LAHORE - The Sharifs family was once known for its ideal unity. It was for this reason that whenever Mian Shehbaz Sharif was offered the coveted post of prime minister, he did not accept it.  He refused the offer even during Gen Musharraf’s period. Although backstabbing is very common tool in the heartless politics, and there would have been nothing unusual if he had used it for personal aggrandizement, he preferred to stand by his elder brother Mian Nawaz Sharif.

Shehbaz Sharif not only regards Mian Nawaz Sharif as his leader but also gives him respect reserved for his father since the death of Mian Muhammad Sharif about a decade ago.

When Mian Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by a five-judge Supreme Court in the Panama Papers case, he indicated that Shehbaz Sharif would replace him. And to enable him to occupy the top office, he was declared as a candidate for NA-120 (Lahore).

The announcement was aimed to keep the party united. (It’s an open secret that fair weather friends in the PML-N change loyalties when the party is in trouble).

But all of a sudden Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was brought to the fore, a step that caused confusion and questions about why the Chief Minister Punjab's imminent elevation was delayed for either a minimum of ten months, or an undefined period.

Then the former premier led a rally from Islamabad to Lahore, which was an exercise to assess the level of his public following. As the people along the GT Road turned up in large numbers to welcome the ousted prime minister, the fence-sitters did not dare part ways with the PML-N.

At the end of the rally Begum Kulsoom was nominated as party candidate for NA-120, a step that showed that for reasons best known to him the former prime minister wanted to keep the power within his family.

Shehbaz Sharif’s administrative and leadership qualities were profusely appreciated to justify why he should continue as the Punjab chief minister and this pave the way for the PML-N’s victory in the 2018 election.

Then came reports that the Punjab chief minister would be appointed as party president, an office which always stays with the prime minister.

It was reported on Wednesday that Balochistan’s Sardar Yaqub Nasir is being given this office, again 'temporarily'. But many have justifiably wondered whether this will be a temporary accommodation of the like of Shahid Khaqan Abbassi, which turned into a ten month permanent stint.

While speculation continues to center around whether Mian Shehbaz Sharif will hold a government or party office at the federal level before the 2018 elections, Hamza Shehbaz's involvement and activity is also being viewed with interest.

There was a time when he led the election campaign of all PML-N candidates in by-elections in Punjab.  He was the one who successfully campaigned even for NA Speaker Ayaz Sadiq in NA-122 (Lahore) against PTI’s Aleem Khan.

The party was so proud of the victory on this seat that in a statement it said that the PML-N has defeated Qaroon, whose name is used as an adjective for the wealthiest people.

Initially it was reported that Hamza would lead the campaign in NA-120. But now the assignment has been given to MNA Pervaiz Malik, who has recently been inducted in the federal cabinet. Upon the announcement, Malik himself is said to have praised Hamza highly and asked for him to lead the planning of the campaign for the election of Begum Kulsoom.

The code of conduct issued by the Election Commission of Pakistan bars a minister from conducting the campaign of any candidate.

Whether Pervaiz Malik will or will not be allowed to seek votes for Begum Kalsoom, Hamza has not been named as front runner for this campaign.

Since nothing is final in politics, maybe Mian Nawaz Sharif considers Hamza for some other role. As yet it has not been made clear.