LAHORE – Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif has categorically rejected the ‘rumors’ that two members of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) would be part of the Nisab (curriculum) Committee as part of a deal with the federal government.
In a tweet on Wednesday, the CM clarified that “education is a provincial subject”, and “no such action (of including the TLYR members) in the committee) has been taken by the Punjab Government”.
In reference to rumors circulating in social media, that 2 Tehreek-i-Labaik reps have been included in the textbook panels, we would like to clarify that education is a provincial subject, and no such action has been taken by the @GovtOfPunjab @BariFaisal @AmmarRashidT
— Chief Minister’s SMU (@SMUReforms) November 28, 2017
Sharif’s statement follows multiple reports in the media, suggesting that two representatives of the religio-political party, which recently wrapped up its Islamabad sit-in after an Army-brokered deal, would join the Nisab Committee – a government body responsible for setting curriculum in the province.
Although the rumours are outrightly rejected, media reports suggest the move has been acknowledged by Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah and Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal (who was among the signatories of the Islamabad deal).
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, TLYR leader Pir Afzal Qadri said that the government had provided assurances during negotiations that two members of TLYR would be part of the Nisab Committee.
“They (the government) said that our representatives, as well as two members of TLYR, will be part of the Nisab Committee,” he told a private TV channel. “I don’t think the government will back out of their commitment since they know now that we can go to Jati Umra as well,” he added.
Afzal Qadri said that a notification from the government confirming the appointment of the members to the Nisab Committee would be issued tomorrow (Thursday).
Besides Qadri, TLYR chief Khadim Hussain Rizvi claims that the government had agreed to much more than what was made public through a document after the Faizabad fiasco.
In a media talk on Tuesday, Rizvi maintained that it had also been agreed that the government would take his party’s input to include more religious content in school and college curricula.
The Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah, a lesser known party of religious workers (mostly from Brelvi sect) which gained momentum after the execution of Mumtaz Qadri – the killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer – and rose to political sphere by contesting by-elections in Lahore’s NA-120 and Peshawar NA-04, had called off its weeks-long protest sit-in on Monday morning after striking a deal with the federal government.
“On the assurance of the chief of the army staff, we are calling off the sit-in,” Khadim Hussain Rizvi told a crowd of around 2,500 supporters who had occupied the Faizabad Interchange since November 6.
Rizvi’s announcement came two days after a government operation to break up the dharna went awry, sparking off violent protests across the country.
At least six, including a police official, died while over 200 people injured across the country in the clashes between security forces and the protesters.
COAS Qamar Javed Bajwa asked Prime Minister Abbasi to tackle the situation peacefully; the protesters in Sialkot attacked the residence of Law Minister; some protesters attacked and injured PML-N’s MNA Javed Latif in Sheikhpura; TV channels went off-air; and the social media sites were down.
Federal Law Minister Zahid Hamid, who the protesters blamed for a hastily-abandoned change in the ‘Khatam-e-Nabuwwat’ clause in the Elections Reforms Bill 2017, had to step down in the wake of Sunday’s deal.
The report of an inquiry committee, led by PML-N’s Senator Raja Zafarul Haq, is yet to be made public.