Fawad Chaudhry, Federal Minister for Science and Technology and senior leader of Pakistan Tehreel-e-Insaf (PTI), reportedly slapped prominent anchorperson and political commenter Mubashir Lucman at a wedding in Lahore. Chaudhry has shared his version and justified what he has done. Mubashir is yet to say his word on what happening in Lahore. However, Lucman has submitted an application to register a First Information Report (FIR) against the minister.
About time @ImranKhanPTI of #Pakistan put this man @fawadchaudhry in his place.
He always start a fight with journalists he disagrees with – first @samiabrahim and now @mubasherlucman https://t.co/GRKSWaVMgV— Ali Mirza (@Ali4omNY) January 6, 2020
Analysts and political commentators in Pakistan are placing Chaudhry’s “over “reaction, or relentless show of primitive mentality, into wider socio-political context where the use of violence has become a norm. Experts believe that the authorities need to be concerned about what is going on at the part of those holding public offices.
Importantly, in a recent judgment, Chief Justice of Peshawar High Court, Waqar Ahmad Seth, while sentencing former military dictator, wrote: “we direct the law enforcement agencies to strive their level best to apprehend the fugitive/convict and to ensure that the punishment is inflicted as per law and if found dead, his corpse be dragged to the D-Chowk, Islamabad, Pakistan and be hanged for 03 days”.
Analysts noted that the wording of the Special Court’s order, authored by a senior judge, is reflective of a particular mentality, certain cultural settings and peculiar intellectual currents of the age. This is believed that in Pakistan it needs to be explored and conceptualized as to why does use of force or an inclination towards primitive ideas still persist?
“It was my right,” says Chaudhry
Chaudhry was invited to Geo News talk show “Naya Pakistan” on Sunday evening where he had been invited to clarify his position on the incident. “There was a scuffle that broke out. A small fight broke out. In a fight, as usually is the case, he may have got one (slap) in, I may have hit one,” said the minister when asked to describe what had happened.
Everyone has a tolerance level. I face a lot of criticism. But I have not even blocked people on Twitter
Lucman had run a 22-minute program with a private news channel’s anchorperson Rai Saqib Kharal “explaining” that the TikTok stars had a volume of “immoral videos” of some PTI ministers and senior bureaucrats. In particular, the show claimed that the two girls had several videos of the science and technology minister and could release them at any time.
The show also claimed that the Punjab information minister had close links with the girls and had been introducing them to top political figures of the PTI government. Referring to leaked audio of Chohan giving instructions to Shah that she should steer clear of Lucman and Kharal, the show said the two girls had recorded Chohan too.
Chaudhry maintained that his respect cannot be tarnished. “I am a minister but that doesn’t mean my respect can be allowed to be tarnished like this. It can’t be that anyone should be able to accuse us and then we should be told not to react”.
In response to whether he thought he did the right thing, Chaudhry said: “Of course. It was my right. When you level such allegations anyone will react.”
Chaudhry denied reports that he had guards around him during the alleged brawl. “People who know me know that I don’t roam around with guards. In Islamabad I am alone and here too, I was alone,” he said.
A perfect case of poor impulse control?
Some senior leaders of the ruling party are said to have seriously poor impulse control. It is worth recalling that Chaudhry slapped journalist Sami Ibrahim last year in a reaction to the latter “trying to wound his (former’s) self-esteem”. Later on, the Ministry of Science and Technology issued a response to allegations that federal minister Fawad Chaudhry slapped journalist Sami Ibrahim and said that the “incident” should not be treated as a “clash between two institutions but as a conflict between two individuals”.
Moreover, PTI’s leader and Special Assistant to Prime Minister, Naeemul Haque also slapped Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) Daniyal Aziz during a political talk show on a private news channel on Tuesday night. Haque, reacting to being called a ‘thief’, also launched a tirade at the ruling party’s leader after the incident. Following the incident, Aziz and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Nafeesha Shah walked out of the TV show. Haque is infamous for physically attacking his opponents.
Clearly Naeem ul Haq has a history of intolerance and Violence, I am amazed why PTI leadership doesn't take any action.#NaeemUlHaq #ApasKiBaat @muneebfaruqpak @ShahzadIqbaal @PTIofficial @pmln_org pic.twitter.com/q8kpIplEbc— Ali Arif 🇵🇰 (@i_aliarif) May 22, 2018
Interestingly, the Geo News host pointed out that this was the second time Chaudhry had slapped someone and asked whether it was a case of poor impulse control, the minister said: “Others criticize too. But Ibrahim and Lucman, can you honestly say they are journalists? They are all in the professional incidentally.” “Everyone has a tolerance level. I face a lot of criticism. But I have not even blocked people on Twitter,” said Chaudhry.
Political analysts maintain that Justice Waqar’s words and Chaudhry Fawad’s actions are demonstrative of their inherent inclination towards primitive ideas of justice and revenge. This is yet to be seen how does the government react to Chaudhry’s repeated over-reactions?