Nawaz Sharif has returned as the president of the ruling party, thanks to the Electoral Reforms Bill just passed by the Parliament. His speech at the party convention, following his re-election as the head of the PML-N, suggests that Sharif’s tone on the Panama Papers saga remains aggressive. It is clear that the ruling party is in no mood to show restraint and will continue questioning the judgement at every forum. In public meetings following his disqualification, Nawaz Sharif has been speaking about the need for upholding democratic values, and rightly so. The former PM has gone as far as to claim that was ousted for trying to uphold civilian supremacy. To ensure that this argument is based on a solid footing, the PML-N needs introspection. As the party chief continues his quest outside the party, he needs to also put its own house in order by nurturing democratic norms and practices within the party. Nawaz Sharif’s unopposed re-election speaks volumes about the democratic culture within the party. Unfortunately, such is the case with all major political parties, as party heads are almost always elected unopposed in intra-party elections. Since Nawaz Sharif claims to have been punished for protecting the democratic system, it is important for him to walk the talk and promote democratic values in his own party. The ousted PM has himself admitted that he was hardly an ideological person in the past, but the recent happenings have turned him into one. If he truly intends to follow the ideological principles that he claims to stand for, he should use his power as the president of the ruling party towards this end — because as they say, charity begins at home. Meanwhile, the fact remains that the Electoral Reforms Bill was introduced in a hurry simply to pave the way for Sharif to return as the party chief. It would be better if such unusual swiftness is also shown for passing laws concerning fundamental rights of the Pakistani people. The government should let Nawaz Sharif and his family face accountability courts. There are plenty of issues in the country that need the government and ministers’ attention. PML-N as a party can be left to politically contest the Sharif family’s case so that federal ministers could stay focused on running the country’s affairs. * Published in Daily Times, October 5th 2017.