Pakistan’s political elite are redefining television debates. Screaming and shouting matches have evolved into all-out physical brawls with opponents slapping and punching each other. Jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan seems to be the trigger.
His lawyer Sher Afzal Khan Marwat and Pakistan Muslim League-N Senator Afnan Ullah Khan started attacking each other on the TV show Kal Tak, which is hosted by the hugely popular Javed Chaudhry on Express TV on Wednesday.
It all began with Afnan Ullah Khan abusing Imran Khan, calling him a ‘bootlicker’ who was working against the interests of Pakistan. The senator also accused former PM of holding talks with the military, and soon it devolved into personal attacks against each other and their families.
In front of the host, the audience and the crew, Marwat got up and hit the senator’s head. But Afnan retaliated by pushing and punching Marwat.
At first, Chaudhry tried to calm them down. But when his guests started rolling on the floor, he got up and the crew intervened. The clip showed crew members trying to break the fight.
Soon after the incident, Afnan Ullah posted a video saying that as ‘Nawaz Sharif’s soldier’ he practices non-violence, but the slap was an important lesson for Imran Khan’s supporters.
“Kahin shakal dikhane ka qaabil nahi rahenge. Badi badi kaali aenekein pehnni padegi (They won’t be able to show their faces anywhere and will have to wear big black glasses to hide themselves),” he wrote.
To this, Marwat responded by tweeting that he could not remain quiet while Imran Khan was being abused. Calling him not only a follower but a devotee of Khan, he wrote that ‘there was no option left’ and that he has no regrets.
Sher Ali Khan Marwat in a post said the TV show host was “spreading misinformation” about the “unpleasant incident”.
“He is spreading rumours that my opponent was a superman. He is not telling the reality which is that Afnan Ullah ran away from the studio and took shelter in a nearby room, which I came to know after watching his programme today,” Mr Marwat said.
He added that he plans to “initiate a defamation case and criminal complaint” against the senator.
This was not the first time that such an incident had taken place on a live television show.
In 2021, former PPP lawmaker Abdul Qadir Mandokhel and then-PTI leader Firdous Ashiq Awan, who has now joined the Istihkam-e-Pakistan Party (IPP), got into a fight during a live show.
In a viral video of the incident, the two could be seen getting into a heated verbal exchange on a television show.
In a verbal duel during the show, Abdul Qadir Mandokhel accused Ashiq Awan of indulging in corruption.