February 25 when, following a highly controversial order of disqualification of Mian Shahbaz Sharif by the Supreme Court, President Zardari imposed the Governor's Rule in Punjab. This caused a serious political crisis in the largest province of the country which, from all accounts, was running very well under the PML-N government. Rather than telling the governor to convene the Provincial Assembly at once to determine a majority, with this action the president transferred all administrative powers to the governor. It was clear instantly that the real purpose of the action was to snatch the administrative control of the province and subvert the lawyers' long march in mid-March that is threatening the PPP government in Islamabad. Out in the street, the public reaction on the Supreme Court's verdict did not remain confined to the Punjab but spread to Islamabad and other provinces as well. Earlier with General (retd) Pervez Musharraf at the peak of his power in the spring of 2007 the nation was going through hell, especially with the mainstream political leaders in exile, insurgency and military action on the rise in NWFP and elections no where in view. Attempts had already been made to mobilise public demonstrations against his misrule, but the people disappointed in the available leadership of the PPP and the PML-N - two moderate, grassroot parties of the country - did not catch on, gradually reconciling to their fate under military rule. On March 9, 2007 trying to remove the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Musharraf called him to the Army House and asked him to resign. Some other generals were also present. They thought, per experience, that civilians did not have the guts to refuse. But lo and behold, the CJ did so. They tried to blackmail him, but the CJ stuck to his guns. Musharraf then filed a reference of corruption against him, which the Supreme Court heard for several weeks and rejected it as baseless and cleared the CJ July 20, 2007. This act of defiance turned out to be the one thing the people had been waiting for. One and all, the legal community rose in protest and rallied round the CJ from all over the country. But Musharraf suspended the constitution on November 3, 2007, removed and detained the CJ and the Supreme Court that according to reports was going to take action against Musharraf's eligibility in the presidential election. In spite of all the dirty tricks of the establishment, the movement picked up and the whole country joined it. It may have had its ups and downs, but it remains as a massive movement: lawyers, other professionals and civil society have all joined in. Thanks to this movement, Musharraf was forced to allow Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif to return to the country in 2007. The international community added to the domestic pressure and Musharraf agreed to hold general elections in the first week of January 2008. But because of Ms Bhutto's tragic assassination in December 2007, the elections were held on the February 18, 2008. This movement also pressurised Musharraf to remove his uniform, something that he had manipulated with the courts to let him retain as president. As the result of a deal which the PPP brokered abroad, Musharraf continued as president till he was forced to resign in August 2008 after realising that he had finally lost the army's support. An (indirect) election for the president followed, replacing him with Mr Zardari. Actually, Musharraf's time was up on June 12, 2008 when protesters from all parts of the country occupied the Parliament Square in Islamabad. Listening to their full throated anti-Musharraf slogans that night, everybody knew that the general could not perpetuate his rule any more. The truth is that the primary pressure for these developments originated in the lawyers' movement to which was added the effort of the civil society and finally the masses. It is only now that the lawyers have acquired the unqualified support of the PML-N, JUI, TI and other smaller nationalist parties that are rearing to go. This realisation became a factor in the desperate imposition of the Governor's Rule in Punjab. But will it work? I think not. The president seems to have shot himself in the foot at a time when his popularity is in a nosedive. Like the Mobile Court Ordinance issued in panic, this action too will have to be reversed. As it is, a meeting of the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday showed a clear PML-N majority of 209 members in a house of 373. In the meanwhile, twelve gunmen attacked the Sri Lankan cricket team Tuesday, right under the nose of the governor in Lahore, killing six policemen, injuring two Sri Lankan players and a Pakistani umpire. And all the twelve gunmen apparently got away safely. Such a possibility, according to press reports, had been reported on the February 23 by CID with specific reference to the Sri Lankan team. But what do you expect when the governor is busy horse-trading rather than governing? The writer is a former ambassador at large