LAHORE: Information minister of Pakistan's Punjab province Fayyazul Hassan Chohan, who had come under severe criticism from senior members of his party over his anti-Hindu remark, has been sacked.
The chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province Usman Buzdar on Tuesday fired Chohan, a lawmaker of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, over his anti-Hindu remarks that invited intense criticism from senior party leaders and the minority community.
Samaa news agency had quoted the minister during a press conference last month where he referred to the Hindus as "cow urine-drinking people" and said, “We are Muslims and we have a flag, the flag of Maula Ali’s (AS) bravery, the flag of Hazrat Umar’s valor (AS). You don’t have that flag, it isn’t in your hands."
Prime Minister Imran Khan took serious notice of Chohan's 'anti-Hindu' remarks and directed Punjab chief minister to remove him forthwith, party sources said.
"PTI Punjab government has removed Fayyaz Chohan from the post of Punjab information minister following derogatory remarks about the Hindu community," official Twitter account of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tweeted.
It further said: "Bashing someone's faith should not be a part of any narrative. Tolerance is the first & foremost pillar on which #Pakistan was built."
The chief minister had "forgiven" Chohan after he publicly apologised for his remarks, but the prime minister directed Buzdar to immediately remove him from the ministry, a senior government official said.
Chohan had come under severe criticism from senior members of his party, ministers and social media users with #SackFayazChohan trending on Twitter for his controversial remarks while addressing a gathering on February 24 in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
Earlier in the day, Chohan apologised for his remarks following intense criticism. "I was addressing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Indian armed forces and their media not the Hindu community in Pakistan," he said. "I apologise if my remarks hurt the Hindu community in Pakistan," Chohan said. "My remarks were in no way directed at Pakistan's Hindu community.
"The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government "will not tolerate this nonsense", party leader Naeemul Haque, who is special assistant to Prime Minister on Political Affairs, said Monday night in response to Chohan's remarks. Remember the flag of Pakistan is not just green. It's incomplete without the white which represents the minorities, Haque said.
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal also took to Twitter and said, "Pakistan proudly owns the white in the flag as much as the green, values contributions of the Hindu community and honours them as our own."
(With inputs from PTI)