LAHORE: While expressing his displeasure over the recent diatribe by Captain Muhammad Safdar in the National Assembly (NA) in which he launched a verbal attack on the Ahmedi community, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday reiterated that “Pakistan respects all minorities” and that “it is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly”.
While most of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League’s (PML-N) leaders have chosen to stay quiet on this, Ahsan Iqbal took to Twitter to express his opinion on the matter.
He remarked that it is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly and that Pakistan respects all minorities.
It is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly. We believe in inclusive Pakistan. Pakistan respects all minorities.
— Ahsan Iqbal (@betterpakistan) October 11, 2017
On Tuesday, Capt Safdar during a National Assembly session, attacked the minority Ahmedi community, terming the members of the Ahmedi faith group a “threat to the country’s sovereignty” and demanded a complete ban on their recruitment in the Pakistan Army, judiciary and other services.
Safdar referred to Dr Salam as “a controversial figure that has been termed an infidel in light of the Constitution”, while demanding for the Nobel Laureate’s name to be delinked from Quaid-i-Azam University’s physics department.
Students and alumni of the QAU in a post on Facebook termed Safdar’s demand “obtuse” and “brainless” and added that they cherish the Nobel laureate’s achievements and are honoured to host the centre at the QAU.
QAU Vice-Chancellor Dr Javed Ashraf said that the renaming of the centre had been approved by Nawaz Sharif in December 2016.
“I feel every Pakistani should honour top intellectuals — regardless of their caste, colour and creed,” Dr Ashraf said. “Every Pakistani should be equally honoured for their achievements.”
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer and activist Asma Jahangir demanded Nawaz Sharif take notice of Capt Safdar’s tirade against Pakistan’s persecuted Ahmadiyya community and urged all the political parties to condemn the speech.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in a tweet on Wednesday, condemned the speech.
“The bigotry, hatred and extremism on display in the National Assembly yesterday goes to show that the Nawaz league has been mainstreaming terror well before Milli Muslim League. No place for this mindset in our society,” Bilawal tweeted.
The general public also reacted strongly to the speech through various social media platforms and called for Safdar’s arrest.