Sharif brothers: Nov 25, 2007 — Feb 25, 2008 – Timed out?

“Not a single tear was shed”

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Not many protesters were visible in the streets of Lahore, Rawalpindi and other cities in Punjab. The Motorway party (PML-N) has its stronghold from Lahore to Rawalpindi but it seems that these ‘choori khanay walay totay’ are no match for the diehard supporters of the PPP. Except a few goons of Jamaat Islami, Taliban, Imran Khan’s PTI who desecrated the Benazir Memorial in Rawalpindi, the situation was under control in all cities in Punjab. The largest ‘demonstration’ was seen within the provincial assembly in Punjab when about 100 MPAs belonging to PML-N protested in an unconstituional session of the Punjab Assembly; they were lamenting the loss of their lucrative ministries and positions.

Sharif brothers: Nov 25, 2007 — Feb 25, 2008

By Rana Tanveer

LAHORE: Despite having reservations over the judiciary’s legitimacy in the wake of the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), the Sharif brothers have been engaged with the ‘PCO courts’ since they arrived in Pakistan on November 25, 2007.

The next day, November 26, both Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif filed their nomination papers with returning officers (ROs) for general elections, then scheduled on January 8, 2008.

On December 2, 2007, the ROs declared both Nawaz and Shahbaz ineligible to contest the general elections.

After then president Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency on November 3, the Sharif brothers announced on December 7 that they would not appeal against their ineligibility and would boycott the elections in protest against the judges performing under the PCO.

Instead of appealing against the ROs’ decisions before an election tribunal, they wrote letters to the Election Commission of Pakistan, saying they were being prevented from standing due to political reasons.

On December 10, the Sharifs said their party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), would contest the elections.

The party made the decision after it failed to achieve an understanding with Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

The two sides, however, maintained that elections under the emergency rule imposed by Musharraf would not be free and fair.

After Benazir’s assassination on December 27, Nawaz announced his party would boycott the general elections.

In the following few days, Nawaz met PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to advise him to boycott the January elections.

Zardari refused, saying Nawaz take part in the elections, as both parties, the PPP and the PML-N, were favourites to win.

Nawaz accepted the offer and publicly announced that the PML-N would contest the general elections.

After the elections were held on February 18, 2008, Nawaz announced on the 26th that he and his brother Shahbaz Sharif would run in by-elections.

Their nomination papers were accepted on May 15, but a verdict by the Lahore High Court (LHC) on June 23 disqualified Nawaz from contesting the by-polls.

It also conditionally allowed Shahbaz to hold office of the Punjab chief minister, referring the petition against Shahbaz to the Election Commission of Pakistan, directing it to constitute an election tribunal to decide the chief minister’s eligibility.

The federal government, and a proposer and seconder of Nawaz’s candidature filed an appeal in the Supreme Court (SC) against the LHC verdict on Nawaz’s behalf, as he had declined to file an appeal himself, saying he did not accept the SC’s legitimacy.

Similarly, Khurram Shah challenged the qualification of Shahbaz before the SC, which on February 25, 2009, disqualified both PML-N leaders. (Daily Times)

Sharifs have been ‘timed-out’

By Amjad Warraich

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) has become critical to the current political scenario, as the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government has to tread a fine line now that the Supreme Court has disqualified the Sharifs.

The future course of action chosen by the PML-Q will define the party’s outlook as the state of affairs take a dynamic turn. Not only that, the strategy they opt will also be crucial for the party’s own outlook as power politics enter a new phase. According to sources in the PML-Q, the Chaudhrys – Shujaat Hussain and his cousin Pervaiz Elahi – are finalising their strategy on how to avail the various opportunities that emerge from confrontation between the PML-Nawaz (PML-N) and the PPP. Recent political developments and especially the Sharif brothers’ disqualification have placed the Chaudhrys on the centre-stage of power politics. They hold a strategic strength in the Punjab and the National Assembly and their support will be very important for both the PPP and the PML-N. The Q League has three options: supporting a PPP-led coalition, remaining neutral as an independent political entity or perhaps joining hands with Nawaz. The Chaudhrys are currently examining the pros and cons of these options and the bargains therein. While they weren’t expecting an early lifeline, now that opportunity is knocking at their door, it seems they’re letting caution override emotion.

It seems that the Chaudhrys are not in the mood to trust the Sharifs again and hence the alliance or merger with the PML-N is more of a theoretical possibility than a practical reality. This is largely because the Sharifs’ track record does not encourage the Chaudhrys to trust them. The twice-shy Chaudhrys have bitter recollections of the past from the days when both families were together in the PML-N. Their split into two separate factions has only aggravated this bitterness. There is a strong feeling in the Chaudhrys’ camp that they personally accommodated Sharifs during their rule and even helped Hamza Shahbaz get NOC to set up industry but the Sharifs have made all-out efforts to implicate them in cases during last one year of their government in Punjab. The PML-Q also doubts the Sharifs’ sincerity. Most of its leaders believe that the Sharifs are approaching their party because of its numerical strength in the assemblies. If the gulf wasn’t wide enough, it’s being dubbed that some Nawaz leaguers, including those who flanked the Sharifs on their recent trip to Zahoor Elahi Palace, don’t want an alliance with the PML-Q. Conversely, only a few Quaid leaguers want alliance with the PML-N but they are too weak to influence decision-making process in the party. The PML-Q sources strongly negate the rumours that there are differences between both the Chaudhry brothers in this regard. Clearly, Shahbaz Sharif’s visit was too little too late for any form of damage control. Although nothing can be categorically ruled out in politics, it is widely believed that the chances of a deal between Chaudhrys and the Sharifs are remote.

