ISLAMABAD: A photograph of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law visiting the grave of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer’s murderer Mumtaz Qadri, has sparked an uproar on the social media.
The photograph shows Captain (r) Muhammad Safdar paying homage to the convicted killer along with a few other men.
In January 2011, Mumtaz Qadri assassinated Taseer over unfounded blasphemy allegations. He was given a death sentence by the Islamabad High Court (IHC) and hanged in February 2016.
Many questions were raised shortly after the picture went viral on the social media, with many saying that the government cannot counter the “narrative of the likes of Tehreek-e-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) by conforming to it”.
Civil liberty activist, lawyer, politician and blogger Jibran Nasir sent out a tweet stating, “At one end Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif opens Ilm Din block in Services Hospital, at the other PML-N MNA and Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law paying respect to a convicted terrorist Mumtaz Qadri. In order to counter TLYR, they are owning its narrative. This is governance and politics at its worst”.
At one end @CMShehbaz opens Ilm Din block in services hospital at the other end @pmln_org MNA and Nawaz Sharif’s son in law paying respect to a convicted terrorist Mumtaz Qadri. In order to counter TLYR they are owning its narrative. This is governance and politics at its worst pic.twitter.com/I4KLCHhSge
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) January 17, 2018
Journalist Abbas Nasir in response to a tweet said, “These are all opportunists wooing the extremists. Cribbing? Have you counted the number of people these intolerant bigots have killed in the name of faith?”
Have you seen Safdar´s pic at Mumtaz Qadri´s grave. These are all opportunists wooing the extremists. Cribbing? Have you counted the number of people these intolerant bigots have killed in the name of faith?
— Abbas Nasir (@abbasnasir59) January 17, 2018
Columnist Junaid Malik tweeted, “Capt (r) Safdar visiting the grave of Mumtaz Qadri. Would anyone explain it to me, what exactly is the difference between PML-N and Tehreek e Labbaik party?”
Capt. Safdar visiting the grave of Mumtaz Qadri.
Would anyone explain it to me, what exactly is the difference between PML-N and Tehreek e Labbaik party? pic.twitter.com/NGOkFqwrNZ
— Junaid Malik (@junaidmalik512) January 18, 2018
Twitter user Hassan Parvez tweeted, “Retard Captain (r) Safdar is the most vocal muzhabi deshat gard (religious terrorist), his speech in NA about Ahmadi citizens of Pakistan is a living proof. His love for brutal terrorist Qadri is known to all. The state should demolish the maqbara (shrine) made for Mumtaz Qadri.”
Retard Capt. Safdar is the most vocal muzhabi deshat gard, his speech in NA about Ahmadi citizens of Pakistan is a living proof. His love for brutal terrorist Qadri is known to all. State should demolish the maqbara made for mumtaz qadri.
— Hassan Parvez (@hparvezdcd) January 18, 2018
Dr Irfan Malik, another twitter user, could not help but find the whole situation rather ‘awkward.’ He tweeted, “Capt (r) Safdar, son in law of former #Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif visits the grave of Mumtaz Qadri. #Awkward.”
— Dr Irfan Malik (@dr_irfanmalik) January 17, 2018
“Son-in-law of MNS, husband of dear Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Capt (r) Safdar visits the grave of the killer of Shaheed Salman Taseer; leading the legacy of NS who called Zia ul Haq spiritual father…,” was another message that Twitter user Syed Ali Zaidi put out in reaction to the incident.
Son in law of MNS, husband of dear @MaryamNSharif, Capt Safdar visits the grave of killer of Shaheed Salman Taseer; leading the legacy of NS who called Zia ul Haq spiritual father… pic.twitter.com/pZKWn3LVQT
— Syed Ali zaidi (@Syed_Ali313) January 17, 2018
Ahmad Waqass Goraya said,”Husband of Maryam Nawaz Sharif and Son-in-law of Nawaz Sharif visiting the grave of the killer of Governor (late) Salman Taseer. This week CM Shehbaz inaugurated a hospital named after famous killer Ghazi Illm Din. Pleasing radicals and extremists is new mainstream politics of Pakistan.”
Husband of @MaryamNSharif and Son in law od #NawazSharif visiting grave of the killer of Governor (late) #SalmanTaseer. This week @CMShehbaz inaugurated a hospital named after famous killer #GhaziIllmDin. Pleasing radicals and extremists is new mainstream politics of Pakistan.
— Ahmad Waqass Goraya (@AWGoraya) January 17, 2018
Another twitter user Omer Ali said that he thought of Captain (r) Safdar as a special case as he had always been a fanatic and he and his in-laws “always have issues”.
Tho I do think Capt Safdar is a special case.. he has always been a fanatic and he and in-laws hv issues.. https://t.co/m5run5Ot51
— omar ali (@omarali50) January 17, 2018
It is not the first time that the PML-N leader has attracted public fury for his spontaneous social outbursts— be it for showing outright devotion to Mumtaz Qadri or spewing hatred against minority groups in the country.
Earlier this year, he was severely condemned for stating that he considered Mumtaz Qadri “a hero” and that ‘the true Qadri was the one who accepted death sentence” while speaking about Pakistan Awami Tehreek’s leader Tahirul Qadri.
In August 2017, Capt Safdar came under fire again for stating in the National Assembly (NA) that four million people came out to attend the funeral of Mumtaz Qadri because they had not accepted the judgement of the court.
The same year, during another NA speech, he was lambasted by the general public for launching an unprecedented attack on the Ahmadi community.
In the speech, he termed the members of the Ahmadi faith group a “threat to the country’s sovereignty” and demanded a complete ban on their recruitment in the Pakistan Army, judiciary and other services.
Safdar referred to Professor Dr Abdus Salam, the country’s first Nobel laureate, as “a controversial figure that has been termed an infidel in light of the Constitution”, while demanding for Dr Salam’s name to be delinked from Quaid-i-Azam University’s physics department.
Students and alumni of the QAU in a post on Facebook termed Safdar’s demand “obtuse” and “brainless” and added that they cherish the Nobel laureate’s achievements and are honoured to host the centre at the QAU.
The general public also reacted strongly to the speech through various social media platforms and called for Safdar’s arrest.