Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), once a picture of party solidarity and clarity of purpose increasingly seems bereft of both. With uncertain times befalling Pakistan’s economy and foreign policy challenges abound, the party’s own future remains the most uncertain. This begs the question, where is the largest opposition party of the country headed in the year 2020?

Two months into the year the answer eludes many in the party itself. Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif, the twin pillars on which the party is built, are absent from the scene, with the elder brother showing no indication of returning in the near future. With accountability investigations hanging over their heads, perhaps both intend on taking their time to return to the fore.

Maryam Nawaz, once a vocal face of the party and an emerging leader, has also faded into the background. Since the “vote ko izzat do” campaign lost its steam, it seems the youngest scion of the Sharif family has also lost momentum.

Can that momentum be revitalized by recently returned Ahsan Iqbal and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi? Both men are prominent and popular party leaders; it would be expected of them to take up the mantle of representing the party on the national stage. The directionless PML-N cadres will certainly hope that they do, but considering past precedent it might be entirely possible that they too, like their fellow party leaders, will seek to disengage from active political activities.

Such confusions not only plague the party’s public leadership, but also its opposition platform. Inflation, economic mismanagement, health crises, and rising taxes are the problems of today - far removed from the ones that were thrown up by the election. When other opposition parties have evolved their platforms, will the PML-N do so too?

Much depends on the answers of these questions. The PML-N direction holds as much bearing on the future of the country, as the ruling party’s does.