It is the stubbornness of the Sharifs, observers believe, that has pushed the Chaudhrys towards the PPP. It is partly because of this that the PML-Q has been cooperating with the PPP for the last few months. Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer is in constant contact with Elahi. The Chaudhrys are indebted to the PPP for saving them from the embarrassment of losing the support of the majority in their Punjab parliamentary party by helping them hold a successful show of strength during Ramazan at their Gulberg residence. The PPP has also supported them to protect their district nazims against attacks by the Punjab government. It is due to this cooperation that the Chaudhrys now hold a strategic position in the political scenario.

However, joining the PPP-led government might harm the Chaudhrys’ image of a committed Muslim League family and their claim on right wing politics but there are many who believe that this theory has become irrelevant as their arch rival Bhuttos have now become a legacy. In the quest of a moral high ground, staying neutral is another theoretical possibility: a choice that may lead to defections within the Q ranks. Legislators and electoral candidates like to join a party that can add reasonably to their vote bank. With this seemingly idealistic approach, the PML-Q will be positioned with the likes of APDM and the post-SC verdict PML-N. Since the realistic options for PML-Q are few and far between, a fact that may also be doing the rounds in PPP quarters, it seems that the negotiations between the two parties will be more tactical than strategic in nature. This notion is further endorsed by the appointment of loyalists in the top two slots in the bureaucratic set-up. Enter Naguibullah Malik and Khawaja Khalid Farooq as Chief Secretary and Inspector General of Police, respectively, and one could say that it’s game, set and match for PPP-PMLQ lobbyists. While this “short order of sorts” hints at how the cookie would crumble, it doesn’t give away everything. As the Chaudhrys move towards the federal capital, it remains to be seen whether the bandwagon would take them to The Mall or the Constitution Avenue. Territorially speaking, The Mall is much closer to Zahoor Elahi Road. (Daily Times)

Profiles of disqualified PML-N leaders

By Nauman Tasleem

LAHORE: The Supreme Court decision to disqualify Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif is the latest event in the careers of two of the most powerful politicians in Punjab.

Nawaz Sharif rose to prominence as Punjab finance minister during the regime of General Ziaul Haq in 1981. He also served as sports minister under General Zia. Nawaz became Punjab chief minister on April 9, 1985. When Zia dissolved the assemblies of Muhammad Khan Junejo in May 1988, the general appointed Nawaz as caretaker CM of Punjab. During the general elections of 1988, Nawaz was again elected the CM. However, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan dissolved the assemblies in August 1990 and fresh elections were announced.

In November 1990, Nawaz became prime minister of Pakistan for the first time by contesting elections on the platform of an alliance of nine political parties – the Islami Jamhuri Ittehad. The government lasted for three years until it was dissolved in April 1993. However, the Supreme Court restored it in May 1993. The deadlock between Nawaz and Ishaq Khan resulted in the resignation of both the premier and the president in July 1993. The same year, Nawaz was elected president of his own faction of the Pakistan Muslim League, the PML-Nawaz (PML-N).
The PML-N was unable to gain majority during the October 1993 elections but Nawaz became the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly. However, the party achieved a two-thirds majority in February 1997 and Nawaz became premier for the second time. During this tenure, the PML-N chief took several controversial steps, including introducing the 13th Amendment that nullified the president’s powers to dismiss the prime minister. The regime is also remembered for PML-N party workers attacking the Supreme Court during a hearing.
The downfall of Nawaz Sharif’s administration started after the Kargil issue, with army chief General (r) Pervez Musharraf sacking the former in a bloodless coup on October 12, 1999. Following the coup, Nawaz was convicted of hijacking and terrorism for allegedly preventing Musharraf’s plane from landing in Karachi. However, a plea bargain and intervention of the Saudi royal family spared Nawaz from a prison term and he was exiled to Saudi Arabia in December 2000. After seven years, the PML-N chief returned in November 2007.
During the February 2008 elections, a returning officer disqualified Nawaz. Following Wednesday’s Supreme Court verdict, Nawaz can no longer contest either the national or provincial assembly elections.

Shahbaz: PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif started his career as special assistant to Punjab CM during Nawaz’s tenure in 1985. He then became a member of the provincial assembly and PML (Lahore) president in 1988. In 1990, he became a member of the national assembly. During the Pakistan People’s Party government in 1993, he was leader of opposition in Punjab Assembly. When the PML-N came into power in 1997, Shahbaz became Punjab CM for the first time. Like his brother, he was also exiled in 2000 and returned in 2007. He became Punjab CM for the second time in June 2008. Under the verdict, Shahbaz can no longer be elected to the chief minister’s seat.

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Some relevant comments:

afzaalkhan said:

Well politically speaking, zardari has finished off Sharif bros, they can’t be PM or CM again, till constitutional amendment happens. As it stands this is what PPP gained.

1 – No sharif bros in asssembly.
2 – Solidified thier position in Punjab with civil beuracracy and Nazims.
3 – With MQM they have made sindh in thier corner, With PML – Q they have Baluchistanm With ANP and Mullah Diesel they have NWFP, add new deal with sofi Mohammad they have FATA.
4 – In Punjab PPP has a core support, albeit not majority but sizable that will stay with PPP, couple with minority core support of PML-Q that hates Sharif bro;s and Mushy era remannt i.e establishment they can have minority govt and can hold status co.
5 – Backing of USA, India and other foriegn govt who never wanteed Nawaz in.
6 – Awwam would protest only in Punjab for a while then inflation and law and order situation couple with strong handed techniques will eventually bring things to mangeable level.
7 – Lawyer movement will eventually be defeated due to same above reasons i.e inflation, law and order and strong hand techniques.
8 – Media is next.

Until unless whole Pakistan stands up all this will happen.