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Photos posted on Twitter on Thursday showed a local police official entering Hafeez Center and taking down the offensive poster. –Photos courtesy Government of Punjab Twitter
Photos posted on Twitter on Thursday showed a local police official entering Hafeez Center and taking down the offensive poster. –Photos courtesy Government of Punjab Twitter

LAHORE: A hateful poster targeting a minority group was taken down from outside a mobile shop in Hafeez Center after a photo of the pamphlet ignited a social media storm on Thursday.

Police said the issue was brought to the Gulberg Police's attention by "several people concerned by the nature of its contents". SHO Yousuf Butt took action against the complaint, and requested the shop owner to take the poster down from a store in the city's largest electronics market.

Under the National Action Plan, police officials have the authority to take action against reported instances of hate speech and hate crime, he said.

On Wednesday night, a photograph of the notice, which used profane language against the Ahmadi community and called for a ban on their entry into the shop, went viral on social media.

One of the tweets also tagged ISPR DG Maj Gen Asim Bajwa, demanding authorities to take action.

The original tweet itself had over 150 shares, with people expressing outrage and demanding action against what was called a "shameless" act of hate.

Columnist and former television anchor Raza Rumi also shared the image and called on the Punjab government to "do something."

A tweet by the Punjab government's official account on Thursday acknowledged Rumi's tweet, and posted a photo showing an official taking down the notice.

–Image courtesy Government of Punjab Twitter –Image courtesy Government of Punjab Twitter

According to the tweet, the DCO himself went to Hafeez Center after the social media outrage.

SHO Butt, meanwhile, said that he was not aware of any tweets. "We don't even use social media," Butt said, adding that the action was taken by police without any official instructions from the Punjab government.

Meanwhile, many on Twitter saw official action as a victory for social media activists, and appreciated the Punjab government and those who had brought the hate crime to attention.

Soon, the the hashtag #IStandwithGovtPunjab made the rounds on the mico-blogging website.

Others shared incidents of similar hate speech, in other parts of Lahore and Pindi.

Some, however, raised questions about action taken against the shop-keeper, and wanted to know if an arrest had been made.

SHO Butt explained that an arrest cannot be made without an official complaint.

"We cannot take action against the shop owner," Butt told, "No official complaint has been registered."

Growing intolerance

Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims by the Pakistani government in 1974. Growing intolerance towards the community has resulted in a series of hate crimes and blasphemy accusations. Many Ahmadis have been arrested under Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws for reading the Holy Quran, holding religious celebrations and having Quranic verses on rings or wedding cards.

Four years ago, 86 Ahmadis were killed in two simultaneous attacks in Lahore. Last month, an enraged mob torched a place of worship in Jhelum after allegations of “desecration of the Holy Quran”.

Comments (36) Closed

usman Dec 11, 2015 02:36pm

thats one shop and i have seen plenty of them in hafeez center. a couple of them are computer related shops on first floor

Amir Khawaja Dec 11, 2015 02:47pm

Police just took the sign off. Do we have any laws for discrimination against people based on region?

Goga Nalaik Dec 11, 2015 02:50pm

Police should go after the ower of Hafeez Centre. There is a lot more to discover for police there.

Haroon Dec 11, 2015 02:50pm

In my view the owner of the Plaza and the shop must be arrested for the Hate crime. It is a Pure hate crime and even it falls under the NAP ( National Action plan). If it would have happened in UK, Germany etc then the person whose shop had this poster would be behind bards for many years.

Amir Khawaja Dec 11, 2015 02:52pm

Muslims and Pakistanis in particular are discriminated against worldwide. Now they are discriminating against their own countrymen.

Khalid Dec 11, 2015 03:20pm

Anyone spreading hate against any minority, religion, sect and race must be punished in the same way terrorists are punished. These people are destroying our Pakistan and the image of Pakistan the world over. Let us stop them NOW.

GS Dec 11, 2015 03:29pm

And some people in Pakistan are more worried about Trump !

Pakistani Dec 11, 2015 03:48pm

this shop should be closed down.

Asmat Ullah Dec 11, 2015 03:50pm

Let me start by saying that I don't believe in the notion of calling anybody a minority, every citizen of Pakistan is a PAKISTANI. Secondly I don't understand that why people & media, be it print or electronic, name the minority in such incidents, is there a shame in saying what we have been doing to some of our fellow Pakistanis. I have many friends, very dear and close ones, who do not share the same religion or sect that I come from but do I care! I can certify on my honor, if I have to, that they are far better Pakistanis and human beings than I am. In this particular incident the more worrying fact is that Hafeez center is visited by thousands of people everyday and no one, not a singly one ever tried to undo this shameful act. We need to ponder; do we need metros, motorways, democracy, parliament and above all the un-satiating lust for money & power or we need to pound into ourselves and our next generations some discipline, moral values and will to stand up for what is right?

Atam Vetta Dec 11, 2015 03:56pm

@Amir Khawaja. NOW? I thought it has been happening since 1974.

Muhammed Ali UK Dec 11, 2015 04:09pm

Close this guys shop.Maybe then he will think twice before putting up such crap.

