Karachi, Feb 25: A Pakistani lawmaker from Prime Minister Imran Khan's ruling party was forced to apologise and delete a tweet deemed disrespectful to the minority Hindu community after it led to widespread condemnation and calls for action against him.
Amir Liaquat Hussain, a member of the National Assembly from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, started the controversy when he tweeted an image of a Hindu deity to mock Opposition leader Maryam Nawaz, the daughter of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
Hussain, who is also a popular TV host and became famous as an evangelist and religious scholar, faced flak from the Hindu community, civil society and other politicians for the tweet.
Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, the PTI's representative from Tharparkar in Sindh province, criticised Hussain's tweet as a "shameful act".
"Strongly condemned this shameful act by someone who claims to be a religious scholar also but doesn't know the respect for other religions," Vankwani, who is also the chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council, tweeted.
"Delete this tweet immediately otherwise we reserve the right to demand strict action under the Blasphemy Act and protest across the country," he wrote.
Lal Malhi, another party leader from the Hindu community in Umerkot in Sindh, also criticised Hussain and asked Prime Minister Khan to take notice of his illogical act.
"Strongly condemn the blasphemous act of @AamirLiaquat and appeal @ImranKhanPTI to take notice of this immoral act. No religion including Islam permits him to do such illogical acts, he said.
Hussain later deleted his tweet and tweeted an apology to the Hindu community.
I know the sentiments of the Hindu community were hurt," Hussain said.
"I respect all faiths, this is what my religion has taught me," he added.