Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan is once again in the news for his insensitive comments and this time it is about children with disabilities.
Chohan is the Punjab Minister of Punjab for Information and Culture in Pakistan. On Tuesday, he said that traders who stock up on illicit and illegal profits by hoarding items as the country deals with coronavirus, are the kind of people “who will get punished by having disabled children”.
The politician was holding a press conference in Lahore regarding coronavirus. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) member was appealing to business owners to not hoard masks, sanitisers or any other products that are necessary during the pandemic.
“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’ [punishment],” he added.
His comments got an immediate reaction from netizens, who were outraged.
Twitter user @SamarHasantwtr tagged Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan who appointed Chohan and wrote: “Really really sad to listen to this perspective about differently abled people. @PTIofficial @ImranKhanPTI please instruct your ministers and all appointed officials to think before they speak... God knows how many people they are hurting because of their words... #FayyazChohan”
User @SalmanSufi7 tweeted a clip of a person of determination and posted: “To Fayyaz Chauhan: On behalf of our adopted child who has cerebral palsy and millions who can’t respond to you. I pray for cure of your insensitivity. I pray you respect families who take care of these angels. Watch this video, maybe it will melt your heart, if you have any.”
Soon after Chohan’s words gained attention online, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Human Rights, Shireen Mazari, commented on the issue through her Twitter account: “Special children are not an ‘azaab’ [punishment] 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.”
This is not the first time Chohan has been criticised for making insensitive remarks about certain groups. Last year, he has targeted the Hindu community. In a press conference, he had referred to Hindus as "cow urine-drinking people". Soon after, he resigned from his position in March 2019, only to be appointed again by Khan in December.