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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

One slap, many questions: What should Imran Khan do now?

News Analysis |

The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Naeem ul Haque has made headlines once again. A few days ago, the PTI leader slapped the Minister for Privatization, Daniyal Aziz, on air during a live programme on Geo News. The situation got worse when the Privatization Minister called the PTI leader a ‘thief’.

A few years ago, the PTI leader made headlines for sending ‘inappropriate messages’ to Reham Khan, ex-wife of Imran Khan, before her marriage with Khan, as well as throwing a glass of water on Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Jamil Soomro in a live TV show, and ‘alleged sexual harassment of women’.

Naeem ul Haque’s slap on the face of the PML-N leader brought mix reactions on social media. Some of the PTI’s diehard supporters decided to condemn Naeem ul Haq for his ‘irresponsible and unjustifiable’ behavior.

Although the PTI’s senior leadership did not comment on the matter yet, Iftikhar Durrani, head of the party’s media department, blamed Daniyal Aziz for compelling Haq to become violent.

“Aziz is one of the PML-N leaders who frequently uses foul language on TV channels. He has been appointed merely for shoe-shining of the ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, he has no credentials to become a minister,” said Durrani.

“It is their hallmark – PML-N is the custodian of vulgar language in the political history of Pakistan,” he further alleged.

Meanwhile, Naeem ul Haque took to Twitter and said that “[w]hile it was an unfortunate spur of the moment reaction, Danial Aziz’s abusive language against PTI leadership and his attack on the Pakistan Army is regrettable, unacceptable and condemnable. I hope he can mend his ways and stop spinning mistruths.”

Imran Khan praised Haq for slapping his political opponent

In a video shared by Dunya News on Twitter, Haque said: “This person (Aziz) attacked Imran Khan’s character ─ and he kept doing it, and then lying, and when he called me a thief, slapping him was a natural response,” he explained.

“Imran Khan praised it, saying that I did the right thing because he had been spitting venom for a long time.”

“All the PTI’s supporters have lauded the move,” he added.

The video created another controversy with reference to Imran Khan’s stance over the violent behavior of a senior PTI leader during a live talk show.

Naeem ul Haque soon smelled the situation and took to Twitter to offer some clarification on the matter. “Contrary to what some media is projecting, Imran Khan never appreciated the slap but commended me for countering the abusive and false onslaught of Daniyal. Imran Khan never encourages [the] use of violence anywhere, anytime,” PTI’s leader said in a Tweet.

Read more : PTI leader slaps Daniyal Aziz: Is slapping a ‘PTI culture’?

One Slap, many Questions: What should Imran Khan do now?

Naeem ul Haque, a senior PTI leader and spokesperson of Imran Khan, has made a political blunder and pushed the party into troubled waters. Naeem’s violent response to some irksome comments made by the PML-N leader is deplorable and highly condemnable. Imran Khan himself alleges his political opponents for being ‘thieves’ and ‘corrupts’ in talk shows and public rallies. If someone has made the similar comments about Imran Khan or his party members, a slap should not have been the response.

Read more : Can PTI make Pakistan a welfare state?

PTI claims to be a party struggling for change, peace, prosperity, and rule of law in Pakistan. How can a party justify its manifesto or policies if the senior leaders of the same party are not willing to restrain their actions? How can PTI talk about an open-debate, respect for dissenters and room for constructive and fair accounts of criticism if the Chairman’s spokesperson gets annoyed by some remarks of political opponents and slaps them on their faces? How will PTI ensure a peaceful, progressive and participant political culture in Pakistan if its leaders are not ready to show some grace on national TV channels? More importantly, if someone alleges you of being a ‘thief’, is it viable to slap the person without giving a second thought to it?

Imran Khan is leading a national political party. He is responsible for socializing his party members and workers so that they perfectly demonstrate PTI’s culture.

Khan should have immediately condemned Naeem ul Haque’s violent response to Daniyal Aziz’s ‘indigestible’ comments categorically and unconditionally. It would have graced PTI and its politics.

It is important to learn that violence, in any form and under any condition, is not to be tolerated or justified. Pakistan is already paying a heavy price for being a religiously extremist society. Imran Khan needs to differentiate his party from that of Moulana Khadim Hussain Rizvi. If Imran Khan fails to condemn Naeem ul Haque’s action at the moment, it may lead towards the beginning of a culture of slap within the PTI.