Shireen Mazari, a former minister for human rights, has lately been chastised for “using the religion card” against Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.
Mazari took to Twitter to upload a video of the finance minister speaking at the Atlantic Council in Washington, where he claimed he “made fun” of various Islamic beliefs.
Miftah had left early Thursday for Washington to renegotiate the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility arrangement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Miftah can be heard in the video informing media about the no-confidence vote that resulted in the removal of PTI Chairman Imran Khan from power. He then described how the former prime minister created a good versus evil narrative in which the opposition was labelled as bad.
“The previous prime minister then proceeded to discuss the Quranic passages known as Amr bil Maroof wa Nahi anil Munkar (promotion of virtue and prevention of vices). We (the Opposition) seemed to be the flag bearers of immorality, whereas he was the standard bearer of virtue.”
شرم آنی چاہئے @MiftahIsmail کو کہ امریکہ کی خوشامد کرتے ہوئے امر بالمعروف جیسے بنیادی اسلامی تصورِ کا مذاق اڑا رہا ہے جبکہ اسکی ہَڑبڑاہٹ و بُڑبڑاہٹ سےاسکی جہالت عیاں ہے۔ اوباشوں کے اس ٹولے کیلئے کیا کچھ بھی مقدس نہیں؟ #MarchAgainstImportedGovt pic.twitter.com/Hiyz0gHhUA
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) April 23, 2022
Miftah went on to state that the Taliban had used a similar allusion in a former incarnation, and that they had a ministry with the same name.
Mazari called Miftah out in reaction to his comments, writing: “Miftah Ismail should be ashamed of himself. While praising America, he mocks fundamental Islamic ideas such as Amr bil Maroof.”
Miftah’s “ignorance was clear from the way he stammered during his words,” she noted.
She said, “Isn’t there anything sacrosanct about this band of thugs?”
Condemnations pour in
Following Mazari’s tweet, a number of journalists, lawmakers, and members of civil society criticised her for “using religion,” with some warning that such rhetoric may inspire violence.
In a tweet, Minister for Maritime Affairs Faisal Subzwari chastised Mazari, saying that one cannot blame the illiterate and stupid for turning to extremism when highly educated and competent individuals like her exploit the religion card and gross falsification of facts to achieve political advantage.
جہلاء یا بغیر پڑھے لکھنے والوں سے کیا شکوہ جب اعلی ترین تعلیمی اداروں سے فارغ التحصیل شیریں مزاری صاحبہ سیاست کے لیے مذہب کارڈ، توہین کارڈ استعمال کریں، وہ بھی انتہائی غلط بیانی کا سہارا لیتے ہوئے۔ خدارا سیاست میں اس آگ کو نہ گھسائیں۔ میں مفتاح اسمعیٰل کے ساتھ ہوں @MiftahIsmail
— Faisal Subzwari (@faisalsubzwari) April 24, 2022
“Please don’t put this fire in politics. I am with Miftah Ismail.”
Journalist Mubashir Zaidi wrote: “The betrayal card has now upgraded to the blasphemy card … but remember this fire will burn everyone’s house one day”.
غداری کارڈ کا اپ گریڈ توہین مذہب کارڈ ہے۔۔۔۔۔۔مگر یاد رکھنا یہ آگ ایک دن سب کے گھر جلائے گی
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) April 24, 2022
“Disappointed in Dr Mazari — who knows better than to try to whip up religious sentiment against their opponents,” wrote political analyst and commentator Mosharraf Zaidi.
There is no ridicule whatsoever.
Dr Ismail’s pity however is for those who seek to misuse our faith.
Disappointed in Dr Mazari—who knows better than to try to whip up religious sentiment against their opponents. 😔
May Allah guide and protect us all. https://t.co/hiCRQuoPEa
— Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) April 24, 2022
Jibran Nasir, a lawyer and human rights activist, wrote: “Miftah Ismail: In light of religious texts, Imran Khan utilised Islam to depict the PMLN as corrupt.
Shireen Mazari: By stressing IK’s use of the religion card against PMLN, Miftah is mocking core Islamic beliefs.
This was our human rights minister, and we could always count on him to be kind.”
Miftah Ismail: Imran Khan used Islam to paint PMLN corrupt in light of religious scriptures.
Shireen Mazari: Miftah is ridiculing basic Islamic Concept by highlighting IK used religion card against PMLN.
This was our Human Rights Minister, on whom we relied on for compassion. https://t.co/kNYh0Cij6H
— M. Jibran Nasir 🇵🇸 (@MJibranNasir) April 24, 2022
Shireen Mazari’s daughter, lawyer and human rights campaigner Imaan Zainab Mazari, also spoke out against the measure. She responded, without mentioning her mother’s tweet: “Blasphemy accusations damage lives, and this destruction politics must continue. No one will be able to escape this inferno if we continue to engage in such foolish and deadly politics.”
توہین مذہب کے الزامات سے زندگیاں تباہ ہو جاتی ہیں اور تباہی کی یہ سیاست جاری نہیں رہ سکتی۔
ایسی غیر ذمہ دارانہ اور خطرناک سیاست کریں گے تو کوئی بھی اس آگ سے بچ نہیں سکتا۔
— Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir (@ImaanZHazir) April 24, 2022