After PML-N member Nehal Hashmi received a one-month conviction on contempt of court, the question on everyone’s mind was whether this would lead to a softening of Nawaz Sharif’s mass campaign against the Supreme Court (SC)’s Panama judgment against him. However, it seems as if this is not the case and SC’s conviction of Hashmi has not deterred Nawaz the least in doubling down against the judiciary.

In another strong tirade against the judiciary, Nawaz Sharif told the participants of a seminar, titled Future of democracy in Pakistan, that the SC judges were “PCO” judges and that the infamous doctrine of necessity, because of the judiciary, had caused an irreparable loss to the country and democracy. He reminded of the dangerous history of the judiciary, and said that protection from contempt must be extended to parliamentarians as well.

In addition, if there was any doubt left of any sympathy to the judiciary in the Sharif family, Maryam Nawaz went against the general party line – which had distanced itself from Nehal Hashmi - by making the his picture her display icon on twitter.

With Nawaz’s trial making headway, and contempt notices sent to other PML-N leaders, it is unclear what he means to achieve by delegitimising the judiciary further. While criticising the technicalities of his case are fine, as is general criticism of judicial policy, borderline contempt is not. Moreover, Maryam’s decision to support Nehal Hashmi, who did clearly commit contempt of court, is questionable, since she is supporting a figure who was condemned and expelled by her own party. This is reminiscent of the ideological division in PML-N, half of whom oppose a confrontational attitude towards the judiciary.