After months of an endlessly contradictory policy, with former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sometimes bashing the judiciary, to sometimes reaffirming his commitment to law, Nawaz seems to have decided that opposition to the judiciary may after all be the best course of action. He has decided to launch a mass-contact campaign and likely to initiate the campaign by addressing a public meeting in Abbottabad around November 12, to show off his support in KP province.

It appears that the constant criticisms of political analysts and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), advising him to stay away from an anti-establishment stance, have failed, as he once again, disappointingly goes for a confrontational approach. This decision is not only undemocratic but also politically unwise, as he stands to risk alienation of an already divided PML-N. For the last few months, PML-N leaders, like Nisar Ali Khan and Riaz Pirzada have started to state their public disagreement with some aspects of Nawaz’s approach. By creating an us v them paradigm, Nawaz loses all hopes of winning judiciary, which he would have had, as evidenced by a positive IHC judgment for him.

A big liability for him is Maryam Nawaz, who has been the biggest advocate of a confrontational and belittling approach against the judiciary. Maryam’s leadership has been a point of contention for PML-N leaders and Nawaz walking the policies of Maryam could cause discontent.

Moreover, an anti-establishment stance by him could affect relations between the Abbasi administration and state institutions, especially the security establishment. In the larger interest of the party, it is imperative that the present PML-N government be allowed complete freedom to run the administration, and a Prime Minister having to take sides in a clash between him and judiciary would deter the democratic process.

Where he runs risk of shooting himself in the foot is in the case of his longsuffering loyal brother, Shahbaz Sharif. For the last few months, the creeks in their relationship, and the differences in ideology of the two brothers have started to show, with statements of disagreement by Shahbaz and Hamza. Here again, Maryam’s growing entitlement and an anti-judiciary approach are the dividers. It will be interesting to see how his attacks against the judiciary will affect Shahbaz’s actions, who stands in line to be the next Prime Ministerial candidate.

Nawaz has undeniable vote support, but the consequences of an anti-judiciary approach might just lead his own party to dismiss him as a liability.