ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday disallowed party leaders from expressing sympathy towards the religious group who have been staging a protest in Islamabad’s Faizabad Interchange calling for the resignation of the federal minister over the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat clause controversy, reported Express Tribune.
As per reports, Nawaz Sharif took the decision after his son-in-law Captain (r) Safdar stated he would ‘participate in the sit-in if invited’.
Moreover, reports have confirmed that Nawaz is irked over PML-N lawmakers not appearing in full strength at the National Assembly session on November 21 to vote against the bill seeking repeal of Article 203 in the Elections (Amendment) Act 2017, which allows any disqualified or ineligible person to become a member or head of a political party.
Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday chaired a consultative session with senior party leadership which included Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Leader of the House in Senate Raja Zafarul Haq and Religious Affairs Minister Sardar Yousaf. During the meeting, he expressed his reservations over party leaders who have been sympathising with the religious group pressing for the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid over the change in the Khatam-e-Nabuwwat clause in the Election Bill, 2017.
Reports further suggested that ousted prime minister is also displeased over failure of several rounds of negotiations with the religious groups.
As per reports, Nawaz has also advised party leaders to go tough on the protestors and chalk out an alternative plan to clear the Faizabad Interchange ahead of Eid Milad-un-Nabi if negotiations do not yield results. The government fears that with Eid Milad-un-Nabi drawing close, the number of protestors is likely to witness an increase.
Reports suggest that the government is mulling use of water cannons, baton charges and tear gas against the protesters, instead of weapons.
Moreover, reports claim that Safdar and other leaders including Zafarul Haq, Sardar Yousaf and State Minister for Religious Affairs Pir Aminul Hasnat appear divided on the use of force and want to resolve the matter through negotiations – something which is contrary to what PML-N’s top leadership wants.
Moreover, Nawaz Sharif has called upon party leaders to make efforts to keep the party united by reaching out to dissident elements in the wake of 2018 general elections.