The Supreme Court of Pakistan sprang no surprises in upholding the barring of the Sharif brothers from contesting elections, but one result has been the disqualification of Mian Shahbaz Sharif from the membership of the Punjab Assembly, and thus from the chief ministership of the Punjab. With this decision, the judiciary has achieved a number of things. First, and for its members most important, it has lessened the incentive to President Asif Zardari of getting the 17th amendment repealed. It has also cemented the position of the post-Emergency, post-December 13 judiciary. It has also put out of politics the Sharif brothers, who now both are victims of a Musharraf-era constitutional amendment which placed term limits on the holders of prime ministerships, or chief ministerships. It has also come after the Punjab Assembly had elected its senators unopposed, and just in time to make the lawyers' long march probably the first battleground between the two parties which had spent the 1990s feuding. The most immediate consequence has been the placing of the Punjab under Governor's Rule. Actually, President's Rule has been imposed, and the governor is merely the president's agent. However, though the Proclamation of Emergency under Article 234 has many implications, the main one is that the PPP has opted for a mechanism which it used successfully before, in 1991, against then NWFP CM Sabir Shah, when he formed the government in Peshawar back after the 1990 elections. Sabir Shah was removed by a Proclamation under Article 234, and the government was formed by Aftab Sherpao. However, there are now some differences. First, the PPP does not have a clear candidate for the Punjab chief ministership. There was no figure in the NWFP like Salman Taseer, who is both governor and also a candidate for the chief ministry. As the leading PPP politician in the Punjab, Salman Taseer was always tasked to bring down the Sharif government, but he probably did not include in his calculations bringing someone else to power. The other solution is for there to be a self-effacing CM, who would allow the governor much the same prominence that the PM allows the president. Second, there is the numbers game, which is not so favourable to the PPP. While the PPP does not really have a chief ministerial candidate inside the Punjab Assembly, there are at least two candidates outside the PPP. However, the PPP has long awaited the moment when it would take the Punjab chief ministry, which it has not held since July 1977. The other major development to be watched is whether the Sharif brothers try to use the PML-N's participation in the lawyers' long march as any kind of effort of their own. It should be clear, that the Sharifs' dedication to the cause of the lawyers is what caused Shahbaz's disqualification. It should also be clear that the brothers have remained dedicated to the cause of restoring the judges because they sense that there is popular support for this, and that was the campaign plank on which they not only campaigned, but also left the Gilani government. The ease with which the long march would have been able to reach the federal capital under a Shahbaz government should not now be expected, not after the sheer unwillingness to listen to reason on this issue that the federal government has shown, and the PPP can be expected to carry over this attitude now that it is in control of Lahore, and thus of Rawalpindi. The Sharifs will possibly make use of the opportunity to engage in some politicking for themselves. The Pakistani judiciary, especially in its post-PCO manifestation, has not covered itself with glory. Probably the law as it stands left the Supreme Court bench with no other decision it could make, but this is another decision that suits the government of the day. This decision is of a piece with the rest of the court's decisions which have generally favoured the government of the day? the general reaction has been that the decision was taken to create pressure prior to the lawyers long march to make the Sharif brothers stop supporting it. The decision also illustrates the damage that Musharraf did to the country's constitutional fabric. The disqualification is based upon Musharraf-era accusations of corruption, but does not apply to those PPP politicians who were exempted under the National Reconciliation Ordinance. The Sharif brothers have got to face the Musharraf-era charges, even though they were selective, and targeted those who did not provide Musharraf political support. Nawaz's charges, which went all the way up to the Supreme Court, included the so-called hijacking case involving then COAS General Pervez Musharraf, and the helicopter case, for the 1997 campaign, while Shahbaz was originally disqualified because of the contempt case and the default case, both involving offences about a decade or more old, with which the public could not get involved, even if it assumed guilt, which it was not willing to do. Further, while Nawaz, both as twice prime minister and as thrice Punjab chief minister, falls under the mischief of a Musharraf presidential order creating term limits, now so does Shahbaz, who has been twice chief minister. The term limit concept has been borrowed from the American presidential system, which elects both presidents and state governors directly, not through an assembly. Term limits are considered very efficacious in promoting democratic government, but also place limits on the power of a legislature to choose any of its members as chief executive. It was a bad idea, which has been retained through the 17th amendment, which is not something the PPP seems in a hurry to jettison, even though it remains committed to this. However, it is through the president's powers under the 17th amendment that PPP Co-Chairman Asif Zardari is able to check the Gilani government. That seems to be the main hurdle in the way of abolition of the 17th amendment. The distortion is further enhanced because the governors, who are the president's personal appointees, are also empowered through it, and the president only acts in the provinces through the governors. But most important, the disqualification has to be considered in the light of the War On Terror. The Americans might at the moment be backing the government, but those who are benefiting should look at the fate of the ex-president if they want to see the fate of those who cooperate closely with the Americans. The Sharifs will not disappear until they lose the support of the people, despite any disqualification's that are thrown at them.