Pakistan Court Upholds Ban on Sharif; Tensions Rise

Political infighting may cause more instability
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted Feb 25, 2009 3:29 PM CST
Nawaz Sharif supporters burn a billboard showing the portraits of President Asif Ali Zardari and slain leader Benazir Bhutto during a demonstration against the Supreme Court decision.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Pakistan’s supreme court refused today to let opposition leader Nawaz Sharif or his brother hold elected office, prompting fears of political infighting that could further destabilize the country, the BBC reports. President Asif Ali Zardari immediately moved to dismiss the provincial government in Punjab led by Sharif’s brother Shahbaz, the Wall Street Journal adds; Nawaz Sharif called for nationwide protests.

Sharif claims his push to reinstate judges sacked by ex-president Pervez Musharraf cost him a favorable verdict, and says Zardari told his brother as much. The president hasn't commented on the allegation. Sharif—who led Pakistan until he was ousted in a 1999 coup—was banned from politics because of a conviction in the hijacking of then army chief Musharraf.