As the initial shock and euphoria slowly wears off, political parties are starting to realise that outside the rose-tinted viewpoints of victory, stubborn details still lurk. Nawaz Sharif is not the Prime Minister anymore, but neither is Imran Khan nor anyone else from the opposition. The journey from here to there is a long one, and there might be a few more obstacles to overcome along the way.

The biggest obstacle remains the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), which has surprisingly kept a level head in the aftermath of the decision. There were no thinly veiled threats, no charged speeches, and no Gullu Butt-esque characters leading unruly mobs. The blundering, heavy handedness that has haunted this administration was uncharacteristically missing.

In its place the PML-N has quietly consolidated power. Shehbaz Sharif is set to be elected to the National Assembly from the seat vacated by his brother, and given the vast majority held by the party in the Parliament, is all but confirmed to be the next Prime Minister. The next Chief Minister of Punjab, the interim Prime Minister and others posts have also been quickly filled. Apart from Chaudhry Nisar Ali – who seems to be perpetually stuck in political limbo – we have not seen the predicted “party in crisis” that is slowly disintegrating. Things may change very quickly if there are some high-profile defections in the future, but at the moment the PML-N is holding fast to its majority.

Ultimately it is that majority that the opposition has to beat. Shehbaz Sharif remains a popular leader in Punjab and is untainted from the Panama stain; if he can handle the premiership with some measure of competence he will present a formidable challenge to the opposition.

That is not the only thing standing in Imran Khan’s way. In the harsh light of the morning after, the thin and arguable basis on which Nawaz Sharif was disqualified is beginning to look even thinner. Furthermore, there is hot debate over whether Nawaz Sharif is disqualified for life or for a shorter period; the question is open-ended and pending in front of the Supreme Court.

Not only can Nawaz Sharif claim the sympathy vote – which he has already started to do by lamenting his dismissal and quietly asserting his love and service for the country – he may yet become a part of the Parliament at some point in the future.

The opposition has won an important battle, but hard, arduous work awaits them if they are to win the Prime Minister-ship.