Lahore: Pakistan Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif’s face was blackened with ink by a religious extremist when he was addressing his party’s workers’ convention in Punjab province of the country late on Saturday.
The suspect, who was thrashed by the party workers before being handed over to police, allegedly said that Asif’s party had tried to change the finality of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in the Constitution which hurt his sentiments.
Asif was speaking at the PML-N workers’ convention in Sialkot, his hometown (some 100 km from Lahore), when a middle-aged man with long beard, who was standing close to him, threw ink on his face.
The workers grabbed the man and thrashed him before handing him over to police. The foreign minister was escorted by his guard after the incident. However, after washing his face, Asif returned and completed his speech.
“I do not know this man. It appears my opponents had given him some money to throw ink at me but I pardon this man and will ask the police to release him,” the minister said, adding this incident does not affect his politics.
“Such an incident adds sympathy for him,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sialkot city police identified the ink thrower as Faiz Rasool.
“Rasool doesn’t have any connection with any political party. He told police in his statement that he threw ink at the foreign minister because his party had tried to change the finality of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) in the Constitution. This hurt the sentiments of millions of Pakistanis, including his,” a police officer quoted Rasool as having said in his statement.
He said since the minister is not interested in getting an FIR registered against Rasool, police will set him free after meeting all legal requirements.
Pakistan’s Law Minister Zahid Hamid had to resign last November when hundreds of Tehreek-e-Labbaik supporters camped at Islamabad’s Faizabad traffic interchange, forcing the PML-N government to take action against those in the federal cabinet responsible for attempting to change this clause from the Constitution.