Shehbaz Sharif is facing a two-front crisis: the family and the courts. He is in the middle of a smoldering summer and blazing accountability spree. Despite this, he has kept his composure intact. A few days ago, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif stood shoulder to shoulder explaining their budget strategy to give the government tough time inside parliament, a very few noticed the vibes of calmness on the face of Shehbaz Sharif. Instead of going hard on the establishment (which is the stated policy of the PML-N London group), Shehbaz Sharif focused on the government, more precisely on budget figures, saying that the budget was a set of false figures and false claims. He is picking cards to be relevant to his party, ‘powerful friends’ and other parliamentary groups, such as the PPP. His strategy is working well, when it comes to parliament. In recent days, Shehbaz Sharif has earned respect from the main opposition cadres for, what political analysts believe, his matured position on the establishment, government and other opposition parties. When Maryam Nawaz and her group exchanged mudslinging with the Pakistan People’s Party on the Karachi bye-election results, Shehbaz Sharif kept quiet and instead he reached out to the PPP circles with a hand of friendship. The PPP saw an opportunity to isolate the Maryam Nawaz group within the PML-N and instantly accepted the greetings by the Shehbaz camp. More importantly, the Shehbaz camp resumed links with the powerful circles. It is hard to infer what is going on in ongoing days, but one thing is as clear as crystal that Shehbaz Sharif and other major political parties – read the PPP and the ANP – do not want to be seen as ‘anti-establishment’. True, when the Pakistan Democratic Movement began its anti-government drive last summer, Nawaz Sharif and Mariam Nawaz with the JUI-F hijacked the drive and imposed their narratives on the alliance. PPP Co-chairperson Asif Zardari and ANP’s Aimal Wali Khan were the first to sense the game. When the PPP came up with its own plan in the Senate elections, the PML-N’s London group ditched the alliance and created an alliance within the alliance. It only weakened the alliance but strengthened Shehbaz Sharif, who had come out of jail on bail. Now, the divide within the PML-N is bigger and even more visible. Shehbaz Sharif is going ahead with a new face of Shehbaz Sharif. He has earned the respect of the PPP. But this does not mean the politics of bed of roses is ahead for him. He is neither a free man nor a declared innocent one. He faces a flurry of money laundering cases for his private businesses. When will he get a clean chit? No one can predict. That is a long journey. He also faces a few cases regarding public exchequer scams but they are not so serious. The powerful circles know that his unexplained wealth from the business of his younger son, Salman Shehbaz, is a serious issue. Salman Shehbaz, an absconder and living in London with other on the run family members, reportedly made full use of the foreign remittance act and kept getting TTs from unexplained sources. At the end of the day, the real beneficiary of the transactions was Shehbaz Sharif and his multiple wives. The assets built on the “black money” of his son’s business will keep on haunting him. In the coming days, if Shehbaz Sharif plays smart on his political and family cards, he has a serious chance to be seen as relevant in the 2023 elections. Shehbaz Sharif and his group understand the scenario and for these reasons, he is keeping his distance from Nawaz Sharif. He has cornered Maryam as well. In the coming days, Shehbaz Sharif will have to work hard to become acceptable to the powerful friends, the PML-N circles and other political circles. He has already lost considerably, thanks to his indecisiveness to go for either the PML-N London’s lines or his own reconciliatory narrative. The family and the party have suffered much due to unnecessary wars picked by Nawaz Sharif and Maryam. While she was in political incubation she tried and did everything to reach the political climax with no visible political space. Most parliamentarians were watching every political move carefully and decided that when push came to shove they would not pick the anti-establishment line. Coming back to Shehbaz Sharif, well, though Nawaz Sharif has a past too. But that can be laundered.