Jinnah Park vandalized days before major Pakistani celebration

Jinnah Park vandalized days before major Pakistani celebration

Ahmar Khan, CTV Winnipeg
Published Saturday, August 18, 2018 5:00PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, August 18, 2018 5:01PM CST

A few days away from celebrating Pakistan’s Independence Day in Jinnah Park, members of the community found the Jinnah Park sign to be vandalized.

“It had been cut in half from the bottom. I came early in the (Friday) morning to see what happened and saw someone has used a saw to cut the sign,” said Rashid Ahmed, Pakistani Community of Winnipeg leader. “Then the the city took it away.”

The vandalism happened days after the park began gaining notoriety after Conservative MP and Caucus member Maxime Bernier named Jinnah Park in a tweet of ‘extreme multiculturalism.’

Bernier sent out a tirade of tweets last Sunday regarding diversity and multiculturalism and how too much could water down Canadian values. 

The park based in Winnipeg’s South End is named after Pakistan’s founding father and was inaugurated in May after the city approved the name. 

“The sign is a symbol of unity for the Pakistani community in Winnipeg,” said Ahmed. 

He and others in the community believe the tweets sent out by Bernier that brought the park’s name under a national spotlight motivated the vandalism. 

“I think it’s been done because of the tweet by Conservative MP, Maxime Bernier. It generated a storm, a lot of criticism,” said Ahmed. “You always find some people in a community who put two sides against each other. I think that is what happened here.”

Despite the criticism of the park being named after Jinnah, someone without a direct tie to Canada, Ahmed said the park celebrates unity.

“We as Pakistani-Canadian’s love multiculturalism because that is the strength of our society, it speaks about Friendly Manitoba, how cohesive out society is, how we respect each other.”

Ahmed said he plans on filing a police report regarding the incident.

Masroor Khan, a fellow leader of the Pakistanis in Winnipeg group believes there are more peaceful ways to handle the discourse than the violence. 

“To Maxime Bernier and the people who vandalized this sign, maybe we can sit down and share our thoughts and cherish and celebrate our differences.”

Khan hopes good can come out of the attack, and sees it as an opportunity to get on the same page.

“I don’t think the vandalism hurts the relationships, I think there are some misconceptions and differences of opinion that can be sorted out very conveniently.” 

Pakistanis will be gathering at Jinnah Park on Sunday, August 19 as nearly 500 people are expected to show for celebrations. The festivities begin at 4 p.m.

Published at Sat, 18 Aug 2018 19:00:00 -0400