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MNA Hamza Shahbaz, son of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif returned to Pakistan after a self-imposed exile of one and a half months in London and USA. It is his longest stay abroad since the Sharif family returned to Pakistan from their 2007 exile. The self-exile was said to be instigated by his removal from the election campaign of NA-120.

This is interpreted by many as a jibe at Maryum Nawaz whose supporters include turncoats such as Danial Aziz, Talal Chaudry, and Marium Aurangzeb

Hamza’s removal paved the way for his cousin and Nawaz’s daughter to take over the NA-120 campaign. According to Dawn, Hamza visited the ailing Begum Kulsoom in London only once to inquire after her, while Maryam was in Lahore. Begum Kulsoom won the seat with a margin of 14,647 votes and the victory’s credit was given to Maryam for her ‘extensive and aggressive’ campaign.

Hamza’s return is seen by many as occurring at a crucial time when all is not well between the two Sharif brothers, the disqualified PML(N) leader Nawaz Sharif and Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. The main root cause is the question of who will succeed Nawaz. Before May 2013 elections, it was widely seen that the charismatic Punjab CM would be one to replace his brother.

Read more: Younger Sharif to be the next PML-N chief: how will Nawaz…

Shahbaz Sharif and a like-minded group, however, reject such a course of action and advocate a continuity of the democratic process and fulfillment of the current term

However, all such notions were put paid by the rise of Maryum Nawaz who is aided by her father in her endeavor to become the next PML(N) head. Many assert that Nawaz’s recent controversial “election” as PML(N) president was a stratagem to deny Shahbaz the opportunity of solidifying his position within a post-Nawaz scenario while at the same time strengthen Maryum’s chances.

Maryum’s ambitions have caused her to go against her cousin and Shahbaz’s son, Hamza Shahbaz who is a staunch advocate of his father’s right to the throne. Indeed many ascertain that the battle between the two cousins has soured relationships between their two fathers. Hamza’s return comes in the backdrop of another schism within the PML(N) relating to the path the party will follow after the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.

A feeling is now prevailing among some including Nawaz himself that the more time PML(N) stays in power, the higher the risk it would lose the next elections as the party unravels

For a time it was thought that in the run-up to the NA-120 elections, that the PML(N) was committed to remaining in government for full tenure of its period, however after the results of the NA-120 election thinking has changed. After the rather lackluster result of NA-120 by-elections and the poor performance of PML(N) and by extension Nawaz’s heir apparent, Maryam Nawaz, the divisions appearing among many PML(N) ranks are now visible.

Read more: The next Prime Minister; a twin dilemma

A feeling is now prevailing among some including Nawaz himself that the more time PML(N) stays in power, the higher the risk it would lose the next elections as the party unravels. Therefore, Nawaz Sharif and his group are on a crusade to commence a clash of institutions and destabilize the current government in order to preempt early polls.

Maryum’s ambitions have caused her to go against her cousin and Shahbaz’s son, Hamza Shahbaz who is a staunch advocate of his father’s right to the throne

This is obvious with such antics as the speeches of Nawaz against the judiciary, the constant references by certain PML(N) leaders to “Hidden forces” out to sabotage PML(N) efforts, Khawaja Asif statements in the USA and as well as attempts to present a civil-military tussle. Shahbaz Sharif and a like-minded group, however, reject such a course of action and advocate a continuity of the democratic process and fulfillment of the current term.

Read more: Of sit-ins and rallies: the politics on the roads

This too was apparent in Shahbaz’s warning to his brother of being beware of “New Leaders” who cared only for designations and perks. This is interpreted by many as a jibe at Maryum Nawaz whose supporters include turncoats such as Danial Aziz, Talal Chaudry, and Maryum Aurangzeb. It appears now that the interfamily tussle is set to escalate as the trial of Nawaz Sharif and his immediate family continues.

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