ISLAMABAD - Panicked with the huddle of religious forces against the Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act 2016 ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) is working on a multi-pronged strategy to deal with this onslaught of the religious elements which has potential of becoming a potent threat to the incumbent political dispensation.

Sources in the ruling PML-N and those aware of the developments taking place on this front informed that some of the those who had challenged this controversial piece of legislation in the superior courts have the blessings of the rulers as they wanted to weaken the mounting pressure on the government because soaring tempers against the Act would drop down if not completely diminish.

A credible source in the ruling PML-N said that the telephonic contact of Chief Minister Punjab Mohammad Shahbaz Sharif with JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman, who is also the coalition partner with PML-N in Federal Government, depicted the seriousness on part of the ruling party.

He further said that the Chief Minister has also contacted Jamiat-i-Ahle Hadis Amir Senator Sajid Mir to placate things in the upcoming meeting of the religious parties huddle at Mansoora on tomorrow.

In the meantime Chief Minister Punjab has also constituted a consultative committee under the head of Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to meet the heads of religious parties so that their reservations and objections on the women protection act could be removed through amendment, the offer already rejected by JUI-F chief Moulana Fazlur Rehman who is spearheading the move against it.

Parliamentary sources said that actually ruling PML-N leadership was panicked by the religious parties move to revive Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal or formation of a new conglomeration of religious parties under some new nomenclature.

These sources said that JUI-F chief wanted the revival of MMA, the religio-political alliance which had made big successes in the 2002 General Elections.

These sources further said that actually the decision of forming an alliance of religious parties was made at the meeting under the head of JUI-F chief in Islamabad in the beginning of this month and now its formal announcement would most likely be made at Mansoora moot.

The sources in the government said that PML-N actually wanted to stall this move and that was the reason using its clout within the religious parties to create divide between them and at the same time showing a lot of flexibility on the women protection act to pacify the growing anger against this what religious elements said the law in conflict with Islamic injunctions.

It was with the same spirit that the Ulema aligned with the ruling party were out to defend the law with the aim to dispel the impression of its being repugnant to Islam and Sunnah.

The sources said that these Ulema were also coming up with the proposition that Punjab government was ready to listen to the concerns of Ulema opposing it so weakening the position of those trying to take a tough position against the government on this count.

Pakistan Ulema Council (PUC) Chairperson Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Ashrafi, defending the law said that those elements that used to call for banning girls’ education had no connection to Islam.

“These people are speaking in ignorance, but the women protection bill will assist in ending violence against women,” Ashrafi said adding, “There is no point in the criticism by some scholars that this bill will distort the family system of the country”.