ISLAMABAD - Though former prime minister Nawaz Sharif has been uttering foul of the superior judiciary since his disqualification, he has opened his mass contact campaign too on a confrontational note – signalling that he intends to lead his party to the general elections with his return to power as the key agenda.

He reiterated much the same things at Sunday’s Abbottabad rally as he has been saying since his ouster, though with a renewed vigour. As he took a dig against the judiciary and the establishment, his message was clear: that he, through his popularity, would force them to allow his return to parliament politics.

However, many in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – including his younger brother and Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif – do not acquiesce to the confrontation policy with institutions.

But leaders with hawkish tendency are dominating the ruling party with the blessing of party chief, Nawaz Sharif, and the doves seem to have little leverage to have an impact on party meetings and consultations.

Party leaders against the confrontation policy in the Parliament have privately spoken against those pushing things toward altercation with institutions and are concerned about the fate and future of the party if Sharif leading the team of hawks continues to up the ante.

A large group within the ruling party in the Parliament were even against introducing changes in the Constitution paving way for a disqualified person to become the party president as they anticipate that this move on the part of the PML-N would earn a bad name for the party and, on the other hand, flare up the existing tension with the institutions.

Some of them even dared to talk about it overtly like Federal Minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada, who wanted Shahbaz Sharif to replace Nawaz Sharif as party president so that things would move on smoothly which would ultimately result in the strengthening of democratic order in the country.

A group of over 60 ruling party MPs are in complete disagreement with the policy of confrontation but as no one from within the frontline leaders is coming out to confront the party leadership on this count, they have no option but to just keep their mouth shut owing to so many political compulsion including securing the lucrative development funds being doled out by the government.

A senior party leader, who did not wish to disclose his name, said that unless Shahbaz Sharif came out to confront his brother, the party MPs with hawkish tendency would continue to rule the roost and ultimately crash with a rock and as a result, the party ends up losing and the system collapsed.

On the other hand from the day one after his disqualification in the Panama Papers case, Sharif had strongly reacted, and besides grilling superior judiciary, he also saw some conspiracy behind his removal but stop short of naming the conspirators.

The firebrand party leaders rallying around former premier Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz, prevailed in blocking the way of Shahbaz Sharif, first to become the prime minister and then the party chief, as he was totally against the confrontational politics and wanted to tread a conciliatory path to carve out a way forward.

Some insiders in the party said that seeing the preference for these firebrand party leaders in the party meetings, veterans like former interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had distanced themselves from party activities and have virtually gone into oblivion, or are waiting for the moment when a big group within the party come out in revolt against what they considered the policy which would lead the party towards devastation.

Though on the face of it, Sharif had restricted his criticism to the superior judiciary and avoided the direct hit at the establishment in his recent public addresses, when he targets the judiciary he also speaks about hidden hands and a conspiracy against his removal from power, indirectly implicating the establishment in the whole saga.

However, his criticism of the judiciary is becoming harsher and harsher by each passing day and in his Abbottabad address, he blamed the judiciary for not only taking shelter behind the ‘doctrine of necessity’ but also facilitating and validating the dictators.

Political analysts saw his Abbottabad speech dangerous to the level of instigating the masses for revolt against the system as he again hinted at some hidden hands behind the formation of the JIT and the whole conspiracy against him.

Some analysts believe that as Sharif and his family members could not prove their cases in the accountability court they wanted to see some ‘unnatural’ ouster of his party’s government so that they could portray themselves as a victim and term the court decisions against them their political victimization. Otherwise, with his handpicked Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as Prime Minister and the whole cabinet members seeking guidance and directions from him instead of the chief executive, no one would buy the narrative of conspiracy and victimization against him and his family.

The absconding of the court proceeding by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his unlikely return to face the corruption case clearly indicates a fault on his part and, he in no way, could talk about victimization during his own government in which he is holding the all-powerful position of Finance Minister.

The coming days and weeks would show how the doves in the party confront the hostile position taken by Sharif and his hawkish team surrounding him and whether they would confront what they considered faulty policy or just murmur around in the drawing room gossips.