LAHORE: Pir Hameeduddin Sialvi of Astana-e-Aalia Sial Sharif has parted ways with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) after giving the Punjab government three successive deadlines to clarify its stance regarding some reported remarks of Law Minister Rana Sanaullah.
The spiritual leader claims since late last month to have written resignations of over a dozen members of the provincial and national assemblies for submission to the speakers of the houses on his orders.
While some of those lawmakers had confirmed the claim, the announcement by Sialvi on Wednesday appears to have left them in a state of confusion. According to sources, the Astana-e-Aalia will ask them as well as other devotees to take a final decision.
A video message from Sial Sharif said Punjab government had missed its deadline for Rana Sana’s resignation over his comments about Ahmadis.
The Astana-e-Aalia announced it would not support PML-N in the elections due next year and its followers would resign from the government. An announcement about the resignations would be made at Faisalabad’s Dhobi Ghat, it said, adding that the number of resignations was increasing.
The first deadline given by Sialvi for Sanaullah’s resignation, of December 1, was delayed on the request of provincial Minister Zaeem Qadri who managed to soften his stance. The next deadline was December 3 with a slightly moderate demand for the law minister to visit Sial Sharif to offer a clarification along with his resignation.
Sanaullah suggested that anyone who wanted his resignation should approach PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif. After this statement, Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif assured Sialvi by phone of addressing his complaint and the deadline was again extended for two days.
However, according to MPA Sahibzada Ghulam Nizamuddin Sialvi, the government did not pay heed to the demand.
He said he was called by Hameeduddin Sialvi and informed about the decision. He said he tried his best to ease the situation by conveying the message to the CM and his son Hamza Shehbaz. When no interest was shown in addressing the concerns, he finally backed down from trying to defuse the situation, the MPA added.
He said the primary demand of his group now was Sanaullah’s resignation and the doors for clarifying his stance would only open after this.
Nizamuddin said that Astana-e-Aalia Sial Sharif had the backing of 36 other spiritual institutions across the country, including Golra Sharif, Taunsa Sharif, Pakpattan, Mohra Sharif and Sultan Bahu.
He said a Tahaffuz Hurmat-e-Rasool conference would be held in Faisalabad on December 10, where some of the resignations would be announced. More gatherings would be organised in various parts of the province to press the government to accept the demand.
He said he had a 10-year affiliation with PML-N and it was not easy to part ways with the party, but when it was a question of religion, it was not a matter of choice. He said the parliamentarians deciding to go with the government would lose the support of Astana-e-Aalia Sial Sharif.
He said he and Pir Sialvi’s son would meet legislators at Sial Sharif on Thursday to reconfirm their support.
Rana Sanaullah is already under fire with several opposition parties demanding his resignation in view of the Justice Baqar Najafi report on the 2014 Model Town violence.
No Punjab government official was available for comments.