Pak activists support Bhagat Singh renaming

Bhagat Singh

Civil society activists have filed two applications in a Pakistani court asking it to make them parties to a case challenging the renaming of a traffic roundabout in Lahore after freedom fighter Bhagat Singh.

Activists Taimur Rehman and Saeeda Diep filed the applications in the Lahore High Court yesterday through lawyer Yasir Latif Hamdani.

They contended that a frivolous impression was created by Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool, the petitioner in the case, that the decision to rename Fawara Chowk at Shadman after Bhagat Singh was a "conspiracy against Pakistan".

However, the office of the registrar of the High Court raised objections to the applications.

The applicants stated that the renaming of the roundabout after Bhagat Singh was a "supreme act of patriotism".

They said Pakistan is a Muslim country where everyone respects and cherishes the Prophet Mohammed.

They said the Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool had no locus standi in the matter as Bhagat Singh was known to hold no animosity towards Islam or the Prophet.

They argued that Bhagat Singh was a non-communal freedom fighter who stood for the independence of the subcontinent from British imperialism for all people, including Muslims.

The applicants also said the Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasool was incensed by the move to rename the roundabout, which was earlier named after Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, who in his writings abused and attacked Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

They said it was true that Ali came up with the name Pakistan but it was well-known that he distanced himself from the country after its creation in 1947 and chose to live in Britain for the rest of his life and wrote against Jinnah and the Muslim League.

They further argued that the decision of the Lahore city district government to rename the roundabout was a legitimate exercise of executive authority which could not be impugned as it was an executive decision and was certainly not anti-Pakistan or anti-Islam by any stretch of imagination.

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