On Feb 25, 2009, the Supreme Court disqualified the Sharif brothers from holding or contesting public offices. Consequently, Shahbaz Sharif also lost his office of Chief Minister of Punjab and elder brother Nawaz Sharif is barred from contesting elections.
‘For the reasons to be recorded later, the judgments order dated June 23, 2008 Lahore High Court in writ petitions No.6468/2008 (Noor Ellahi versus Nawaz Sharif) and 6469/2008 (Syed Khurram Shah versus Nawaz Sharif) are upheld. No ground for leave is made out. These petitions are accordingly dismissed,’ said a short order by a three-member bench comprising Justice Mohammad Moosa K Leghari, Justice Syed Sakhi Hussain Bukhari and Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali.
The bench was hearing the appeals of the federal government against June 23, 2008 Lahore High Court (LHC) order of disqualifying the twice-elected prime minister and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif from the by-election for being convicted under the 1999 plane hijacking conspiracy case.
About Shahbaz Sharif, a separate order of the Supreme Court converted the petititions of Syed Khurram Shah into appeal and declared that Shahbaz Sharif was not qualified to be elected or chosen as a member of the provincial assembly from PP-48 Bhakkar-II.
It also declared null and void the June 3, 2008 notification of the Election Commission in favour of Shahbaz Sharif and ordered the commission to de-notify Shahbaz Sharif membership.
The decision comes days after the allegations leveled by top PML-N leadership that President Asif Ali Zardari was hell-bent to disqualify Sharif brothers from the court by using PCO judiciary.
The Supreme Court also imposed a fine of Rs100,000 each to petitioners and proposer and seconder of Sharif’s namely Mehr Zafar Iqbal and Shakeel Baig. Both were ordered to deposit the amount in the court within fifteen days or face a simple imprisonment of three months.
The controversial President lost no time in imposing Governor’s Rule in the Punjab under dubious circumstances. On the advice of the PM Gilani, under Article 237 of the Constitution, he imposed Governor Rule in the province of Punjab with immediate effect for a period of two months.
Following is the text of the proclamation:
‘WHEREAS I, Asif Ali Zardari, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, on receipt of report from the Governor of the Punjab and other information made available, am satisfied that the situation has arisen in which the Government of the Province of the Punjab cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
‘AND WHEREAS an unprecedented and unique constitutional void has been created in the Province consequent upon the decision of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan on 25 February 2009 in the matter of disqualification/unseating of Mian Shahbaz Sharif as Member of Provincial Assembly.
‘Now, THEREFORE, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 234 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, I hereby-
a) ’Direct the Governor of the Punjab to assume on my behalf the functions of the Government of that Province;
b) Make the following incidental and consequential provision which appear to be necessary or desirable for giving effect to the objects of this Proclamation:
i) the Chief Minister and Provincial Ministers of that province shall forthwith cease to hold office;
ii) in the exercise of the functions which the Governor has been directed to assume hereinbefore stated, the Governor shall act to such extent and subject to such conditions as I shall, from time to time, deem fit to give or impose.
‘This Order shall, unless revoked earlier, remain in force for a period of two months.’