ISLAMABAD: Minister for Information and Broadcasting Qamar Zaman Kaira Friday questioned where the leadership of the parties that had given a strike and protest call had gone and why they had left their activists alone to ransack the public properties.
The information minister also criticized media and said they acted irresponsibly. “Live coverage of violent protests added fuel to fire. Even media did not pay heed to our requests,” complained the information minister advising media to act responsibly and teach people to show restraint. “Media should think what good they have done through this live coverage,” he asked.
Kaira urged the media and the religious leaders to teach people to show restraint from arsons and damage to public properties that have nothing to do with the love for Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
“Our Holy Prophet was a blessing for us and even for the enemies and animals. Every Muslim has love for Him. But today our foes will be making mockery of us. Is this a protest to protect the reverence of that Holy Prophet?” he questioned talking to a private television channel.
To a question, the minister said the security of the foreign diplomats was government’s responsibility. He said there was no room for violence in Islam and that a deliberate effort was made to sabotage government’s efforts for peaceful demonstrations.
Mentioning the condemnation by the Foreign Office and the adoption of unanimous resolution by the National Assembly, he said the government of Pakistan was the only one across the world that has protested the sacrilegious film at state level. He said by declaring Friday as Yaum-e-Ishq-e-Rasool and a public holiday, the government provided the people a chance to register their protest peacefully for reverence of the Holy Prophet (SAW). Kaira said President Asif Ali Zardari would also take up the issue at the United Nations General Assembly to make the world realise that the Muslims could not tolerate denigration of their Holy Prophet (SAW). He clarified that Friday’s protest was not against the government rather it was to denounce an international behaviour of hurting the religious sentiments of others.
Kaira said the world would have to end double standards, as if there was no permission to speak on holocaust then why the denigration of the Holy Prophet (SAW) is allowed. He reiterated that the leadership was supposed to keep the people calm as the governments usually lack machinery to handle such a huge mob. “Islamabad is a little city and so is its administration. Then how they could handle a mob in thousands coming even from outside the city,” he questioned.
Kaira pointed out that the police in Rawalpindi were not fighting back the protesters and demanded strict punishment to those involved in violence. He also expressed grief over the death of an employee of a private television channel during the coverage of the protest in Peshawar.