Jawad U Rahman Dec 11, 2015 04:14pm

So, it's not a crime until somebody files an FIR? That's very encouraging for the offenders.

Muhammad Ali Hussain Dec 11, 2015 04:23pm

Where is Soho motto authority of chief justice of Pakistan.What chief minister Punjab doing. Removal only is not enough. What is the position of leader of opposition Mr. Khan is saying.

Adil Jadoon Dec 11, 2015 04:25pm

Fnny how Punjab Govt. took credit for removing the poster. The fact that it was displayed in the first place with no punishment for those responsible shows the apathy of the law makers!

Arsalan Dec 11, 2015 04:25pm

Its a good first step but the GOP needs to go a lot more further to ensure that the rights of minorities upheld. Prosecute the shop keepers displays such hate filled garbage.

rashid Dec 11, 2015 05:19pm

Way to go! A step in the right direction. NAP says, hate speech shall be criminalized but I wonder why the SHO is shying away from taking actions against the shop owner?

Laeeq,NY Dec 11, 2015 05:21pm

Why we blaming Trump and Modi for intolerance towards Muslims in their countries while so much hate spreader are in our own countries.

Amer RAO Dec 11, 2015 05:28pm

Please make bridges of love, peace and humanity. Together we can make a Difference. Pakistan Zindabad.

ahsan Dec 11, 2015 05:28pm

our society should be educated that is the only solution to such ignorant acts. love,tolerance,brotherhood,compassion,humanity and all such traits should be taught in schools and as well as madrassas at a very early age. the more difficult scientific subjects should be taught later on.thanks

AHA Dec 11, 2015 05:41pm

Educate Educate Educate - Pl include a comprehensive lessons on other religions in formal and non formal education like Madrassahs. Peace can exist only when youth understand other religion and accept their existence.

Ali Dec 11, 2015 06:05pm

So why is that person not behind bars yet? it only happens in pakistan!

Hassan Parvez Dec 11, 2015 06:25pm

Good action by police, but for God's sake do we have any laws against spreading hate. Is the police investigating who made that poster, has the shop keeper been arrested for displaying that poster in his shop. The news that the "Police requested the shop keeper to take down the poster" is amazing. Does this shop keeper deserve such courtesy. Amazing Pakistan.

Aku Dec 11, 2015 07:38pm

Punishment needed, not just pictures

Najam Dec 11, 2015 08:20pm

We Pakistanis need to be checked out.

Masood Husssain Dec 11, 2015 08:49pm

Somebody should move to get this cursed amendment deleted from our constitution.

Adnan Aziz Dec 11, 2015 08:56pm

Police took the poster down. Some consolation but it should not have stopped there. More needs to be done.

Futurewizard Dec 11, 2015 09:25pm

And you have issues about rest of the world.

Muslim Medina Dec 11, 2015 10:15pm

Let us make it very clear that act of a few trouble makers does not make us all hate minorities. I sincerely hope that authorities once for all take notice of seriousness of this situation and hand out exemplary punishment to all those who are responsible.

Bob Dec 11, 2015 10:17pm

If putting a poster like this is considered a hate crime the the people who has supported the 1974 amendment should also be arrested for hate crime including the assembly members who voted for it.

Saeed Masood Dec 11, 2015 11:14pm

Once the authorities take action on public demand we should be thankful and happy and satisfied and close the subject...

Ali Zaidi Dec 11, 2015 11:25pm

Pulling off posters is not going to help when the Law and the Constitution of Pakistan declares Ahmadis non-Muslims. The Law needs to be revisited and amended/removed. Ahmadis are punishable by 3 years in jail if they call themselves Muslims. What kind of an absurd law is that? The State has no right to declare anybody anything or to do anything with anyone's faith. The State also forces its citizens to sign their passport applications to confirm that they consider Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. Have we forgotten the words of the Quaid? Parliamentarians need to stand against this and vote to have the law removed without any fear of mullahs or Saudi Arabia.

A Ahmed Dec 11, 2015 11:34pm

No one should be allowed to make any bigoted comments towards any group anywhere in the country or at any forum. Sermons in Mosque, announcements over loudspeakers, signs such as this one, should be punished severely in order to send a message.

Krishna Dec 12, 2015 12:31am

Dawn: Thanks for publishing this article.

More important is to see the comments here. Extremely lovable, tolerant, peaceful side of Pakistan coming out. Keep it up.

Be the same with your neighbors - India too. We too will be that way with you.

As I always said in these forums - let us not forget that both of us have the same DNA.

Balwanjee Dec 12, 2015 01:40am

Regressive elements are everywhere, but, it is government's job to control them and keep them under the lid.

Mr Pakistan. Dec 12, 2015 01:52am

Excellent - I finally see some hope for Pakistan

Ajaya K Dutt Dec 12, 2015 05:25am

Police cannot take action, only remove the offensive poster. Do they really need an official complain, whereas the offensive action, display of offensive poster, is done right in their presence.

It is like saying that they cannot arrest a murderer because there is no official complain against the murderer.