Are you sure, some readers would ask? After all, these are the shark-infested waters of the political talk show circuit we are talking about; a rude comment or two doesn’t quite cut it for a title like that.
Yes, quite aware of that. I know there are Talal Chaudhrys and Danial Azizs about town during the talk show prime time on TV. And Zulfiqar Mirzas and, even the Altaf Hussains.
And yes, I know that Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan’s sheer inability to talk about the specific issue that is under discussion is not unique to him; just cast a glance at his own party’s Naz Baloch and you will get a glimpse of that. His being ill-informed about the nitty-gritty of the issue at hand is also something that is not unique to him; just look at the PML-N’s Abid Sher Ali talk about the power crisis and the provinces’ share in it.
He is also not the only rude person around, as we have discussed earlier.
But there is rude and then there is calling-a-party-leader-a-transgender rude. Not thinly veiled slurs either, but the cuss words of a boys’ college playground scuffle.
Trained in the IJT, as plenty of our second and third-tier politicians have been, Chohan was elected to the Punjab provincial assembly in 2002 from one of the Rawalpindi seats (PP-14) on the MMA ticket before coming over to the PTI.
He quickly made a name for himself by appearing on TV and holding nothing back, moving on to become the party’s central deputy information secretary.
The purpose of this piece is not his rudeness in general but a particular incident of his regarding the PML-N’s Marvi Memon.
In the run up to the by-election in NA-122, Ms Memon tweeted a threat that someone, whom she presumed was a PTI supporter, sent her way.
Now Twitter, as we all know, limits users to 144 characters, counting spaces. So, in one tweet, she wrote how she had been threatened and, in the following tweet, she pasted the message she had been sent.
Fayyaz-ul-Hassan — not the sharpest tool in the shed, though a tool nonetheless – started going around saying that these words were hers. That it was she who was threatening people with bullets in the head if they were to misbehave.
ARY’s Waseem Badami tried to reason with the fellow on his show, who, in true fashion, started calling her names, at which point, Badami actually had to mute out his voice (he was there on video line.)
You can see in the video below.
Waseem Badami is seen pulling his hair out at one point in the video, trying to explain the not-so-complicated concept to Chohan, who, in his Punjab Assembly profile, has listed himself as a “software engineer”.
Instead of having egg on his face, Chohan was blaming Badami whom he had “proved wrong,” somehow.
Fast forward to this week, in a programme with Haneef Abbasi (PML-N) and Ali Muhammad (PTI), Badami taunted the PTI MNA and reminded him of the incident. He was quick to defend. “Fayyaz sb is a PTI tiger,” said the Mardan MNA. “He is still sticking to what he is saying.”
At first, one was taken aback to see Ali Muhammad defending the indefensible, but after googling the original video, it turned out that the PTI’s army of online followers had shared the original video as some sort of vindication of the Chohan’s, not Marvi Memon!
So maybe, Chohan is rude but not a dolt. Perhaps he is just a smart politician playing to the gallery of “educated” PTI supporters.
Post-script: The PTI leadership has been saying, in the context of its chairman’s divorce, for people to leave politics aside and not to comment on someone’s personal lives. Fair enough. For what it is worth, Nawaz Sharif has instructed his followers not to say anything to the effect. So has Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, as has the ANP’s Asfandyar Wali.
Now that that is out of the way, do try to google what the PTI’s leadership (and online trolls) have said in the past about Maryam Nawaz Sharif.
Even in the current context, Reham Khan’s reputation stands to be pilloried most not by the activists and leadership of any other party but the PTI itself.