is divided on protecting the status quo of the policies made under Musharraf’s regime or even prior regimes, and struggling for entirely independent foreign and domestic policies. Something that I call the conflict of Americaism, read the below analysis for my detailed views on this conflict.

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