PUNJAB Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif was right in saying that court decisions had to be obeyed, displeasing as that might have been to certain quarters to hear it coming from him. This came at the same time as the Chief Justice of Pakistan observed, in a Supreme Court case, that the Courts decision in the NRO case was not being obeyed, as he noted that the NAB Chairman had not been replaced as directed, and pointing out that those not obeying the Courts orders could be put behind bar. This was; the clearest hint so far that the Court was thinking of its contempt jurisdiction. Mian Shahbaz made his remark while addressing the second session of the Nazria-e-Pakistan Workers Trust three-day Conference on the Ideology of Pakistan, while Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry made his while hearing the Bank of Punjab fraud case. The Supreme Court also took up on Friday the petitions for the appointment of judges to the various high courts, and to the Supreme Court, which have been delayed by government inaction, but the three-member Division Bench recommended the constitution of a larger bench, and adjourned the case to February 18. Despite his saying that his government stands against any destabilisation of democracy, Mian Shahbaz has thus indicated that the Punjab government might not continue supporting the central government in its confrontation with the judiciary, symbolised by the delay in the filling of various vacancies of the superior judiciary because it does not wish to honour the recommendations of the Chief Justice. The verdict striking down the NRO has been particularly bothersome because it re-opened the cases, including for corruption as well as heinous crimes, against high elected officials of the PPP and its ally, the MQM, including the cases against the President, who had thought that his office was given immunity by the Constitution. However, the NRO verdict also included a direction for the replacement of the NAB Chairman, and the Chief Justices hint indicates that the contempt sentence might be used to enforce the judgement. The government would be well advised to use the time it has in the judges appointments case, less than a week, to put its house in order, by making the appointments that have been recommended, replacing the NAB Chairman, and making those against whom there is any accusation, especially of corruption, leave their high offices until their names have been cleared. Without this acknowledgement that the law is supreme, and the Supreme Court is its interpreter, the government might find that a future, and inevitable, acknowledgement might prove to be more galling.