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Supreme Court: Nawaz Sharif Can Return to Pakistan

Posted on August 23, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Politics
128 Comments
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Adil Najam

In yet another historic decision, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has decided that former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, exiled by Gen. Musharaf, can return to Pakistan. According to The News:

The Supreme Court of Pakistan in a landmark verdict on constitutional petitions of Mian Nawaz Sharif and his brother Mian Shahbaz Sharif, Thursday announced that Sharif Brothers are Pakistanis and can return home and participate in the national politics. The seven-member larger bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, in a brief judgment said that under Article-15 of the constitution, the petitioners are citizens of Pakistan and therefore their petition is hearable. According to the Supreme Court’s decision, under Article 3 of the constitution no citizen of the country can be kept outside the country and cannot be stopped from his or her return to home.


The document presented by the government on previous day has no constitutional position. Senior lawyer Fakhruddin G. Ibrahim appeared before the court in the case on behalf of Sharif Brothers. Attorney-General Malik Qayyum, Ahmed Raza Kasuri and Ibrahim Satti were the counsels of the federation. Reacting on the decision, Hamza Shahbaz, son of Nawaz Sharif, talking with Geo News said that the Supreme Court’s decision is the victory of Nawaz Sharif’s eight-year stand. During these eight years, Sharif Brothers have spent very hard time. He said that this decision is not the victory of any individual but of Pakistan.
The Pakistan Muslim League (N) has welcomed the verdict announced by the larger bench of the Supreme Court. Leader of party Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said that a delegation of his party would soon go to London to determine the procedure of the Sharif Brothers’ returning home. Immediate after the decision, people seemed very enthusiast outside the Supreme Court and thousands of PML (N) workers chanted slogans.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has, once again, rendered a decision that has not just created a buzz but effectively changed the entire political landscape of Pakistan. The big news here is the potential return of Nawaz Sharif but the continuing big news is that the institutional reincarnation of the Supreme Court of Pakistan which has become which has effectively become what it was meant to be. The final arbiter of constitutional sheninigans by political forces.

This means that unless extraordinary measures are taken by the government, we could be set for a real political showdown in the next elections. What this does to PML(Q) – or for that matter to PML (N) as well as other parties – is to be seen. But heads will already be spinning about which karwatt this oont will eventually settle.

It is also interesting that while all the deal-talk went on between Benazir Bhutto and Pervaiz Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif’s political capital might actually have been expanding. Even if he had stuck to principal just because he could not do otherwise, there are many who have actually found his stand to be ‘principled’ and it is likely that between that and this decision, his political capital has in fact increased… at least in the short term. What remains to be seen is whether he and his party will be able to politically capitalize on this; and how.

128 comments posted

Comment Pages: « 1615 14 13 12 11 [10] 9 8 7 6 51 » Show All

  1. Viqar Minai says:
    August 24th, 2007 8:04 pm

    @Aqil

    I agree. Martial law is no solution. The perptrators should be executed by the firing squad. Nothing will put an end to this nonsense unless something very drastic is done.

    BTW, does the constitution have anything to say about the imposition of Martial Law?

  2. Aqil Sajjad says:
    August 24th, 2007 7:55 pm

    Looks like the government is sending out louder messages that it will impose an emergency or martial law if Musharraf’s reelection is blocked. It’s time for opposition leaders to announce that if the govt resorts to martial law or any other such measure, Mush and those who support him in the act will be held personally responsible and tried for treason (subverting the constitution). It is important to send such a clear message to the sitting Generals that if they participate in the martial law, they will have to face a trial one day. Bygones can be forgotten, but from now on, no martial law without at least a life sentence for all the corps commanders.

  3. observer says:
    August 24th, 2007 4:13 pm

    I agree with Independent Citizen and PatExpat. I would not vote for NS but the Supreme Court decision is absolutely correct. BTW, just because the SC said he has an inalienable right to come back to his country does not mean it cannot reach a conclusion that is detrimental to NS in a corruption case for example, nor does it guarantee his election as PM…so I don’t think we need to be so reactionary as some of the posts reflect.
    The most ironic thing I read recently was PM Shaukat Aziz telling the NY Times that the people of Pakistan should be allowed to decide who wins and that a deal should not be the way forward–I agree a deal is the wrong approach–but coming from Mr. Aziz it sounds absurd!

  4. Kruman says:
    August 24th, 2007 3:30 pm

    “Dear brothrs and sisters the recent case of CJ was fought by M/s. Etezaz Ahsan, Hamid Khan and Munir A. Malik while Musharraf

  5. August 24th, 2007 3:26 pm

    @all

    I feel return of NS to pak will not result in any damage as our political scene is already packed with politicians (rulers and opposition) who are certified liers, corrupts, crooks, oppertunist etc.

    So i suggest he should be back as that will create healthy competition in political environment :)

    Further i cant find chaudry’s anywhere on scene………… May be planning some new game; )

  6. Kruman says:
    August 24th, 2007 12:27 pm

    Dear brothrs and sisters the recent case of CJ was fought by M/s. Etezaz Ahsan, Hamid Khan and Munir A. Malik while Musharraf

  7. Viqar Minai says:
    August 24th, 2007 10:30 am

    There is really no option to “not bring back” NS, or anyone else for that matter. The decision of the SC is the constitutioanlly correct decision. If a durable free and just system has to evolve in Pakistan, it must evolve in the face of setbacks such as these.

    There is no cause for undue dismay, nor for idiotic euphoria, over the return of NS and BB. If anything, it indicates how the political parties in Pakistan have not evolved one iota since 1999.

    The challenge is not only in establishing whether, or not, the SC and the civil society will continue to stand up for transparency in politics and for continued evolution and maturity of free media in Pakistan; it also remains to be seen whether the same old hags will now adapt and learn to function without resorting to the instincts of abuse of power and corruption which permeate every single drop of their blood.

    There is acute need for the political parties themselves to become internally more democratic. We must have faces other than BB and NS in the top spots in their respective parties. People like Aitezaz Ahsan and Javed Hashmi would be a welcome change.

  8. king_faisal says:
    August 24th, 2007 9:35 am

    its actually a lie spread by partisan websites like these that courts were not free in the 1990′s. for example, supreme court ruled in favour of nawaz sharif when his first government was dismissed by gik. and when in her second term, benazir wanted to stuff the courts with her jiyalas, supreme court judges refused to go along which prompted benazir to openly ignore the judges directive. similarly, a sind high court judge took notice of illegal plot sale to zardari. the fate of that particular judge? he was murdered. and we all know the treatment meted out to chief justice under nawaz.

    musharraf’s biggest failure has been that he has not acted as a dictator – something for which he had complete mandate from the awam. his lack of killer instinct is ultimately the cause of his headcahe today. if he had acted in the manner of zardari or ctbt, he would have been the king of his domain like zia was.

    as for those predicting that media will ensure nothing will go wrong again in pak, i would advise them to not hold their breath. read the statement of opposition politicians in the 90′s. you will be surprised to see how committed these sounded then to good things like independence of media and judiciary. and we know what happened once they got to power.

    tragedy of pak is that it takes one step forward and two steps back. now however with india sitting on reserves of US$215bn, uncle sam sitting in afghanistan and oil sitting at $70/barrel, next step back will be decent into the abyss. perhaps the supreme court can come to the rescuse than provided its not busy hauling people like abrar ul haq to court.

Comment Pages: « 1615 14 13 12 11 [10] 9 8 7 6 51 » Show All



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