Heated exchange between FM Qureshi, Canadian journalist divides opinion

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LONDON: A heated exchange between Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and a Canadian rights in London has created a social media stir in Pakistan.

The spat took place during a conference on press freedom in London.

“You censored me, sir. I have a Twitter account in Canada. I work on something which produces Pakistani blasphemy law. You complained to Twitter which took down my tweet in Canada. Will you explain why your Islamic supremacy in Pakistan silencing my personal and journalistic freedom in Canada,” the journalist can be heard telling Qureshi.

He also blasted the organizers for inviting Qureshi to speak on human rights issues and media freedom.

“Who the hell are you to censor me in Canada? Answer me. You don’t like free speech,” the shouted before Qureshi intervened and responded to his question.

“I just respond to you sir. First of all, you want your sentiments to be perspective. Just look at the tone and tenor of you adopted. Is this the right way to ask a question? I did not censor you. How can I censor you? I am sorry you have double standards,” Qureshi shot back at the journalist.

“What you call freedom but at time you are projecting someone’s agenda,” the FM said.

Reacting to the video, Pakistani journalist Murtaza Solangi said the exchange was embarrassing.

“Quite embarrassing exchange with Shah Mehmood Qureshi in London today in the #DefendMediaFreedom conference,” Murtaza Solangi wrote.

Imran Khan’s former wife Rehman Khan also weighed in, saying the government was rightly being questioned about its blatant fascism.  

“It is not embarrassing. It is the reality. #PressFreedom Pakistani government being appropriately questioned about their blatant fascism. The person questioning is being factual while the FM is waffling nonsense typical to him,” tweeted Reham Khan.

Some Twitter users, on the other hand, praised Qureshi’s handling of the situation.

“Actually, he handled it well and put him in his place If, what the Canadian horse says is true, Pak Govt requested. Twitter complied. End of story,” Usman Bin Sohail tweeted.

“Who is this idiot sir .. this is no way to talk or ask question, he was replied in same tone … Justified.”