Home News Analysis #RemoveShehlaRaza: Twitterati slams PPP leader for airing sectarianism on National TV

#RemoveShehlaRaza: Twitterati slams PPP leader for airing sectarianism on National TV

Shehla Raza

News Analysis |

Shehla Raza, provincial Minister for Women Development Shehla Raza and senior leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), passed controversial remarks about the companion of Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H on Thursday.

After social media bashed her for her uncalled for comments which hurt religious sentiments of a larger segment of the society, Ms. Shehla took to Twitter and issued a clarification. “Yesterday in a TV show I was merely referring to PM Imran Khan’s statement and while doing so continued in the same row! Never intended to hurt anyone’s feelings and I sincerely believe in the respect of all dignified personalities and Companions of Prophet PBUH. Watch Zem t.v,” she said.

However, Twitterati slammed PPP’s leader and demanded her immediate removal. Prominent Journalist Mona Alam said “Insensitive remarks of #PPP Shehla Raza against a companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are highly irresponsible and condemnable. The same PPP was condemning Faisal Vawda for his loose remark about Allah Almighty. Will they protest against their own? #RemoveShehlaRaza

People maintained that the PPP leader has attempted to promote hate speech therefore she must be banned from appearing on national TV. Adeel Raja, prominent producer, tweeted, “Shehla Raza is known to promote hate speech and sectarianism. She should be banned on tv and Geo should have edited it out!”

People also reminded the PPP leadership of Fayyazul Hassan’s removal by the PTI government.  “Fiaz ul Hassan Chohan Removed by disrespecting Hindus……. Any action Against Shehla Raza??? Who Disrespects Sahabi Rasol Hazrat #Ameer_Maavia RA. All Muslim Hurt by her Words Hindus are Human and Hurt and Muslim not? Remove this dual standard #RemoveShehlaRaza

Punjab Minister for Information and Culture Fayyazul Hassan Chohan was sacked by Chief Minister Usman Buzdar a day after he made derogatory remarks against Hindu community in a gathering. At the time Pakistani journalists, civil society and public intellectuals took to Twitter and demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan, chief of the ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, to sack him for his behavior unbecoming of a minister. Citizens on Twitter maintained that Pakistan is for all and nobody has the right to hurt the feelings of any community.

Read more: Four arrested in Govt.’s crackdown: What is hate speech?

The decision to remove Chohan was also announced in a tweet by the ruling party on its official handle. “PTI Punjab government has removed Fayyaz Chohan from the post of Punjab Information Minister following derogatory remarks about the Hindu community. Bashing someone’s faith should not b a part of any narrative. Tolerance is the first & foremost pillar on which #Pakistan was built,” it tweeted.

Reham Khan, ex. wife of PM Khan, also demanded Shehla Raza to apologize for hurting the feelings of Sunni Muslims.  “On the #ShehlaRaza issue I would say that her remarks hurt religious feelings of Sunni Muslims & she must apologise. However her lack of knowledge or even crass insensitivity should not mean that we lose our sensibilities. Pease don’t issue decrees and spread sectarianism.”

Earlier Shehla Raza drew ire of the social media users for tweeting her opposition to the inclusion of Dr Atif R Mian, who is an Ahmadi, in Prime Minister Imran Khan’s reconstituted Economic Advisory Council (EAC). Shehla Raza tweeted, “The creation of 5 million homes, 10 million jobs, creation of South Punjab province all in a 100 days was a lie. But this hypocrisy, the appointment of a descendant of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a close adviser was unexpected from those who declared the state of Madina as an ideal,” she added.

Read more: Social media: Pakistan’s new challenge?

After her extremist viewpoint, Journalist Nadeem Farooq Paracha asked her to join Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) and cautioned PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that “members like these are once again trying to push the party on the wrong side of history. Sindh should never stand for such bigotry.”

Bilal Farooqi, a Karachi based journalist, tweeted “Disappointing to see a PPP leader using the religion card against rivals, dragging the already persecuted #Ahmadiyya community into a controversy for political gain…”

After a few days, Syeda Shehla Raza deleted her controversial tweet and apologized after severe backlash. In the present case, it is yet to be seen whether the PPP leader decides to remove Shehla Raza or not.