LAHORE - The disqualification decision of the Sharif brothers is likely to give a new turn and impetus to the long march and dharna by the lawyers drawing a decisive line between the political divide on the question of independent judiciary in the country. Punjab under the new administration after ouster of Shahbaz Sharif, would surely not like the marchers going to the Federal Capital. So their way may be barricaded at various points whereof a violent situation is not ruled out featuring a more serious one in the time to come both at public and the public level. The protest is being spearheaded by the lawyers but the SC verdict has brought the PML(N) to the fore which has now high political stakes with independent judiciary under the stewardship of Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The knee-jerk reaction of the political activists and the lawyers may get down for the time being but hostile sentiments are likely to continue to boil up to burst out at the time of long march and getting even a high pitch at the dharna, if it is allowed. The strong reaction by the PML(N) workers to the decision can also provide assessment to the new provincial administration on how to tackle with the mid-March protest. The majority view on the decision is that it would aggravate the already complicated situation facing the country at the internal and external level at a time when the nation needed greater unity and a broad-based consensus. In their view, the existing judiciary whose credibility already had a big question mark against its name had lost a rare opportunity to assert its independence by passing a decision in the larger public interest after precedents are available when it had been pressing doctrine of necessity into service to validate and give sweeping powers even to the dictators in the past on the same ground. The decision against the Sharifs is being largely perceived, more out of pressure and fury acquired from political side as well as from the hostile statements of the Sharifs against the PCO judges and rejection of the sitting judiciary. The common belief is that the verdict has made the judges as a party to a political issue as such the same would remain widely controversial like the decisions on the murder case against PPP founding father Z A Bhutto or the conviction awarded to his daughter Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari by the Ehtesab Bench in 1998 during the Sharif government. PML(N), JI, APDM, lawyers and the civil society have straightaway rejected the decision as one by the court which under PCO oath was incompetent to hear the case while others parties like ANP, JUI(F) have not conceded to the verdict under the given situation in the country. They are all convinced that the decision is going to beget more political confrontation which did not suit the nation after it has suffered the nine years of dictatorship wherein everything of national pride and national asset was sacrificed to protect interests of others. The jurists find a subtle analogy between this and the decision which had validated the PCO of November 3, 2007. At that time the Bench comprised the judges under PCO oath hence a little room was available to them to agree with a petition against the PCO itself when it was propping them in the office. In the present case, the Sharifs termed the Bench PCO-infected and not constitutional one so granting relief to them might have amounted to accept their stand. In observers view the decision at the political level has benefited President Asif Ali Zardari to turn PML(N) attention on its demand for undoing 17th amendment and the 58(2)b which was promised by him on September 20 and so far has made no headway on it. Moreover, PML(N) out of the power would not be as effective to press this demand as it would have been otherwise. Zardari, who had kicked off the process of political reconciliation on a high note of taking every party along and to respect their public mandate, as President was constitutionally competent to scrape cases and conviction against the Sharifs through notification as the nature of the same warranted it. Had he done so, it would have shown the sincerity of purpose. But contrary to it, the Punjab governor and other leaders of the PPP continued to speak ill against the PML(N) government in the Punjab and voiced to form the PPP government in this largest province of the country very soon. And no check was put on them in the advancement of reconciliation policy. In this situation PML(N) Quaid Nawaz Sharif smelling an unfavourable verdict by the Supreme Court while addressing the workers meeting on February 21 last, had blamed Asif Zardari of conspiring to seek their disqualification, which by all ends, showed that Sharif believes the Bench acting in league with Zardari. Some political quarters on this plain see a political grudge which has very astutely been vented to pay back what was received by Zardari from Sharif government as conviction and jail. This has made to see policy of reconciliation merely to gain power and as a political gimmick to keep the rivals cool and to enjoy a field day. In observers view, the significance of the role of Prime Minister in this situation has gained importance to reconcile the party in line with public aspirations. For observers, the headstrong attitude by Chairman Standing Committee on Education and PML(N) MNA Abid Sher Ali on Farah Dogar case, wherein he had called for the appearance of her father, Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar, a reason to throw down the PML(N) in the eyes of judges. Analytically speaking the judicial and the political schism has been widened more on account of this decision. Without prejudice to the court verdict, the same is no different than what have been passed on political cases. However, in the peculiar circumstances it stands juxtaposed with what deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry showed to a General on March 9, 2007 besides spotlighting his screw tightening of the corrupt in the public interest. As such the demand of Justice Chaudhry restoration is likely to come up with more force. The PML(N) leadership has announced to participate enthusiastically in the lawyers protest from March 12 to March 16 next. The SC has de-notified election of Shahbaz Sharif from Bhakkar which was challenged on technical. Hence in jurists' view he is competent to contest by-election unlike Nawaz Sharif who has been disqualified on the basis of plain hijacking conviction and was thrown out of political arena apparently for good. In historical terms the public reaction during a military government and the civil one has been yielding different outcomes. In case of a dictatorial regime, the masses close their ranks against a dictator to achieve the end of his ouster while in the second, people stand divided on political basis vulnerable to intra clash to produce a highly dangerous turn. In the view of the observers, this division has never been so sharp in the past as it is today as hawkish elements on both sides are keeping the temperature high leveling ground for more confrontation. And now the whole game is on the judiciary issue, and how well and in the national interest it is resolved is a test of political wisdom and acumen of the political leadership. In view of the observers, since an independent judiciary is the issue with the lawyers and the political stakeholders, the time is approaching for a decision on the same.