Since being deposed Nawaz Sharif has slowly but steadily ratcheted up his rhetoric, to the point that he became a self-declared ‘revolutionary’ against grievous but unnamed forces. This confrontational style has not diminished since his arrival to Lahore; the former Prime Minister continues to allege that ‘certain forces’ wanted him ousted from power throughout his term and that all of the members of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) investigating him were against his party. In a recent interview, he spoke candidly about his complicated relations with previous military chiefs and asserted that avoiding a clash of institutions was not his responsibility alone.

Nawaz Sharif may certainly feel isolated while “protecting democracy” but he must realise that no one will come to his aid if he continues down that path the he is currently treading. The signs are numerous, and recently explicit too – Nawaz Sharif has only to listen.

These days however, access to his ear seems restricted to a few. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had emerged strong and united from the Supreme Court verdict, but cracks are beginning to show. The crucial factor here is, it is not for a lack of loyalty that the PML-N leadership is grumbling – it is the exclusion of certain people for the circles of influence, and a refusal to back down from a stance that is stoking confrontation. Nawaz Sharif may claim he does not want a clash of the institutions, but he was the one who rallied the “court of the people” to reject the verdict of the apex court. He is fighting against the unnamed enemy – his party isn't.

Other party leaders are cautioning the same thing. Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) chairman Asif Ali Zardari commented that while he would always stand by democracy, democracy is not under threat at this moment – only Nawaz Sharif is. Continuing an aggressive stance drags the PML-N into the cross-hairs with him.

What the former Prime Minister needs to do at this moment is reign in his tirades against outside forces and seek to calm the forces rumbling inside his own party. Kulsoom Nawaz leaves for London unannounced, the party’s leadership is as uncertain as ever, and errant leaders are voicing their displeasure over increasing factionalism – this is a party in disarray.

The so-called “forces” threatening democracy will not derail it by removing the Nawaz Sharif, however if the PML-N splinters, everything the Sharif family has built will be lost.