Pakistan’s ruling party on Tuesday said the Punjab provincial government had removed Fayyazul Hassan Chohan from his ministerial post after he made derogatory remarks against the Hindu community. Chohan was the information and culture minister of the province.
“Bashing someone’s faith should not be a part of any narrative,” the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, which is also in power in Punjab province, tweeted. “Tolerance is the first and foremost pillar on which Pakistan was built.”
However, less than two hours later, the party said that Chohan had resigned, in a sarcastic response to a tweet by Indian journalist Rahul Kanwal about press freedom in India. A spokesman for Punjab’s chief minister said Chohan’s resignation was immediately accepted.
Earlier in the day, Chohan had apologised for his remarks.
On February 24, Chohan had called Indians “cow-urine drinking people” and “idol-worshippers”, The Express Tribune reported. According to Dawn, he had made the remarks at an event in Lahore while commenting on the Pulwama terror attack, which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel. The video went viral on social media in Pakistan on Monday.
Naeemul Haque, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on political affairs, had tweeted early on Tuesday that strict action needs to be taken against Chohan. “The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government will not tolerate this nonsense from a senior member of the government or from anyone,” he said. Haque added that he would consult Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar before taking action.
Mohammad Faisal, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said in a tweet that Pakistan “proudly owns the white in the flag as much as the green, values contributions of the Hindu community & honours them as our own”.
Shahbaz Gill, the Punjab province chief minister’s spokesperson, that Chohan tendered his resignation after meeting Buzdar in the afternoon.