Islamabad: Punjab Information and Culture Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan became a target of intense criticisms by the senior member of his party (the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) following his castigating remarks on the Hindu community.
Samaa news agency quoted the Information Minister during a press conference last month where he referred to the Hindus as “cow urine-drinking people” and said, “We are Muslims and we have a flag, the flag of Maula Ali’s (AS) bravery, the flag of Hazrat Umar’s valor (AS). You don’t have that flag, it isn’t in your hands.”
“What this flag has to do with anything is beside the point,” the Minister added.
“Don’t operate under the delusion that you’re seven times better than us. What we have, you can’t have, you idol-worshippers,” Chohan said in a video that went viral on the social media.
The remarks by Chohan came amid reports of escalating tension between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans.
In response to the attack on the minorities, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari condemned Chohan’s statement saying, “No one has the right to attack anyone else’s religion. Our Hindu citizens have given sacrifices for their country. Our Prime Minister’s message is always of tolerance and respect and we cannot condone any form of bigotry or spread of religious hatred.”
Reiterating the same, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Assistant on Political Affairs Naeemul Haque in his tweet said, “The derogatory and insulting remarks against the Hindu community by Fayyaz Chohan the Punjab Info Minister demand strict action. PTI govt will not tolerate this nonsense from a senior member of the government or from anyone. Action will be taken after consulting the Chief Minister.”
Finance Minister Asad Umar also remembered that the flag of Pakistan is not just green and it is not complete without the white which represents the minorities.
“Hindus of Pakistan are as much a part of the fabric of the nation as I am. Remember Quaide Azam’s whole struggle was for a country free of discrimination,” Umar said.
Columnist Mehr Tarar further took to Twitter demanding an “unconditional apology” from Chohan followed by his resignation.
According to reports, at least 1.6 per cent of Pakistan’s population is Hindu and Hinduism is the second largest religion followed in the country. The PTI government itself has at least seven Hindu members of the National Assembly and four minority members in the Punjab Assembly.