Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Monday said that those who were spreading hate in the name of religion have nothing to do with it.
Speaking about the recent country-wide protests following a Supreme Court verdict acquitting Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who had been sentenced to death on blasphemy charges, the information minister while addressing the media in Lahore said, “The protesters were damaging property in the name of Islam, but had no moral standing.”
“Those who were spreading hate in the name of religion have nothing to do with it,” he added.
He further said, “The protesters did not leave a child fruit vendor nor a poor rickshaw driver. Women were disrespected and vehicles were set on fire. They stole bananas from a child and you can judge their moral standing from that.”
Regarding the agreement between the government and the protesters which led to an end to the sit-ins across the country, Chaudhry said, “There were two ways to deal with the protesters.”
“If we sent forces then it would have been said that the government transgressed. We had to make the situation across the country return to normal and should be credited for resolving the issue wisely,” the information minister further said.
“We want to resolve issues and will have to end sit-ins as it is not acceptable that two to three thousand people shutdown a city,” he added.
Further, Chaudhry said, “Prime Minster Imran Khan truly loves Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) and has never even worn shoes while landing in Medina. He does not need a certificate from anyone.”
Stating that “the state of Medina is our model”, the information minister said, “We will give all citizens, including minorities, their rights.”
The government has directed all provinces to submit data regarding damage to property during the protests and provide details of the rioters by tonight.
Chaudhry also thanked the opposition for their support when the protests were being staged. He also assured that those whose property was damaged by the protesters will be compensated.
Speaking about social media, the information minister said, “Facebook cooperated with us but we are facing issues with Twitter. We do not want to ban social media but they should cooperate on matters of religious hate.”
‘Some Pakistani politicians should be sent to space’
Speaking about Pakistan’s space mission, the information minister said, “There are some politicians who are creating chaos on ground and should be sent to space.”
“I will ask SUPARCO to ensure that once these politicians go to space, they cannot return,” he added.
‘Opposition should not expect us to back-off from cases’
Further, Chaudhry said, “We do not have any big fight with opposition parties.”
“Our only point of contention is that the opposition wants NRO and we cannot give that.”
He continued, “The opposition wants that corruption cases against them should not be taken forward and the All Parties Conference (APC) is also taking place for this reason. But this is Pakistan’s money and has to be returned.”
“Nobody should expect us to stop or back-off from the cases,” Chaudhry asserted.
“In the past, accountability was used for politics. However, the current government is not using accountability as a political means on any level,” he added.
“PM Imran is a leader who needs no favours. He will not even take one rupee and neither will his children,” the information minister said.
‘PM’s China visit a success’
Commenting on PM Imran’s trip to China, the information minister said, “China has always stood by Pakistan.”
“The premier’s trip was given a lot of importance and just like his Saudi Arabia visit, this trip was also successful,” he added.
“We praise China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) at home and even did in China,” he added.
“Pakistan and China will start trading in yuan now, instead of dollars,” he said while adding that “the trade between Pakistan and China has been valued at $15 billion.”
Further, Chaudhry said, “Relations are between countries not leaders and Pakistan has great relations with China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.”
“Prime Minister Imran Khan is playing a historic role in the Middle East crisis,” he added.
“The country should be proud that they got a great leader in the form of PM Imran,” the information minister said. “After several years, Pakistan has got a leader in which the Islamic countries have confidence in.”
“The Islamic countries are turning towards PM Imran to resolve their issues,” he added.
“Talks on Yemen have moved forward and we have included stakeholders. A strong plan of action will come forward on the matter and resolving the Muslim Ummah’s conflicts is a key part of our foreign policy,” the information minister said.