LAHORE – The efforts by Punjab government to rename Shadman Chowk as Bhagat Singh Chowk received a setback on Wednesday when the place was named as Hurmat Rasool Chowk by Tehreek Hurmat Rasool (THR), a group of over two dozen religious parties and local traders. THR activists and traders put up large banners, sign boards and posters at the site declaring the renaming of the chowk as Hurmat Rasool Chowk.

THR staged a protest against government’s move, terming it an attack on the ideology of Pakistan and constitution. Addressing a press conference, Convener THR Maulana Ameer Hamza said that a country created in the name of Islam must not name public places after heroes of non-Muslims and enemies who had dismembered the country and had been trying to destroy it. “The chowk has now been named as Hurmat Rasool Chowk, and we will launch anti government movement if anybody dared to change it to please India,” he said.

He asked why the rulers did not remember names of any Muslim heroes to name the roads and squares after them, adding that India had not named anything after Muslim heroes despite that the sub-continent was ruled by Muslim for about 600 years and that more Muslims live in India than Pakistan. He said why the proponents of Bhagat Singh chowk failed to see that India had illegally occupied the residence of Quaid-e-Azam, Jinnah House in Mumbai for 66 years and demanded rulers should take it back from Delhi with the rent money for that period.

Qari Yakoob Sheikh questioned the loyalty of Muslim League with Pakistan Ideology, Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal, saying by such a move the ruling party of Punjab had betrayed its commitment with the country and its title of creator of Pakistan.

Jamiat Ahle Hadith leader Sh Naeem Badshah said naming square after a Sikh hero would hurt feelings of millions of Pakistanis whose ancestors were killed by Sikhs during migration from India, adding that Sikhs slaughtered more Muslims during independence than Hindus.