Hardline Islamist leader Saad Rizvi has reportedly asked the Pakistani government to go to other countries with Quran in one hand and a suitcase of “nuclear bomb” in the other one and then demand money, instead of begging for aid from the world.
Rizvi heads the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party, which was previously banned.
The comments were reportedly made earlier in January when Rizvi was talking about the issue of the burning of the Quran in Sweden and the Netherlands. He said that the Shehbaz Sharif-led government’s response on the issue was weak.
In a video that has gone viral, Rizvi said: “They are sending the prime minister (Shehbaz Sharif), his entire cabinet and chief of army staff to other countries to beg for economic aid. I ask why are they doing this? They say the Pakistani economy is in danger.”
“Instead, I advise them to take Quran in one hand and the atom bomb suitcase in the other, and take the cabinet to Sweden, and say that we have come for the security of the Quran. If this entire universe does not fall under your feet, then you can change my name,” he added.
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The video of Rizvi’s statement has emerged at a time when reports claimed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has rejected Pakistan’s revised Circular Debt Management Plan (CDMP).
News agency The Associated Press reported on January 27 that about 12,000 Islamists from the TLP party rallied in Lahore, the capital of the eastern Punjab province, to protest against incidents related to the burning of the Quran in the two European countries.
In his speech to the demonstrators, Saad Rizvi, the head of the TLP, asked the government to lodge a strong protest with Sweden and the Netherlands so that such incidents don’t happen again.
However, there’s no clarity on whether or not Rizvi made the “nuclear bomb” comments at that mentioned rally.
Controversy erupted earlier this month when Rasmus Paludan, who is a far-right activist from Denmark, burned the Quran while staging a protest outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm.
A few days later, Edwin Wagensveld, who is a far-right leader of the Pegida movement in the Netherlands, tore pages out of a copy of the Quran near the Dutch Parliament.