LAHORE – Amir Jamaat-i-Islami Sirajul Haq and leading analysts today criticized the government for ending the Iqbal Day holiday at a function held at Aiwan-i-Iqbal. Federal Minister for Information Pervaiz Rashid defended the government decision.

Besides Sirajul Haq the speakers at the function included Governor Punjab Rafiq Rajwana, Orya Maqbool Jan, Mujibur Rehman Shami and Sajjad Mir. Punjab Governor Rafique Rajwana presided over the function.

People from different walks of life attended the function held to commemorate the Allama Iqbal’s 138th birth anniversary.

Sirajul Haq criticized the people who called themselves liberal. He slammed the so called liberalism. Haq said that secularism and liberalism is not the destination of the people of Pakistan rather they want Islamic democratic welfare state, which was the vision of Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal. By cancelling the Iqbal Day holiday, the government intentionally tried to please the secular forces within and outside Pakistan, he was of the view.

Punjab Governor Rajwana in response to JI chief said that liberalism did not mean that people of Pakistan were not following the teachings of Islam or they God forbid were trying to malign the Islamic image of country.

“Liberalisms means that people of Pakistan are moderate and peace lovers and they are sovereign, independent and are against any kind of violence,” he explained.

Pervaiz Rasheed defended the government step of cancelling the Iqbal Day holiday. “We can pay better tribute to our national poet and thinker by working on his birth anniversary. Iqbal’s message for Muslims is not to sit idle. He always wanted the people to work hard,” said the minister.

He said he was expecting a debate on Iqbal’s philosophy of self and selflessness but he had to hear the “philosophy of holiday” here.

JI chief Sirajul Haq, later, visited Iqbal Mausoleum and laid floral wreath on it. He offered Fateh for Allama Iqbal’s soul. Talking to the media he said Jamaat is a democratic party and values the democratic norms. “We have voted for PML-N candidate for speaker Ayaz Sadiq because PTI had not requested us to vote for their candidate,” he said.