Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur on Monday condemned the controversial remarks made by Punjab Information Minister Fayazul Hassan Chohan, assuring that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf would take action in this regard.
Chohan, while talking to reporters in Lahore a few days back, repeatedly used the word “Kashmiri” with the names of Sharif family members, reportedly in a scornful way, which stirred up widespread outrage among the Kashmiri people.
The video clip of the said press talk went viral on social networking sites, mostly with tempestuous comments against the minister for making the “racial slur”.
There were many polite messages as well, informing Pakistani leadership as to how the inane comment had gone with the Kashmiris.
“We're Kashmiris and are proud to be so. Let this message go to Lahore and let Fayazul Hasan Chohan know it that you have hurt us. Let your domestic politics and political rivalries stay in their own limit,” wrote Srinagar-based journalist Yusuf Jameel in one of the several tweets on the issue.
On Monday, when Gandapur was in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) capital for the launch of Naya Pakistan Housing Programme, the minister was intercepted by some activists who conveyed their unhappiness over the manner in which Chohan had tried to portray the Kashmiris.
“I condemn and I want to make it clear to all Kashmiri people that whatever Chohan has said, it is in his personal capacity…It has nothing to do with our party policy,” the minister clarified.
“We will serve notice to him and the party will take action in this regard as well,” Gandapur promised.
“He is [the] spokesperson of the Punjab government and previously he had made some such remarks that impelled him to tender an apology,” he said.
Gandapur was referring to the allegedly lewd comments made by Chohan about film and stage actresses Nargis and Megha at a public forum on August 30.
Following the backlash against him on social and electronic media, Chohan released his two video messages tendering an apology to both actresses.
“He [Chohan] will have to mend his ways. As far as Kashmiri people are concerned we are with them,” Gandapur said.
While talking to media persons on Monday, Chohan praised the Kashmiri people and said that he was sorry if any of his statement had hurt the sentiments of the Kashmiri people.
“Kashmiri brothers and sisters have criticised my statement, I apologise from them,” the Punjab information minister said.
Earlier on Sunday, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir had also condemned the remarks when her attention was drawn by some reporters, outside the National Press Club [Islamabad], towards the way Chohan had “offended the Kashmiris.”
“Kashmiris are our brothers. They are close to our hearts. If anyone has been tormented [by the remark] I beg apology for that,” she had said.
“If you think that we should officially issue any statement on it, I will talk to the party about it.”