The reactive politics as visible in Pakistan is indeed unique, especially when it comes to developments in India and on sensitive issues.
In reaction to the statement made by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, one found the Pakistani media and radical Islamic organisations full of strong rhetoric targeting India, the BJP and, of course, the two party members who had made statements on Islam and had come under criticism by the Muslim world.
Protest rallies were held in various cities and towns of Pakistan, PoK and GB including Islamabad, Lahore, Multan, Jhang, Karachi, Peshawar, Quetta, Muzaffarabad, Jhelum Valley, Mirpur, Kotli, Bagh, Haveli, Neelum, Hattian, Chinari, Barnala, Rawalakot, Gilgit against on June 10 against alleged blasphemy by Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal.
Protestors carried banners inscribed with slogans such as “we offer our life for the honor of the Prophet”, “Hang Nupur the blasphemer” etc. They chanted anti-India/BJP and anti-PM Modi slogans including “gustakh ki saza- sar tan se juda”.
Indian flags and Sharma’s pictures and effigies were burnt all across. Several demonstrations were organised by Islamist and political parties, trade organisations and lawyers fraternity including JeI, JUI, Sunni Ulema Council, Sunni Tehreek, Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat, Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, Muslim Conference, Markazi Seerat Committee, Jamaat Ahle Sunnat and other Sunni groups. Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani led a rally to the Indian High Commission Islamabad.
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan held a rally on June 9 at Chinari, Jhelum valley district against defamatory remarks of Sharma and Jindal. It was led by TLP, Jhelum Valley district Amir Mohammed Tasleem Kayani. TLP Mirpur leaders comprising Mufti Rashidul Qadri, Amir TLP Mirpur district, Allama Muhammed Waseem Nazim-e-Ala Mirpur and Muhammed Kashif, secretary publication and media advisor Mirpur district and other leaders, in a joint statement, alleged that Pakistan’s silence over blasphemous caricatures in France provided opportunities to the other forces of the world to commit blasphemy.
Mufti Rashidul Qadri urged Pakistan to use military force to deal with this challenge. He also said that the TLP was prepared to play a lead role in this regard. TLP leaders warned India that if it doesn’t seek pardon over the blasphemy, TLP will “teach an exemplary lesson to Indian beasts”. They urged the Pakistani government to take urgent notice of this incident and respond sternly, as otherwise he said that TLP activists know how to protect the honour of the prophet and offer their lives in his defence.
JeI PoK’s acting Amir Sheikh Aqilur Rehman held meetings with various delegations in connection with the protests after Friday prayers. He urged PoK people to participate in protest rallies in an all-out manner and stressed that international community including Muslim ummah must boycott India politically, diplomatically and economically.
JeM leader Naveed Masood Hashmi also demanded boycott of Indian goods not only by the Gulf countries but by all Muslim countries including Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Hashmi mentioned that it is highly shameful that condemned Sharma committed the crime of blasphemy 14 days ago, but Pakistani rulers, media and other powerful sections remained silent for several days. Even clerics were found careless and lethargic in this regard. PM Shahbaz Sharif and other people became aware only when Ulema and common Muslims of Arab countries announced boycott of Indian goods. He questioned as to why protests against blasphemy began late in Pakistan? It is a matter of serious concern as to why Pakistan failed in playing leading role against the attack on the honour of the prophet in India, he stated.
PTI women wing Mirpur district leader Fauzia Butt announced on the eve of Friday protest that those committing blasphemy in honor of the Prophet are fit to be killed. There is no scope of concession for blasphemers.
It is interesting note that the negative rhetoric took time to catch on as Pakistan has been embroiled in its own internal issues which take away most of the time and energy of the people and the government. This all the more reinforces the fact that Pakistan and the Pakistani people should look after their own priority interests at first rather than delve into criticism of others.