Ahsan Iqbal
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Interior Minister, Ahsan Iqbal has expressed his indignation at the hate speech delivered by PML-N’s lawmaker, Captain Safdar in the National Assembly on Tuesday. Iqbal, who is currently on a visit to the US, took to Twitter on Thursday to convey his displeasure. “It is tragic to see hate speech against minorities in National Assembly. We believe in [an] inclusive Pakistan,” he tweeted adding that “Pakistan respects all minorities.”

Captain Safdar on Tuesday while launching a virulent tirade on the Ahmadi community had called it a threat to the country. He forcefully demanded the removal of the country’s first Nobel laureate, Dr. Abdus Salam from the Quaid-e-Azam University’s physics center because of him belonging to the Ahmadi community. He went a step further and vowed to bring forth a resolution banning the induction of Ahmadis in the armed forces.

Pundits believe that it comes at a wrong time for the party since it is trying to establish itself as a progressive party especially in the eyes of the international establishment

Safdar’s fellow lawmakers, most of them from his own party, neither stopped him from spewing venom nor have condemned it till today. Analysts believe that the quietness of the PML-N on the matter could imply its tacit approval for political gains.

Read more: Watch Captain Safdar’s shameful comments on Ahmadi community

Watchers of the PML-N’s modus operandi understand that the party has historically relied on radical elements to garner support and in a bid to sell its image as a “liberal” party to the international audience especially that in the US, the party fears that it can lose its conservative vote bank. Thus, commentators argue that if the PML-N stays quiet over this then it could reasonably be considered as an effort to appease the voters.

The silence of the Sharif family and the PML-N on the issue is in stark contrast to what happens in other cases when the entire government comes out in full support of the family

However, Ahsan Iqbal who is widely respected as a decent and well-articulated lawmaker and a minister is the only one to regret Safdar’s behavior. Here it is noteworthy to mention that a few days before Safdar’s barrage on the Ahmadis, Iqbal had warned against issuing edicts of apostasy, terming it as the sole prerogative of God.

The silence of the Sharif family and the PML-N on the issue is in stark contrast to what happens in other cases when the entire government comes out in full support of the family. Pundits believe that it comes at a wrong time for the party since it is trying to establish itself as a progressive party especially in the eyes of the international establishment.

Read more: Has Captain Safdar shown the real face of PML-N?

Safdar’s fellow lawmakers, most of them from his own party, neither stopped him from spewing venom nor have condemned it till today. Analysts believe that the quietness of the PML-N on the matter could imply its tacit approval for political gains

The continued silence of the party’s top brass will put PML-N in a tight spot and according to experts, the party has a lot of explanation to do. A vociferous supporter of the PML-N and human rights activist, Asma Jehangir criticized the statement. “Such words are spoken by those who we consider to be extremists; such remarks being made by a member of the NA is shocking. I believe Capt Safdar tried to incite [hatred]. While speaking in the NA, one must maintain respect,” said Ms. Jehangir.

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Experts who follow the developments of the party closely are not confident that the party will condemn, let alone take action against Captain Safdar.