Punjab Minister of Punjab for Information and Culture Fayyazul Hassan Chohan on Tuesday said traders who stock up on illicit and illegal profits by hoarding items in times of need are the kind of people who get ‘punished’ in the shape of disabled children. While we understand that one should not be hoarding items of necessity in times like these or be focusing on profits and gains, but bringing differently abled children into the mix and referring to them as “Allah ka Azaad” is taking is way too far.
He made these insensitive remarks while holding a press conference to discuss the Coronavirus pandemic and its situation in Lahore. In his attempts to appeal to traders to not hoard masks, sanitizers and any such products which are a pressing need during these trying times, he crossed several lines in saying “Those who do illegal hoarding will face the wrath of God not only on the day of judgment but also during their lives as their children will be born disabled,” Chohan said. “When such people have disabled children then the whole society knows why they have these kinds of children. They are Allah’s azaab,” he added.
Shireen Mazari, the Federal Minister for Human Rights tweeted a befitting response to such misguided, insensitive and extremely incorrect views made public by Fayyaz Chohan:
Special children are not an "azaab" but are special human beings to be cared for and loved and allowed to develop their own potential. In fact no child can ever be an "azaab" and for anyone to make such a cruel, inhumane statement is absolutely unforgivable and condemnable.
— Shireen Mazari (@ShireenMazari1) March 17, 2020
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also tweeted their concerns on the matter:
HRCP is deeply concerned by the statement made by the Punjab Information Minister @FayyazulHChohan, who has suggested that children with physical or mental disabilities are born as a result of their parents' sins. This was irresponsible and callous.
— Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (@HRCP87) March 17, 2020
Muniba Mazari also took to Twitter to call out Fayyaz Chohan on his irresponsible remarks:
Is this for real? I’m appalled & disgusted! @ImranKhanPTI Sir, I hope you watch this & ask your team to have some empathy, wisdom, decency and grace! This is Shameful!
PS: I am a person who’s differently abled & my mother takes pride in what I’ve done for my country so far! https://t.co/uGrQWDgap6
— Muniba Mazari (@muniba_mazari) March 17, 2020
It is important to note that this isn’t the first time that Punjab’s Minister for Information and Culture has said something so irresponsible. In March 2019, the PTI minister had made derogatory remarks directed against the Hindu community for which he was sacked for some time but was reinstated soon after the matter cooled down. We wonder if hiring him back was a smart decision at all?