The viral “chor chor” slogans in Masjid e Nabwi against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and his delegation raised a vicious debate on social media. The arguments showed a more polarised picture of Pakistan than ever before.
According to reports, PM Sharif and his delegation reached Saudi Arabia on 28th April for a 3-day official visit at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s (MBS) invitation. The panel included Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, Federal Minister for Narcotics Control Shahzain Bugti, MNA Mohsin Dawar, Chaudhry Salik, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqi, and 4 members of PM’s staff.
When the delegation visited the second holiest site in Islam, a group of pilgrims welcomed them by chanting “thieves” slogans. Soon it turned into a protest, made into a video, and went viral on social media. The majority of the Pakistanis condemned the incident as the “violation of the sanctity” of Masjid-e-Nabwi. The supporters of Pakistani’s ruling party PMLN, the supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’ party PTI and the critiques had contradictory things to say on this matter.
Blaming Imran Khan for Slogans in Masjid e Nabwi
Some elements blame Imran Khan for everything wrong in Pakistan today. One of them is the staunch critic of PTI, Ali Moeen Nawazish, who said that Khan had destroyed Pakistan’s economy and social fabric. He further noted that Khan made Pakistan’s judiciary and military controversial. Moreover, he also pointed out how Khan praised India’s foreign policy, broke the constitution before losing the no-confidence vote, and radicalised people with his speeches. Nawazish opined that slogans in Masjid e Nabwi were the cause and effect of Imran Khan’s politics.
Will PTI Condemn the Incident?
PMLN Leader Zubair Umar, whose private video was leaked a few months ago, highlighted the Mazar-e-Quaid incident in 2020. According to reports, PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz visited the final resting place of Muhammad Ali Jinnah with her husband, Captain Safdar, when suddenly the Captain started to chant “vote ko izzat do” and instigated others to do so. Mazar e Quaid management and PTI leadership filed a complaint against Captain Safdar, Maryam Nawaz, and Marriyum Aurangzeb for “violating the sanctity” of Jinnah’s tomb. Zubair questioned whether the same PTI members raise their voices against a much more significant violation of sanctity. PTI’s Ali Muhammad Khan has tweeted to condemn the slogans in Masjid e Nabwi.
Key Place in the History of Islam
In response to those who heavily argued that political slogans in Masjid e Nabwi violated its sanctity, some came forward with history lessons. Pro-PTI journalist Waqas aka Worqas opined that such people were merely using underhand tactics to somehow implicate Imran Khan as responsible for the incident. He explained the historical significance of the mosque, where it acted as the ultimate stronghold for Muslims against their enemies. Mosques, in general, were the central religious and political spaces for Muslims where they could voice their concerns. Worqas said that Muslims devised war strategies, chose political leadership, and delivered justice at the holy site. He further said that the idea of building Masjid e Nabwi in the first place was based on rebellion against oppressive forces.
Victims of politics do not care about the venue when they see a bunch of politicians getting around wherever they want under security protocol. This is why some argued that it was a “tit for tat” moment for the reigning government. The political dynasty of PMLN has faced countless allegations of corruption in almost development project they oversaw in Pakistan. The court disqualified the party’s president Nawaz Sharif and sentenced 10-years imprisonment for corruption regarding luxury flats in London. While there was a debate on whether slogans were against the sanctity of a holy place or such behaviour against politicians should be condemned, a particular section also pointed out how these were poor labourers taking out their frustration.