Pakistan's Punjab province chief minister on Monday reappointed Fayyazul Hassan Chohan as his Information Minister, nine months after he was sacked over his anti-Hindu remarks that invited intense criticism from senior party leaders and the minority community. According to a notification, Chohan will head the information department along with his current portfolio of Colonies Department, Pakistan media reported.
"Chief Minister (Punjab) is pleased to assign the portfolio of 'Information Department' to Fayyaz-ul-Hasan Chohan, MPA, PP-17 Rawalpindi, Provincial Minister, Punjab in addition to the portfolio of Colonies Department'," the notification read. The portfolio was previously held by the minister for industries Aslam Iqbal, who resigned from the post saying that due to engagements in his constituency he cannot do justice with two ministries.
Leader of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Chohan had come under severe criticism from senior leaders from his own party, Ministers and social media users over his contentious comments during an address on February 24, just days after the ghastly Pulwama terror attack in Kashmir. The Pakistani leader apologised for his remarks and said that he was addressing PM Modi and the Indian armed forces and the Indian media, and not the Hindu community in Pakistan.
While Pakistan PM Imran Khan taking serious notice of the anti-Hindu remark, directed the Pakistan Punjab CM to oust him forthwith, Chohan was placed back in his position after what seemed like a cooling period. Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan. According to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. However, according to the community, over 90 lakh Hindus are living in the country. Majority of Pakistan's Hindu population is settled in Sindh province where they share culture, traditions, and language with their Muslim fellows.
A 22-member parliamentary committee has been formed in Pakistan to work on legislation to prevent the forced conversions and protect the rights of minorities in the conservative Muslim-majority country, according to a media report on November 23. The committee was formed weeks after a Hindu girl was allegedly abducted and converted to Islam in Sindh province in early September. The forced conversions led to the Hindu community leaders and others holding protests in Sindh against the problem of forcible conversions of Hindu girls.
The Hindu community in Pakistan has carried out massive demonstrations calling for strict action to be taken against those responsible for forced conversions while reminding Prime Minister Imran Khan of his promises to the minorities of the country. In 2018, during his election campaign, Imran Khan had said his party’s agenda was to uplift the various religious groups across Pakistan and said they would take effective measures to prevent forced marriages of Hindu girls.
(with PTI inputs)