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Controversial meet at Model Town: Rana Sanaullah clarifies remarks before body that Sialvi refuses to own – Pakistan

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LAHORE/SARGODHA: The issue of Punjab law minister’s ‘controversial’ remarks about a minority community and the demand of Pir Hameedud Din Sialvi that Rana Sanaullah should appear before a six-member body to clarify his position got further complicated on Saturday following a meeting between the two sides in Model Town which the Pir said was held “deceitfully” without taking him on board.

In the aftermath of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s visit to Sargodha-based Pir of Sial Sharif, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah finally ‘appeared’ before a committee on Saturday to clarify his position with regard to his statement.

The meeting was attended by a six-member committee comprising Pir Sialvi’s nephew MPA Sahibzada Ghulam Nizamuddin, another MPA Maulana Rahmatullah and four others, with the Punjab government represented by MNA Hamza Shahbaz, Rana Sanuallah, Auqaf Minister Zaeem Qadri and Malik Muhammad Ahmad in Model Town.

The members of the committee arrived here a day after the Pir complained in a press conference that after Shahbaz Sharif’s Dec 1 visit to his residence neither the chief minister nor Rana Sanuallah contacted his men for a meeting over the issue as per their commitment.

“In the meeting I told the participants that a malicious campaign against me was being run at the behest of some unseen forces on this sensitive issue. I have many times clarified the statement attributed to me relating to a minority community in the media and on the assembly floor. Today I reiterated my stance before the (committee) members sent by Sialvi sahib and removed their reservations,” Rana Sanaullah told Dawn after the meeting.

He claimed that all “misconceptions” over the issue had been removed, hoping that the issue had been settled once for all.

Sialvi faced a lot of criticism, especially on social media, for “cutting a deal” with Shahbaz Sharif after the latter called on the Pir.

There were reports that Pir Sialvi agreed to roll back his protest movement on the issue of Khatem-e-Nabuwat after the chief minister assured him that his son Qasim Sialvi would be either accommodated in the Senate or forthcoming general election.

“This issue does not seem to be settled here even after the appearance of Rana Sanuallah before the Sialvi’s team to clarify his position. As long as Pir Sialvi does not get anything on his plate, like some favour for his son, his reservations will remain there,” a source in the PML-N told Dawn.

He said differences had already erupted in the Sialvi family as the PML-N leadership hinted at accommodating either Ghulam Nizamuddin or Qasim Silavi in the coming election. “Nizamuddin is a sitting MPA and he played on both sides to resolve the issue. Therefore, the PML-N leadership is happy with his role and is likely to award him ticket for provincial assembly in this year’s election.

Mr Qasim’s chances appear slim,” the PML-N leader said.

Nizamuddin did not respond to Dawn’s queries in this regard.

Meanwhile, Pir Sialvi announced parting of ways with his nephew MPA Nizamuddin Sialvi, who he alleged deceitfully took some members of the committee to the Chief Minister House for a meeting without his consent.

Sial Sharif shrine spokesperson Sahibzada Qasim Sialvi said Nizamuddin Sialvi attended the meeting held at the CM House in Model Town without taking Pir Sialvi into confidence.

He said the committee would soon hold a meeting to discuss the issue.

Mr Qasim said all the doors for a dialogue between Sial Sharif and the Punjab government had been closed and the shrine would announce its future strategy in Feb 5 public meeting to be held at Jhang. Mr Shamsur Rehman Mashhadi said it was agreed while constituting the committee that it would meet Law Minister Rana Sanaullah at a third place under his (Mashhadi’s) chairmanship.

However, he said, the government included three more members — Hamza Shahbaz, Zaeem Qadri and Malik Ahmed Khan — into the committee without consulting Pir Sialvi and held a meeting at the CM House without the body’s head and some of it’s original members.

He said it appeared that the Punjab government was not willing to present the law minister before the committee despite making a commitment thrice in this regard. He warned that such tactics would prove fatal for the government.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2018

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