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LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had to personally intervene on Sunday to avert a looming crisis surrounding the mass resignations by disciples of Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi in parliament, who had given the provincial government until Sunday (Dec 3) to relieve Law Minister Rana Sanaullah of his post.
Pir Sialvi, the caretaker of Sial Sharif shrine, however stuck to his demand that Rana Sanaullah must bring his resignation (for his recent controversial comments) when he came to meet him.
Hamid Hameed, Muhammad Waris Kallu and Abdul Razzaq Dhilon tendered their resignations to Pir Sialvi. A few days earlier, MNA Dr Zulfikar Ali Bhatti, Chaudhry Hamid Hameed, Abdul Razaq, Rana Munawar Ghaus and Muhammad Waris Kallu along with Jhang parliamentarians Ghulam Bibi Bharwana and Sheikh Muhammad Akram also presented their resignations to Pir Sialvi who had parted ways with the PML-N and declared that the present regime was anti-Islamic.
The chief minister contacted Pir Sialvi and assured him of addressing his concerns, saying he would personally visit the Pir to allay his concern and requested for an extension in the deadline set for December 3.
“The chief minister will visit Astana Alia Sial Sharif to meet Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi in the next few days to clarify the government’s position,” said a statement issued by the CM office.
After getting the assurances, Pir Sialvi decided to give the chief minister more time to address the situation, extending his deadline.
Earlier, Punjab Auqaf & Religious Affairs Minister Syed Zaeem Hussain Qadri called on PML-N’s former senator Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi to drive home the party’s stance that it had no mala fide intention in the election bill controversy and tried to arrange a meeting between the Punjab law minister and the Pir.
The Pir agreed to a meeting with the law minister allowing him to clarify his position but he stuck to his demand that the minister bring his resignation along with him.
Rana Sana was expected to visit Sial Sharif earlier this week to clarify his stance until yesterday when he categorically refused to give his resignation to anyone. Rana Sana in an interview on Saturday said that only PML-N president Nawaz Sharif had the right to demand a resignation from him and if someone wanted that, they should approach Mian sahib.
Khawaja Sad Rafique, who was on a mission to pacify the disgruntled members of the party mostly belonging to Sial Sharif, in an interview on the same day gave direct and uncomforting answers to threats made by the disgruntled members, further straining the situation.
He said there were hundreds of thousands of people in a political party, one person’s coming and going does not make any difference to the party. Rather it affects the individuals.
He said we were ready to address any misconceptions but the practice of giving out certificates of faith should be avoided. He said if someone wanted to do politics there were other ways of doing it.
The statements had not gone down well with Sial Sharif, where several more MNAs and MPAs came to meet Pir Sialvi last week.
According to well-placed sources, they assured the Pir their intention of resigning from assemblies whenever he gave the call.
Sial Sharif has however refused to disclose the actual number of resignations received. Around 13 resignations had already been confirmed by Sialvi earlier this week.
MPA Sahibzada Ghulam Nizamuddin Sialvi, who also announced to resign, said: “More time has been granted on the CM’s request.”
He said Pir Sialvi was informed by the chief minister that the matter was complicated and he needed time to clarify the situation.
Alluding to Rana Sana’s recent interview where he said that Sharif was his political Pir, the MPA said now the matter was between the two Pirs.
Without citing Khawaja Saad Rafique’s allegation of a political agenda, he said “We don’t have any ulterior motives.”
He said people who know little about religion should not speak about the sensitive matter so informally.
Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister also visited Jati Umra to meet former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed matters relating to Sial Sharif and the NAB trial with his elder brother.
Despite being located in close vicinity, the Punjab CM reportedly used the Punjab government’s helicopter to reach Jati Umra.
The Punjab government had been criticising the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government for using the state helicopter like a taxi.
However on Sunday, when the chief minister did exactly what his government had criticised the K-P government for, Information Secretary Abdullah Sumbal, who is also Lahore commissioner, said: “If the chief minister has used a heli, it was for security reasons.”