Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, the son of Haq Nawaz Jhangvi and now a sitting MPA of the Punjab Assembly, has claimed that he has given up on his sectarian past and is now more moderate. To buy into this claim would be criminally naïve. This garb of legitimacy he has tried to wear is transparent.

The son should not be punished for the sins of the father, but it is not Jhangvi’s parentage that gives one pause when a claim of being more moderate is being made – there are numerous instances of the MPA indulging in hate speech against Shias publicly. Not only does Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi hold these beliefs, but he has also actively made efforts for others to join his cause. He has also refused to denounce his past actions and statements. When asked whether he regretted the anti-Shia comments made by him in the past, his response was only to smile and state, “No comment.” So much for becoming “moderate”.

The interview in which he made the statement of moderation shows the same old Jhanvi that we are well acquainted with. While independent Shia residents in Jhang have clarified that Jhangvi’s campaign was not based on sectarian grounds, it is obvious that many of those voting for him did so on the basis of his views and what he represents.

Masroor Jhangvi does not need to be listed as an active member of Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ) to be their man. As is clear from the support that was extended to him from the group in the electoral campaign, both have a deep connection. The MPA claims that the police has harassed him consistently for his past, but can he really blame anyone but himself? He is on a local list of people with suspected ties to militants and police checks are warranted.

Jhangvi is still very much a sectarian leader, except now he also holds political office. One hollow statement to appease criticism changes nothing especially when he cannot denounce his past statements and action.