The Pakistani Supreme Court has overturned the February 25 decision to ban opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif from holding political offices, allowing the younger Sharif to resume his position as Chief Minister of the Punjab Province after a month of governor’s rule. One of his first actions upon resuming his office was to restore police officers who were fired during this month’s protests for refusing to arrest political opponents of the Zardari government.
The Sharifs’ party, the PML-N, was part of the ruling coalition in Pakistan, but left in August over President Zardari’s refusal to reinstate judges (particularly Chief Justice Chaudhry) ousted by Pervez Musharraf.
Ironically, the Supreme Court decision and the subsequent crackdown on opposition protests by the Zardari administration ended up rallying the opposition all the more and forcing Zardari to finally restore Chaudhry. Chaudhry’s restoration appears to have played a central role in overturning the February 25 decision. In the end the Zardari government’s actions probably sped up Chaudhry’s restoration and strengthened the opposition all the more.