Islamabad: Pakistan Punjab's Information Minister Fayyaz ul Hassan Chohan of the ruling PTI was sacked on Tuesday over his derogatory remarks against the Hindu community which drew intense criticism from members of his party and social media users.
While Dawn News quoted Shahbaz Gill, the spokesperson for Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, as saying that Chohan resigned, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) tweeted that he was "removed" and added that "bashing someone's faith should not be a part of any narrative".
Chohan's easing out followed reports that Prime Minister Imran Khan had himself taken serious notice of his remarks, although those reports were denied by the party, according to Dawn.
At an event in Lahore on February 24, Chohan referred to the Hindu community as "cow urine-drinking people".
"We are Muslims and we have a flag, the flag of Maula Ali's bravery, the flag of Hazrat Umar's valour. You (Hindus) don't have that flag, it isn't in your hands," he had said.
"Don't operate under the delusion that you're seven times better than us. What we have, you can't have, you idol worshippers," he said.
As a video clip of the derisive remarks went viral on Monday, Twitterati on Tuesday using the hashtag "#SackFayazChohan" asked the government to remove him from his post.
Following the criticism from the PTI for his insensitivity towards the Hindus, a minority in Pakistan, the Minister apologized and said his comments were directed only at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian media.
"I was referring to Narendra Modi, RAW and Indian media," he said on Samaa TV's programme Naya Din on Tuesday. "The remarks weren't meant for any person in Pakistan. My message was for Indians.
"I didn't demean any religion. The things I said are a part of Hindutva. I said things that are a part of their religion," he added.
Khan termed Chohan's remarks as "inappropriate" and said: "We will not tolerate remarks against any minority community."
The Prime Minister's Special Assistant on Political Affairs, Naeemul Haque, in a tweet said the PTI government "will not tolerate this nonsense from a senior member of the government or from anyone".
Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal also took to Twitter, saying: "Pakistan proudly owns the white in the flag as much as the green, values contributions of the Hindu community and honours them as our own."
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari on Monday was unequivocal in her condemnation of her fellow PTI member's remarks.
"No one has the right to attack anyone else's religion. Our Hindu citizens have given sacrifices for their country"
Finance Minister Asad Umar said: "Hindus of Pakistan are as much a part of the fabric of the nation as I am. Remember the flag of Pakistan is not just green... it is not complete without the white which represents the minorities."