It appears that the rains of London may not have been to the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)’s liking. After a mysterious two-month hiatus to England for health concerns, Shehbaz Sharif has returned to Pakistan, to the joy of hundreds of PML-N workers, who awaited him at the Allama Iqbal International Airport in Lahore with flowers and celebrations.

The PML-N leader’s return has inundated the news reporters, political analysts and most of all PML-N members themselves, with a lot of questions. The way Sharif left for London raised many suspicions that he was going for good- the PML-N leaders shockingly on his own gave up his Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairmanship which he had fought tooth and nail over for months. With NAB pursuing cases against Shehbaz Sharif, with several show-downs- once at the Sharif residence, it certainly looked as if Shehbaz was giving up politics and going to London to escape from the cases against him, like PML-N’s former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

His return dispels such notions but it does leave us with questions. Does this mean that Sharif will once again strive to be the main political player in the opposition and take back his positions? What place does he have now in the PML-N and will he emerge a leading figure in the resistance against PTI’s economic reforms? Most importantly, where does Shehbaz Sharif fit in in the new opposition coalition that has formed- does he have a seat at the table of the iftari opposition meeting?

His return and PML-N’s response to it will reveal the direction the party sees itself taking in the future. Most likely, it seems that Shehbaz has too much on his plate with his cases in NAB- and the mantle of PML-N will be taken up by the younger generation.