A video from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s rally in Islamabad showing former deputy speaker Qasim Suri whispering in Imran Khan’s ear, asking him to add ‘Islamic touch’ to his speech has gone viral on social media. Right after Suri’s advice, Khan declares himself an ‘Aashiq-e-Rasool’ while addressing his supporters.
In video footage, Khan can be seen standing atop his container, smiling at the crowd as the music blares on. Qasim Suri then leans towards Khan and begins to whisper in his ear, at which point Khan moves the microphone away.
But the mic is still able to catch Suri telling the party chairperson to ‘add an Islamic touch’ to his address, and telling him to give an example of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Moments later, Khan is heard telling the crowd that he considers himself an Aashiq-e-Rasool.
The exchange took place during the PTI’s long march to Islamabad, which after a day full of chaos, was called off towards the end. Imran ended up giving the government a 6-day ultimatum, demanding the dissolution of the assemblies, or fresh elections in June 2022.
The PTI chairperson also said that if his demands were not met, he would return to Islamabad in 6 days with the ‘entire nation’ in tow.
Social media users are not convinced by the addition of the ‘Islamic touch’, with many calling it an exploitation of religion.
The use of religion in Pakistani politics – commonly referred to as the ‘religion card – is not a novel occurrence. However in recent years, the PTI has exceedingly used religious rhetoric in political speeches, often at the expense of minorities, which has very frequently earned them the ire of the internet.