ISLAMABAD: The inquiry committee formed by Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) president Nawaz Sharif to find those responsible for the introduction of a controversial amendment to the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat declaration for electoral candidates completed its job and finalised its report.

The head of the three-member committee, Raja Zafarul Haq, when contacted, refused to disclose the contents of the report, saying that it had been dispatched to Mr Sharif.

The former prime minister is in London looking after his ailing wife there.

When asked if the report also contained “recommendations” with the findings, Mr Haq said, “You can say so”.

He said the committee was satisfied with its work.

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Minister for Climate Change Mush­ahidullah Khan were the other two members of the committee that had been constituted by Mr Sharif on Oct 7, with a directive to complete its work within 24 working hours.

Sources in the PML-N told Dawn that in the absence of Mr Iqbal, who is on an official visit to the US, the two members of the committee completed the job due to the urgency and sensitivity of the matter. They said the committee on Thursday interviewed Law Minister Zahid Hamid and Adviser to the PM on Law Barrister Zafarullah Khan before finalising the report.

The change in the language of the candidates’ declaration form through a controversial amendment to the Elections Act, 2017, had provoked religious parties which had threatened to launch agitation against the government’s move which, they alleged, had intentionally been made to fulfil the western agenda.

Fearing a possible backlash which had the potential to cause a widespread political unrest in the country, the government immediately agreed to reconsider its initial stance on the matter and restore the original text of the declaration.

The National Assembly and the Senate had already unanimously adopted the amendments to the Elections Act, 2017, and restored the Khatm-i-Nabuwwat declaration for candidates as well as the two clauses on the status of Ahmadis in their original form in an effort to end the controversy.

Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2017

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