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Watch: Is Maryam Nawaz’s political rise dividing PML-N in an election year?

PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz Sharif

Maryam Nawaz’s return to Islamabad after four months in London has caused a flutter in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Her return is being ascribed to not just elections in Punjab, the most important province in Pakistan, but also heralds the possible return of her father Nawaz Sharif, the former Pakistani prime minister, to his homeland from the UK.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, also her uncle, had appointed Maryam as the Senior Vice President of the PML-N in January this year, inviting her to “reorganise” the party. Her elevation led to former prime minister and senior PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi putting in his papers from the party leadership.

Abbasi’s resignation and Maryam’s elevation has led to speculation that former finance minister Miftah Ismail, who has lately been critical of his party, too might leave the party. Ismail has been particularly harsh, and also vocal, in the way his replacement Ishaq Dar has been handling the economy and tackling the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at a time when the Pakistani economy has run aground.

Even as the Sharif family tightens its grip on the party, the two miffed leaders–Abbasi and Ismail–are charting out their own course. They are planning a series of discussions across the country to focus on the herculean challenges–economy, terrorism, insurgencies, inflation and food shortage–that their country is facing.

Meanwhile Maryam is busy tackling the unease within the party as many .

In Pakistan’s muddy politics, Maryam had faced slogan shouting by the supporters of former prime minister and cricketer Imran Khan’s supporters in London.

Also read: Afghan-Pak rift widens after deadly Peshawar suicide bombing