Threat of more resignations worries ruling party

Threat of more resignations worries ruling party


LAHORE: While three legislators belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) have formally submitted their resignations in protest against what they call government inaction to sack Law Minister Rana Sanaullah for his ‘controversial’ remarks about Khatm-e-Nabuwwat, threats from many more to follow suit have left the party leaders in Punjab fretting.

Sources in the Punjab government told The Express Tribune that tension was running high among the PML-N leadership which was forced to defend Sanaullah over his controversial interview and subsequent stand-off with Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi.

The leaders, according to the sources, are of the view that Sanaullah should have tried to address Sialvi’s concerns after the Punjab government had sent two delegations to the Pir of Sial Sharif in November, assuring him of an amicable solution to the issue.

Provincial Minister Zaeem Qadri’s meeting with Sialvi, the stage was set for Sanaullah to easily defuse the situation, but he refused to budge, provoking the Pir instead, the sources quoted the leaders as saying.

They said that Sialvi just wanted an explanation for Sanaullah’s ‘controversial’ interview, adding that if the interview had been twisted by the media, Sanaullah would have no problem defending himself before Sialvi. They said it was a matter of faith, and Sanaullah could have easily settled the issue in the name of honoring Sialvi’s stature.

The sources said that many religious groups were standing behind Sialvi and with their forces combined, they were far more dangerous for the government than any of the pervious sit-ins.

“Sanaullah wants to give these religious groups a tough time as he feels that it is a game of nerves and staying put will win him this battle,” said a party leader on the condition of anonymity.

“Sanaullah is a smart politician but he is being a little too overconfident with all this as he should understand that the PML-N is already struggling with its image after the Khatm-e-Nabuwwat controversy.”

He remarked that the party should decide it once and for all to end the whole fiasco as “we parliamentarians have to take care of the voters in our constituencies above anything else”.

Party sources revealed that Sanaullah had internally refused to meet Sialvi.

On Sunday, Sanaullah had refused to accept the Punjab chief minister as an authority for demanding his resignation. He had said that only Nawaz Sharif, the party president, could demand his resignation. He said even the chief minister was Sharif’s selection.

Sanaullah also alleged that Sialvi was being used by hidden hands.  He had also challenged Sialvi to bring forward 15 resignations if he wanted to be taken seriously.

Provincial Minister Qadri said that Sanaullah’s statement had been taken out of context.

He said, “For all of us in the PML-N, Sharif is our leader, and he is the ultimate authority in the party in such matters. However, this does not belittle any other senior leader of the party.”

He said, “We will be able to address the situation in a matter of days.”

He said Shehbaz had left for Turkey on Tuesday and would be back by Sunday. “As soon as he returned, we will resolve the issue.”

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