The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) advised the government against using the anti-Covid-19 slogan “Corona say darna nahi, larna hay” (Don’t be afraid of corona, fight it), the Lahore High Court was informed on Wednesday.
The court was hearing a petition filed by a lawyer against the use of these words in national print and electronic media and official sources of communication.
The petitioner-lawyer, Salman Idrees, had argued that no one could fight against God’s will but the national media and government communication sources had been using ‘unIslamic’ and ‘immoral’ words challenging the supremacy of God. He asked the court to ban the use of the words ‘‘Corona say darna nahi, larna hay.”
In the last hearing, LHC Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan had directed the CII to give its opinion on the choice of words in the anti-Covid-19 slogan.
On Wednesday, a government lawyer informed the court that the CII after considering the slogan had stopped the government from using it.
The council had advised the government to refer the matter to the federal cabinet to come up with a new anti-virus slogan, Deputy Attorney General Asad Ali Bajwa said.
An official at the CII told Dawn that the reason the council had opposed the slogan was that in its view, humans could not fight God's will and the term "fighting corona" should be replaced with "protecting against corona".
Chief Justice Khan took exception to the delay in the matter on the government's part, asking why the CII's advice was not placed before the cabinet despite the passage of 15 days.
"Ask the officers of federal institutions to do their jobs or quit," he told the government lawyer.
The court summoned the federal information and religious affairs secretaries at the next hearing to explain what steps were being taken to forward the matter to the cabinet. The hearing was subsequently adjourned until next week.
The case comes at a time when coronavirus cases are on the rise in Pakistan. On Tuesday, as active cases of Covid-19 surpassed the 11,000 mark, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Faisal Sultan formally announced that the second wave of the deadly virus had started in the country.
With additional reporting by Kalbe Ali in Islamabad.