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LAHORE: The backlash from religious elements to the ruling PML-N on the issue of Khatm-i-Nubuwat has apparently compelled ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to postpone his public rallies scheduled next week in Balochistan and Punjab.

Mr Sharif was due to attend a public rally in Balochistan organised by Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party chairman Mahmood Khan Achakzai this coming Saturday. “Mian sahib may not go to attend the public meeting in Quetta because of a security situation after recent terror attacks there. As far as his public meetings in Punjab are concerned, Mr Sharif is in no hurry like Imran Khan,” Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah told Dawn on Monday.

Mr Sharif had started the second-phase of his public-contact campaign from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa this month and planned to hold a series of public meetings in Quetta, Multan, Faisalabad and Sheikhupura from next month.

Similarly, Maryam Nawaz has also put off her planned visits to NA-120 from where she intends to contest in the next election. “Tempers are high. Mr Sharif and Maryam cannot take chances at the moment to go in public, especially in Punjab,” a PML-N leader said and added that the party leaders were furious over the Abbasi government for making their lives vulnerable over the sensitive issue of Khatm-i-Nubuwat by not timely resolving it.

Former premier, Maryam to appear before accountability court in Islamabad today

The party insiders say that both father and daughter will avoid public appearance till the situation returns to normality, but Rana Sanaullah insists that no such situation prevails in Punjab that prevents them from public interaction. “The crisis is over. Mian sahib is going to London this week and he will plan public meetings in Punjab on his return. Maryam Bibi will also visit NA-120 soon,” he said.

When asked how much the Khatm-i-Nubuwat issue has hurt the PML-N politically, Mr Sanaullah said: “I do not think it hurt us politically. The people know what is going on.” He also accused an opposition party of becoming part of the protesters during attacks on his and some other PML-N leaders’ residences.

In reply to a question about unrest among the PML-N legislators over the situation arising out of the government’s mishandling of the sit-in issue and their consideration of quitting the party, the law minister said: “Reports about submitting resignations of a few legislators to local chapters of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah are not correct as they are still with the party.”

Rana Arshad, adviser to the Punjab chief minister, told Dawn that the PML-N leadership would review Mr Sharif’s scheduled mass-public contact in the current situation. He, however, declared that all members of the 34-member committee that had opposition nominees was responsible for changing the clause related to Khatm-i-Nubuwat.

Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif spent a second consecutive day on Monday at his Jati Umra residence without holding any meeting with his key party members.

He and his daughter will leave for Islamabad on Tuesday (today) to appear before the accountability court in corruption references.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) this month had written to the Punjab Revenue Department seeking complete details of the Sharif family’s properties.

NAB has received a reply from the revenue department about the property details of the Sharif family members.

According to a source in the revenue department, Nawaz Sharif owns over 1,600 kanals, his wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, has over 1,100 kanals and his mother has 635 kanals (in addition to her Jati Umra Raiwind house) in Lahore. “His sons — Hassan and Hussain — do not have any property in the province. However, the property status of Maryam has yet to be clear,” the source said.

NAB has already begun the process of declaring Hassan and Hussain proclaimed offenders (POs) and it has started issuing newspaper advertisements in this regard.

On Oct 9, the accountability court in Islamabad ordered NAB to initiate the process of declaring the former premier’s sons POs, as they had consistently skipped the court’s proceedings in three graft references pertaining to their Park Lane flats and the establishment of offshore companies.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2017