Mian Nawaz Sharif has got the verdict that he really deserved. He had been debarred from getting elected on the basis of cases cooked up by a military ruler who staged a coup against him, put him in solitary confinement and would have gladly hanged him if the influential Saudi ruler had not intervened. The verdict removes a major obstacle on Sharif's way to premiership. He can now contest elections and be a member of the Parliament. The second obstacle i.e. the bar imposed by Musharraf through a constitutional amendment on a third tenure however still remains in force. The issue which was resolved by the apex court could have been amicably settled by political means i.e. through parliament where the PPP, PML-N and their allies could have mustered a two thirds majority. But this required a modicum of grace on the part of 'younger brother' Zardari which he was unwilling to display. The remark "if Nawaz wanted the bar to be removed, he should have come to us" by once uppish Sherry Rahman indicates the party leadership perhaps wanted him to come begging on his knees for the favour. Thus an opportunity was lost to settle the matter politically. The more the leaders force each other to take their disputes to the courts, instead of resolving them through mutual accommodation, dialogue and parliamentary means, the more they yield their turf to the judiciary. This could develop a tendency in the later to consider itself the Messiah and encourage it to meddle in affairs beyond its competence. The question now is will Zardari agree to get the ban on the tenure removed through parliamentary means, i.e. by moving ahead to repeal the 17th amendment, or force Sharif once again to seek a legal remedy? If the Charter of Democracy carries any value, the PPP leadership is honour bound to do away with the bar. Section 12 of the CoD categorically lays down that "The ban on a 'prime minister not being eligible for a third term of office' will be abolished." When PPP and PML-N signed the CoD, both Benazir and Nawaz were debarred from seeking a third term as PM. Being in the same boat it suited both to seek the removal of the ban. With Benazir dead, shortsighted elements in the PPP might like to reconsider the provision that benefits the PML-N alone. Will they succumb to the dictates of realpolitik or have a long-term view of the situation? With the ghost of the Doctrine of Necessity laid to rest, till at least the Iftikhar court is in place, the judiciary is not likely to have a favourable view of the constitutional distortions enacted by Musharraf. CJ Iftikhar has already indicated that the Supreme Court may review the 17th amendment. Under the situation the best way for the PPP leadership would be to move the parliament as soon as the dust is settled over the issue of the IDPs and of Balochistan to annul the disqualification. Mian Nawaz Sharif's presence in the National Assembly will add to its prestige. It will not be possible for the government to ignore the Lower House or to steamroll the opposition now. A strong opposition will be able to exercise check on the activities of the government With Benazir no more alive, Mian Nawaz Sharif is the only leader with nation wide appeal. His inability to contest the elections had acted as a factor that restricted the PML-N's capacity to spread itself in other provinces. The apex court's decision removes the question mark about his being able to head a government in days to come. This would add to his political attraction in smaller provinces. Individuals and groups in the other three provinces who are unhappy with the PPP policies are likely to veer towards the PML-N as the government-in-the waiting now. Smaller provinces have a love-hate attitude towards Punjab. They complain against the excesses committed under military regimes which are identified with the largest province. But they are also convinced that without support from Punjab the injustices done to them cannot be removed. Punjab has for long specialized in producing great bureaucrats and petty politicians. What is needed to sustain the federation are Punjabi politicians who have a vision to keep the federation together and the humility needed to win over the smaller provinces. It remains to be seen if Mian Nawaz Sharif is able to come up to the expectations of the downtrodden in Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP.