Slogan-mongering by Capt Safdar inside Quaid’s mausoleum raises eyebrows

Updated 19 Oct 2020

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BILAWAL-Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz cheerfully wave to the crowd at the PDM power show at Bagh-i-Jinnah on Sunday. — PPI
BILAWAL-Bhutto Zardari and Maryam Nawaz cheerfully wave to the crowd at the PDM power show at Bagh-i-Jinnah on Sunday. — PPI

KARACHI: While workers and supporters of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz accorded a historic welcome to Maryam Nawaz when she arrived in the metropolis on Sunday afternoon, an incident that happened inside the Quaid’s mausoleum gave an opportunity to her detractors to cast aspersions on her.

A large number of workers and supporters received her as soon as she came out of the lounge after landing at Jinnah Airport in Karachi, where she came to attend the second public meeting organised by the 11-party Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

She began her journey towards the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in a motorcade that formed a big rally by the time it came on Sharea Faisal.

PTI leaders take it as breach of Mazar’s sanctity

Carrying her portraits and PML-N flags, people were seen dancing, shouting loud slogans, taking photographs and making mobile phone videos and waving at her and she responded to them as well from behind the bulletproof windshield of an SUV, said to be provided by a local PPP leader.

It took her caravan a couple of hours to reach the Quaid’s mausoleum. She was accompanied by her husband retired Captain Muhammad Safdar, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former Sindh governor and her spokesperson Mohammad Zubair, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Nihal Hashmi and others.

Ms Nawaz along with the senior leadership and a large number of workers went inside the hallway to offer fateha and lay a floral wreath. As per the tradition, a qari recited verses from the Holy Quran and Ms Nawaz and a few others offered fateha inside the grilled premises.

As soon as the fateha ended, the PML-N workers who were standing outside that iron grill in the same hall, shouted slogans in favour of Ms Nawaz. Capt Safdar signalled them, apparently to stop them from raising that particular slogan at the grave of Quaid-i-Azam, and started chanting vote ko izzat do slogan that too was against the protocol of the mausoleum.

While Ms Nawaz and other leadership stayed silent, Capt Safdar kept on chanting another slogan, ‘long live mother of the nation’, and the crowd responded in an emotional manner. The scene lasted a couple of minutes and Ms Nawaz along with others left the premises.

Talking to the media, she said that people of Karachi had given her a welcome that was beyond her expectations.

She said that she was connected to the people of Karachi for whole life after witnessing their respect, love and devotion.

But the mismanagement and the slogan-shouting incident at the mazar provided ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf an opportunity to heap scorn on her.

Many social media users also considered the incident as disrespect and vent their anger against Capt Safdar, Ms Nawaz and the PML-N.

PTI central leader and Federal Minister Ali Zaidi tweeted a video of Capt Safdar shouting slogans and wrote: “This is just not acceptable. The sanctity of Quaid’s Mazar disrespected by these criminals masquerading as politicians.”

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar also tweeted the video and, in a strong-worded statement, demanded the PML-N to apologise to the nation for “disrespecting the sanctity of the Quaid’s mausoleum”.

Later in the evening, senior PTI leader Haleem Adil Shaikh reached the Brigade police station to lodge an FIR against PML-N leadership for violating the sanctity of the Quaid’s mausoleum.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2020