The reinstatement of Mian Shahbaz Sharif seemed to show that the judiciary, once again headed by Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as Chief Justice of Pakistan, was not yet as independent as it was claimed his reinstatement showed. This was the common public reaction, even among those who welcomed the return of Mian Shahbaz to the office which he had left so unceremoniously. It was said that just as the ouster was due to his support for the long march that led to the Chief Justice's restoration, so was the reinstatement part of the deal that led to the calling off of the march and the sit-in outside Parliament that was to have followed. This cynical view of the judiciary, which merely sees it was an arm of government as devoted to achieving its goals as the executive arm, has got more grist for its mill from the restoration. This decision incidentally also rendered infructuous the Lahore High Court case against Governor's rule, as one of the acts restoring the Shahbaz government was the lifting of Governor's rule from the province by the federal government. With that lifting, the PPP said goodbye to the dream of installing a PPP Chief Minister in the country's largest province, which it has not had since 1977. However, it appears that Salman Taseer is acceptable to the PML(N) as Governor, even though he took office with the promise of converting Lahore back to another Larkana. It is not known whether that promise has been shelved, or it has been acknowledged that he cannot achieve the goal, just as he could not deliver up a PPP-led provincial government despite holding office as the provincial chief executive for more than a month. In which he tried his best to use those powers to win over enough PML(N) assembly members to enable the PPP to form the government. The PPP needed the PML(N) members for a number of reasons, the most important being that if the PML(N) could be denied the numbers, only then would it cave in. They also needed them to reduce their dependence on the PML(Q), who may well have overreached themselves when they demanded the CM's slot, which the PPP wanted so badly, but which the PML(Q) had recently enjoyed in the shape of Ch Pervez Elahi, who was willing to settle for the role of CM's father this time around. However, what prevented the PPP from succeeding was the failure of Governor Taseer to use the executive power to break the PML(N), or even the PML(Q) Forward Bloc. The failure to break the Forward Bloc was increasingly clear by the time the long march took place, and the writing on the wall became reasonably clear. The President thought it necessary to explain this to the PPP Punjab Assembly parliamentary party. However, the party is understandably silent over why it was against the judges' restoration in the first place. The PML(N) did not really take a difficult decision to support their restoration. All that was at risk was the Punjab, and as events have proved, that was not to be a permanent loss. Also, importantly for the Sharif brothers, and thus the whole PML(N), this would give access to foreign capitals, who were tending to ignore them before. It must not be forgotten that there was a War on Terror issue here, which would help explain much of the interest shown by Western diplomats in the PML(N) and the lawyers' movement. The Western powers were concerned about the stability of Pakistan, when the long march not only threatened to shut down the entire country, but actually almost did so, because this meant that Pakistan could be shut down, but the state could only do so when the populace was willing to so shut it down, not so much because of the call of the PML(N), but because of the hope it has from the restored judiciary of cheap an swift justice. Unless Chief Justice Chaudhry gave those assurances in New York, while he was visiting there and receiving honorary memberships, the issues remain. What exactly they are, is not known, though the missing persons case is suspected. Therefore, the PML(N) would find itself more or less obliged to back the deposed judges. But enough of the Sharifs and the PML(N). Let us return to the executive governorship of Salman Taseer. It will be remembered forever as the period between the attacks on the Gaddafi Stadium Test, and on the Police Training School at Manawan, with an intervening period of unsuccessful and inefficient attempts to create a forward bloc in the PML(N). This would probably not be fair, because the first attack took place before he was firmly in the saddle. However, by then he had completed the postings he felt would give him enough administrative control to eviscerate the PML(N) parliamentary party. So if the attackers of the Sri Lankan cricket team escaped, and returned at Manawan, the Governor, or rather his police team, is at fault. Manawan was almost evidence that there was a conspiracy against the Governor, almost but not quite, because the federal government needed no excuse to order the lifting of Governor's Rule. It was imposed the way it was lifted, by a Proclamation, and did not go to Parliament for consideration, as is provided in Article 234 of the Constitution, under which the Proclamation was issued. The constitutional provision has been carried over virtually unchanged from the British-era Government of India Act, which acted as the constitution of India and Pakistan until the two dominions passed their own constitutions. In India, the situation is described as President's Rule, because the constitution prescribes the takeover of all the provincial machinery by the federal government. But because the President may appoint an agent, and always appoints the Governor, in Pakistan, the situation is known as Governor's Rule. From this it should be understood that the President was completely behind the move, and the Governor in his executive actions merely acted as the President's agent. Therefore, the PML(N) should not be too happy at the restoration, because President Asif Zardari will act again against the Shahbaz government. The President will act, but only after having ensured that his action is not seen as damaging the War On Terror. Whether he acts through the present Governor, or someone else more congenial, and what action he takes, even the President doesn't know. But he must act before the next election. If he doesn't, his becoming President may not matter. E-mail: