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FEDERAL Law Minister Zahid Hamid
FEDERAL Law Minister Zahid Hamid

LAHORE: As the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) hinted that two federal ministers may resign by Monday (today) as part of its efforts to end the ongoing crisis, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif held an important meeting with Law Minister Zahid Hamid on Sunday and discussed the matter with him.

“Shahbaz Sharif is playing an active role in ending the ongoing crisis and it is likely that a couple of federal ministers may resign by Monday if corrective measures are adopted,” Punjab government spokesman Malik Muhammad Ahmad told Dawn after the Shahbaz-Zahid meeting.

PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif, who spent Sunday with his family members, was kept abreast of the sit-in and protest situation in Islamabad and other parts of the country, as well as Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s meeting with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In reply to a question whether Mr Shahbaz took Mr Hamid into confidence about the party’s decision on his removal, Mr Ahmad said: “Corrective measures should have been taken a bit earlier.” He did not name the other minister likely to quit.

Shahbaz Sharif discusses the crisis with federal law minister

The spokesman said that all were on the same page with regard to the issue of Khatm-i-Nubuwat and that the report of Raja Zafarul Haq-led committee should be made public.

On Saturday, ousted PM Nawaz Sharif discussed Mr Hamid’s removal during a meeting with Mr Abbasi and Mr Shahbaz at his Jati Umra residence in Raiwind.

However, Raja Zafarul Haq said that the ‘sacrifice’ of a couple of federal ministers might not appease the protesters.

“The protesters may come up with new demands after the resignation of a couple of ministers,” Mr Haq told a news channel.

Shahbaz Sharif had assailed high-ranking government functionaries and called for the ouster of at least ‘one minister’ from the federal cabinet after the controversy over the finality of the Prophethood (peace be upon him) in the nomination papers emerged about two months ago.

CM Shahbaz had publicly asked his elder brother to remove the federal minister who was responsible for making changes in a sensitive clause of the election laws which dealt with Khatm-i-Nubuwat. But Nawaz Sharif had not paid heed to his brother’s advice and constituted a committee headed by Senator Raja Zafarul Haq to probe the matter and fix responsibility.

A couple of PML-N MPAs Dawn spoke to about the government’s failure to end the protest by the Tahreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah said they were disappointed about the poor handling of it by the Abbasi government.

“Mian Sahib should have acted on the advice of his younger brother about two months ago to settle the matter once and for all,” a legislator said, adding that the party lawmakers were concerned over the attacks on the houses of their colleagues.

Another MPA said the federal government should act swiftly because the matter was damaging the party.

On the other hand, Shah­baz Sharif said: “Current circumstances demand unity and harmony. We should ignore mutual differences and spread the message of unity and harmony for the bright future of the country.”

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2017