‘You Called Jinnah Kafir-e-Azam’: Asif Lashes Out At Religious Groups Opposing Hindu Temple
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) stalwart Khawaja Asif has said that the constitution of Pakistan provides equal rights to all citizens irrespective of their caste, creed, and religion, as he criticised a group of lawmakers for opposing the construction of a temple in Islamabad.
Speaking in the National Assembly regarding the controversy surrounding the temple, the Sialkot lawmaker said the people who were against the temple belong to a group that had labelled Muhammad Ali Jinnah– the founder of Pakistan– as ‘kafir-e-Azam’.
No religion was superior to the other in the light of the constitution, he said, adding that as representatives of people, it was incumbent upon lawmakers to promote harmony and tolerance in the society.
The speech by Asif prompted an outrage, as extremist circles demanded the government to register a case against Asif for alleged ‘blasphemy’.
This prompted PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif to issue a statement, wherein he said that the remarks made by Asif were within the provisions of constitution and Islam.
Islam, our great religion, is categorical about rights & freedoms of all communities living in Islamic state. Equality is fundamental principle enshrined in Constitution of Pakistan. What Khawaja Asif said in NA was in the context of Islamic teachings & constitutional provisions!
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) July 11, 2020
Khawaja Asif also issued a clarification afterward. He said the people from the minority communities also voted for him and it was the responsibility of the majority to fight for the rights of the smaller communities.
خواجہ آصف نے اسمبلی میں اقلیتیوں کے حقوق کی بات کس تناظر میں کی؟
آئین پاکستان کی نظرمیں ہرشہری برابرکا حق رکھتا ہے، اس کا رنگ، نسل، ذات، اورمذہب اس کے بنیادی حقوق کاتعین نہیں کرتے
بطورپاکستانی اس برابری حاصل ہے
— من موجی | عبداللہ پنجابی 🇵🇰 (@_AbdullahNaeem) July 11, 2020
Meanwhile, #WeStandWtihKhawajaAsif became one of the top trends on Twitter later in the day.
A Twitter user said there was nothing wrong with the speech made by Asif.
Islam teaches us to respect every religion. This is what @KhawajaMAsif said in NA. This fake propaganda against him in the religion must stop. No one can point fingers at anyone’s religion. Khawaja Asif is as much Muslim as we are. #WeStandWithKhawajaAsif https://t.co/wzZRDnMkGa
— Hamza Rizwan (@HamzaaRizwan11) July 11, 2020
Another said that in Pakistan religion is used as a tool to malign opponents.
We live in a society where religious extremism has become a venomous malice against the people opposing you.
Khawaja Asif has always been an upright politician who has endured hardships for a democratic state, more power to him in this ongoing controversy.#WeStandWithKhawajaAsif
— صحرا کا پیاسا (@desert950) July 11, 2020