(Mar. 4, 2009) Nawaz Sharif, former Prime Minister of Pakistan and now head of the nation's largest opposition party in the parliament, and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, the Chief Minister of Pakistan's most populous province, Punjab, were disqualified from being candidates in elections. The disqualification resulted from the Supreme Court's dismissal of the Pakistani Government appeal against the decision of the Lahore High Court in Punjab Province.
The Lahore High Court had ruled in June 2008 that Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted by the Pervez Musharraf coup in October 1999, was ineligible to stand for election because of his previous criminal conviction. The Pakistani Government appealed the decision after Sharif's party beat Musharraf's allies in parliamentary elections in February 2008.
The Supreme Court decision will now force Shahbaz Sharif to quit the post of Chief Minister and resign from the provincial assembly, because the Supreme Court declared his election “null and void.” Consequently, observers are concerned that Sharif's party, which holds power in Punjab Province, may destabilize the government. (Pakistan SC Disqualifies Sharif Brothers from Contesting Elections, THE TIMES OF INDIA, Feb. 25, 2009, available at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Pak-Sharifs-barred-from-electins/arti