Salman Ahmed, the Junoon singer and PTI activist received backlash on social media for a crass sexist slur on PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. Salman Ahmed posted a morphed picture of Bilawal Bhutto-with long nails, loads of makeup, and funky jewellery. According to Salman Ahmed, his tweet was a usual political rant against the opponents.
While unleashing political rants and subjecting opponents to criticism is a usual affair in politics-it was the style of criticism of Salman Ahmed on Bilawal Bhutto that irked social media users. He wrote the caption in Punjabi language, which loosely translated to “When a jackal is about to die, it runs away from the city.”
It’s good to keep screen shots for troll armies . pic.twitter.com/wg7Vbjxiyr
— salman ahmad (@sufisal) July 16, 2020
Pakistani Twitter users slammed the singer for breaching ethics and moralities while using his right to freedom of expression. Netizens argued that his tweet likened Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to trans-gender-implying that the disempowered group and femininity are worthy of being mocked.
But surprisingly, a massive number of Twitter users liked his tweet. Also, his tweet was shared more than 1000 times on the micro-blogging site Twitter. While the singer did not apologize to Bilawal Bhutto, the strong backlash forced him to delete the tweet.
Passing sexist slurs on Bilawal Bhutto and mocking him in terms of femininity is not a rare instance. His opponents often deride him with pejorative feminine slurs like ‘Billo Rani’.
Salman Ahmed receives backlash over insensitive joke on Bilawal
A score of leading political and rights activists condemned the tweet of Salman Ahmed. Rights activist, M. Jibran Nasir said “I only see a follower following truly in footsteps of his political inspiration and leader. This reflects on the political training of PTI. It would be unfair to only put the burden of this on the singer and not give any credit to his Kaptaan who is the cause of this rot.”
I only see a follower following truly in footsteps of his political inspiration and leader. This reflects on the political training of PTI. It would be unfair to only put burden of this on the singer and not give any credit to his Kaptaan who is the cause of this rot. https://t.co/tJ4YGt9iH3
— M. Jibran Nasir (@MJibranNasir) July 15, 2020
“When Filth overwhelms one’s thought process and when a human degenerates to a scum.. this is what a sick mind exudes. Absolute Shame Salman Ahmad. You were once liked by many,” wrote anchorperson Muneeb Farooq while calling out Salman Ahmed for mocking Bilawal Bhutto.
“And what exactly do you want to prove with this picture? Comparing Bilawal to women or trying to say he’s like women? In both cases, do you think it’s an insult to be like women? Just asking coz I’m curious about how a “Sufi” thinks,” wrote Marvi Sirmed in response to the tweet of Salman Ahmed.
And what exactly do you want to prove with this picture? Comparing Bilawal to women or trying to say he's like women? In both cases, do you think it's an insult to be like women? Just asking coz I'm curious about how a "sufi" thinks.
— Marvi Sirmed (@marvisirmed) July 14, 2020
A cross-section of PTI advocates approved the unpleasant remarks on Bilawal Bhutto-arguing that this is the same way the trolls of opponents shame and disrespect the leadership of PTI, Prime Minister Imran Khan and his third wife, Bushra Maneka.
However, a few observers noted that being subjected to sexual slurs and gender-based mockery himself, Bilawal Bhutto failed to break the trend of misogyny in the politics of Pakistan.
Bilawal Bhutto advocated misogyny in Pakistani politics?
Once in response to the question of his marriage, Bilawal Bhutto gave a witty response that later invited criticism on social media.
Bilawal was asked when is he planning to marry to which he responded that “We’re also discussing] if I should marry one woman or four… one from each of Pakistan’s provinces. We are investigating what the electoral impact of that will be. When the report is complete, I’ll present it to you.”
According to several commentators on social media, Bilawal Bhutto had tarnished his image of a progressive, young male leader hailing from the feudal setup.
Though he managed to garner few laughs, people on social media were irked by his comment of mulling over having one wife or four from each province. The netizens believe his statement reflected the engraved disrespect for women as if they were a ladder to pursue the political agendas.