Punjab legislators distance themselves from Pak minister’s anti-Hindu remarks

Punjab cabinet ministers staged a walkout from the Punjab Assembly over derogatory remarks on Hindus made by Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, who was sacked on Tuesday as the province’s Information and Culture Minister.

Condemning Chohan’s remarks, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khalil Tahir Sandhu said that the disgraced former minister insulted Pakistani Hindus at a time when the country was facing threats of war while some ministers were dividing the nation, The Dawn reported.

Punjab Prosecution Minister Chaudhry Zaheer, who is a part of Imran Khan-led ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), said he was proud of the patriotism of Pakistani Hindus, Christians and Sikhs.

Furthermore, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Makhdoom Usman asserted that the government should educate its ministers, adding that the comments made by Chohan would tarnish Pakistan’s international image, according to The Dawn.

Following this, the legislators staged a walkout from the Punjab Assembly as a mark of protest against the anti-Hindu comments made by Chohan. However, they were brought back to the House.

Chohan had made derogatory remarks against Hindus during a rally last month and after a video of his comments went viral, there was a huge outcry in the country, demanding his immediate sacking.

Although Chouhan later apologised for his comments, he was summoned by Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, where he was asked to turn in his resignation papers, Geo News reported quoting sources.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan approved Syed Samsam Ali Shah as Chohan’s replacement as the province’s Information and Culture Minister. Khan had previously denounced Chohan’s statement.

The remarks by Chohan came amid escalating tensions between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir that claimed lives of 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel.

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.

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