Though five PML-N lawmakers announced their resignation on Sunday, still critics say it won’t affect party much as there were speculations of at least two dozen resignations. Two MNA’s and three MPA’s announced their resignations from public office during a Khatm-i-Nabuwwat conference organised by Pir Sialvi in Faisalabad. They stepped down from their positions in the assemblies due to government’s inaction against Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah. They have resigned on the instructions of Pir Sialvi, who is demanding resignation of Rana Sanaullah for his alleged statement on Ahmadi community.
If we look at the four year tenure of incumbent government, it kept surrounded by controversies. Some of them were imposed and some self created. Allegations of electoral fraud and four-month long sit-in of PTI and PAT, then self shooting itself in the foot with Model Town incident and recently made public Baqir Najafi inquiry report that holds government responsible for the massacre. Emergence of Panama Leaks that lead to oust party head and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, then came the controversy over the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat clause in the 2017 Elections Reform Bill. Federal minister had to resign in order to end violent 21-day long protest of religious cleric in Islamabad.
Now Punjab Law Minister is in hot waters as in a television talk show he gave a statement about the Ahmadi community. Though in the past Sanaullah remained involved in controversies of allegedly supporting sectarian elements, but his recent statement about Ahmadi community is being twisted to stir a controversy. He had said that the Ahmadi community did not get the freedom which the other minorities in the country had, due to certain constitutional bars. This statement was enough for some people having religious influence to come after him, asking for his resignation. Despite extreme pressure, Sannaullah rightly maintained that he did not say anything objectionable and would not resign, as a result five lawmakers of PML-N resigned.
Notwithstanding some reservations over past controversies of Rana Sannaullah, he should be backed on this particular episode. Forcing elected representatives to resign should not be encouraged. The Minister maintains that his comments were twisted by some political rivals and others through social media as if he did not consider the community as non-Muslim. It seems that certain elements are using the statement of Rana Sanaullah to heap further pressure on the already corned ruling party. If the government succumbs to this pressure it will be another blow to the writ of the state.