Khatm-e-Nabuwwat issue: Punjab govt prorogues assembly session abruptly to save its skin

  • Opposition leader threatens to hold sit-in at assembly’s stairs if session not called within a week
  • PML-N’s disgruntled MPAs adamant over Sana’s resignation

LAHORE: The Punjab government has abruptly prorogued the 33rd session of the Punjab Assembly for an indefinite period after getting the governor’s approval on Thursday in a bid to avert the ongoing crisis it is facing wherein a large number of parliamentarians have tendered their resignations to a Sargodha-based spiritual leader over the issue of Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (finality of the prophethood), Pakistan Today has learnt.

According to details, the session of the assembly was summoned by the governor on November 23. But only two sittings on November 23 and 24 (Thursday and Friday) could be held as Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal had to delay the next sitting till December 4 due to the nationwide protests of the Tehreek Labaiak Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR).

If the session commences on schedule, Dec 4, it is speculated that the Punjab government will come under heavy criticism over its mishandling of the finality of Prophethood issue. Moreover, the government does not have the luxury to entertain criticism as a large number of parliamentarians hailing from the ruling party are annoyed with the government due to its mishandling of the finality of prophethood clause issue, as they seek an apology from Punjab Law And Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan—Chief Minister Shehbaz’s right hand.

Meanwhile, the sit-in of clerics and religious activists outside the Punjab Assembly entered sixth consecutive day. The TLYR protesters led by Dr Ashraf Asif Jalali have been demanding the resignation of Rana Sanaullah over his ‘controversial’ remarks about Ahmadi community in the aftermath of hastily amended clause.

The demonstration outside the assembly may also create problems for the MPAs coming to attend the session. It is highly likely that the number of TLYR workers will be bolstered as a large number of protesters are likely to join the sit-in on Friday on Jalali’s call.

It may be mentioned here that over a dozen parliamentarians of PML-N tendered their resignations to a spiritual leader and custodian of Sial Sharif Shrine Pir Hameedud Din Sialvi and also authorised him to decide their political fates.

Sialvi, a spiritual leader, had sought apology from Rana Sanaullah and had demanded his resignation over the remarks about Ahmadis community. The PML-N members who met Sialvi and submitted their resignations included Sheikh Muhammad Akram from Jhang (NA-89), Ghulam Muhamad Lali from Jhang (NA-87), Chaudhry Hamid Hameed from Sargodha (NA-66), Ghulam Bibi Bharwana from Jhang (NA-88), Dr Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti from Sargodha (NA-67), Maulana Rehmatullah from Jhang (PP-74), Malik Waris Kallu from Khushab (PP- 42), Muhammad Khan from Jhang (PP-81), Sahibzada Ghulam Nizamu Din Sialvi from Sargodha (PP-37), Chaudhry Abdul Razzaq Dhillon from Sargodha (PP-33) and Rana Munawar Ghous from Sargodha (PP-36).

Sahibzada Ghulam Nizamud Din Sialvi, an MPA from Sargodha (PP-37) and nephew of Pir Sailvi, told Pakistan Today that over a dozen lawmakers of PML-N tendered their resignations to Pir Sialvi and empowered him to decide their political fate. Following the authority, Pir Sialvi had demanded the government to accept their demands by December 3.

“The government is creating difficulties for itself by issuing controversial statements in the favour of Ahmadiyya community and we want the resignation of Rana Sana to set a precedent for the future where no one would dare to issue such statements,” Sialvi said, who also holds the portfolio of parliamentary secretary for Live Stock and Dairy Development. His father had also served as provincial minister for Auqaf during 1990-93.

Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed condemned the government for proroguing the assembly session abruptly while urging the PML-N for earliest resolution of the matter amicably. “The Punjab government cannot be seen anywhere just like the federal government and the opposition would stage a sit-in at the stairs of Punjab Assembly if the government does not summon the assembly session within one week,” he concluded.