ISLAMABAD/LAHORE - The Supreme Court on Tuesday declared Sharif brothers eligible for contesting election and holding public office, thus setting aside the February 25, 2009 decision of its three-member bench and the June 23, 2008 decision of the Lahore High Court. Justice Tassaduq Hussain, head of the five-member larger bench comprising Justice Nasir ul Mulk, Justice Muhammad Musa K Leghari, Justice Sheikh Hakim Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, announced the unanimous verdict in a short order. Justice Tassaduq Hussain, while reading out the verdict, said that the civil review petitions filed by Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif were allowed while the remaining petitions were not maintainable and were disposed of. Consequently, the June 23, 2008 decision of the Lahore High Court and the February 25, 2009 decision of the three-member bench of the Supreme Court were set aside and the order of the Returning Officer accepting the nomination papers of Sharif brothers on May 16, 2008 was upheld. Thus, Sharif brothers were declared qualified for contesting elections and holding public offices. In the cases in hand, head of the bench said that the issues of unpaid loans, court contempt and filing of false affidavit were disputed questions of facts, upon which, he said, the court couldnt adjudicate under Article 199 of the Constitution. He said that the Presidential Pardon to Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in hijacking case stood admitted by the Federation through the statements made by the Deputy Attorney General before the High Court, before this Court during the hearing of the main petition and in the instant review petition and even by the Attorney General who appeared in these review proceedings. Earlier, Attorney General Sardar Latif Khosa, while submitting his concluding arguments before the court said that though Sharif brothers were served notices during the initial proceedings of the case, they were not issued notices when regular hearing of the case was started, which, he said, was a fault floating on the surface of the SCs earlier verdict. He added that the judgement in Shahbaz Sharif case was ex-party, however, he maintained, the court could decide a case ex-party when the parties concerned didnt appear before the court despite issuance of notices. The court, after a break of four hours after the AG completed his arguments, returned and announced the short order. The courtroom was jam-packed with lawyers, journalists and workers and leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League-N. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Ahsan Iqbal, Anjum Aqeel and Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry were present in the courtroom. Soon after the short order was announced, the jubilant workers of the PML-N gathered in the premises of SC and shouted slogans in favour of the Supreme Court and Sharif brothers. PML-N central leader Ihsan Iqbal, while talking to media persons on the occasion, termed the judgment a triumph of the people of Pakistan and a sign of the independence of judiciary. He said that the PCO judges had disqualified Sharif brothers in defiance of the Constitution of Pakistan. He said PML-N had rendered great sacrifices in the movement for independent judiciary and that Sharif brothers would continue their struggle based on principles for the supremacy of the constitution and rule of law. He said that the presence of Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in Parliament would strengthen democracy. He hoped that the independent judiciary would play its pivotal role in strengthening the institutions and the supremacy of law. Meanwhile, PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif has said his party will decide about his contesting the election. Talking to journalists Tuesday at his Raiwind residence, he expressed his gratitude to Allah Almighty on Supreme Courts verdict, and said a free judiciary had restored his right to contest the general elections or hold public office, and the entire nation had welcomed the verdict. I salute the people of Pakistan, who ensured free judiciary after a long struggle and huge sacrifices and which is giving independent decisions. The verdict about me has been given by an independent judiciary, he said, adding that now the democratic government must come up to expectations of masses. He was of the view that actual decisions were those, which were accepted by the majority of the masses, and now the nation had agreed to the verdict in contrast to the previous one, which was rejected by all barring a few. Nawaz Sharif said a dictator had practically confined the judiciary, but now Pakistan was moving in the right direction, as rule of law was the key to progress and prosperity of any country. Good governance is the agenda of N-League, which is still supporting the present government, he said, asserting that good governance must ensure economic, political and social justice. To a question, he said that Pakistan must have to address its internal affairs first, as it would help resolve its external problems. Nawaz Sharif said the nuclear assets were in safe hands. He wanted that an All Parties Conference on the Balochistan issue should be called at the earliest. APP adds: Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has declared that Nawaz Sharif would join the parliament soon and added that he (Nawaz) would launch efforts to end the 17th Amendment. He expressed these views after the Supreme Courts ruling that allowed Nawaz to contest the polls, a private TV channel reported. Shahbaz alleged that former president Pervez Musharraf wanted to 'enslave the judiciary. It is our responsibility to strengthen institutions because the dictator locked the doors of the judiciary in the past. Now it is our time to serve the people, assured Shahbaz. He demanded that the Charter of Democracy signed with Benazir Bhutto be implemented.