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Pakistan

Web Desk
June 8, 2021

Being Muslim was their only fault, says FM Qureshi on Canadian killing

Web Desk
Tue, Jun 08, 2021
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing on the floor of the National Assembly in Islamabad, on June 8, 2021. — YouTube

Being Muslim was the Canadian family's only fault,  Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday said, as he condemned the killing of the family. 

A 20-year-old suspect wearing a vest "like body armor" fled the scene after the attack on Sunday evening, and was arrested at a mall seven kilometers (four miles) from the intersection in London, Ontario where it happened, said Detective Superintendent Paul Waight.

"There is evidence that this was a planned, premeditated act, motivated by hate. It is believed that these victims were targeted because they were Muslim," he told a news conference.

The names of the victims were not released, but they include a 74-year-old woman, a 46-year-old man, a 44-year-old woman and a 15-year-old girl — together representing three generations of the same family, according to London mayor Ed Holder.

A nine-year-old boy was also hospitalised following the attack and is recovering.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister, addressing the National Assembly, said the Canadian police must surely be conducting its investigation, but he only saw hate as the reason for this attack.

"This is a hate crime."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's tweet against Islamophobia was encouraging, and this was the same issue that Pakistan had raised in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation's recent summit, he said.

Qureshi said that he had raised Pakistan's concerns in a meeting with the Canadian high commissioner. He said Pakistan is in touch with Canada and termed it a matter of human rights.

The foreign minister called on PM Trudeau to play a role similar to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after the Christchurch Mosque shootings in 2019.

The Canadian prime minister should visit the affected family, he said, adding he would speak to him on the matter at 6pm tomorrow.

"International human rights organisations should raise their voice on this issue [...] I hope that international media will also play its due role," the foreign minister said.

Not an isolated incident

FM Qureshi, sharing details of the incident, said it was a heart-wrenching incident. "Four Pakistani-Canadians were martyred and a nine-year-old has been hospitalised."

The foreign minister said he had sought details of the matter and made it clear that he would not make any speculations before the autopsy report is available.

"This isn't an isolated incident, it is a rising trend," he said.

He highlighted that Pakistan was repeatedly sensitising the international community regarding the rising trend of Islamophobia, adding that everyone was aware of the incidents that had taken place in the United Kingdom and France in recent days.

"These events pose a threat to divisions in society," he said.

PM Imran Khan aspires to unite the Muslim ummah and form a unified strategy to tackle Islamophobia, he said. "I had also told the OIC that we should give a unified response to this issue."

The foreign minister said Pakistan's consul general in Canada was the first person to contact the family, who are petrified over the event.

'Terrorism'

Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, condemning the attack in Canada, said if states drop bombs on Muslims, it is "self-defence", and when Muslims defend themselves, it is termed as terrorism.

"What happened in Canada was terrorism and Muslims were targeted," she said, adding the country's authorities had admitted that the attack was Islamophobic.

'Inhumane'

Meanwhile, former interior minister and PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said the turn of events in Canada were heartbreaking.

"It was an inhumane act [...] we need to educate the world along with other Islamic countries," the PML-N leader said.

Iqbal slams government over train collision

Later, speaking to media outside the Parliament, Iqbal said the incumbent government was responsible for the railways' decline as it had not allocated a large enough budget for the sector.

"Throughout the world, old railway tracks are changed and where the tracks are weak, trains are asked to travel at a slow speed," he said, as he blamed the government for the Ghotki train accident that led to the death of 51 people and injured over 100.

The former interior minister said the PML-N government had allocated Rs34 billion for railways, while the incumbent government had slashed it to a mere Rs16 billion.

Minister for Information Fawad Chaudhry is misleading the nation, as the Orange Line Train was not a Centre-funded project — it was the provincial government's project, he said.

'Corruptionistan'

"Pakistan has been turned into corruptionistan," Iqbal said.

Corruption has become "rampant" since PTI came into power and the incumbent government has taken loans equivalent to half the loans taken by all past governments combined, he said.

He alleged that the government has "ruined CPEC" and has a PhD in "lying".

"Please stop doing politics over the incident and tell the nation who is resigning — the prime minister or the railways minister?" he asked.

Abundant power supply in 2023

Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, taking the floor of the House, said for the first time in the country's history, Karachi was provided with an additional 200MW of electricity.

"At this time, 500MW is being supplied to Karachi and due to the additional power provided to the city, load-shedding has decreased," the minister said.

Azhar said he had met several lawmakers over the issue of load-shedding, and during the meetings, it had emerged that there were some areas where nearly 80% of the people had not paid their bills.

The minister said the areas where bills were not being paid were witnessing load-shedding.

Lashing out at the Opposition, he asked whether it was PM Imran Khan who had recruited linemen and metre readers on political grounds.

"Is Imran Khan responsible for expensive deals and corruption of previous governments?" he went on to ask, adding that it was easy to give long speeches, but it was tough to do the right thing.

In 2023, there will be an abundant supply of power in the country, he said.