Here are some major controversies that stirred backlash from masses and politicians alike this year:
Jan 12: Orya Maqbool Jan pins blame for rape on ‘provocative clothing’
Jan’s stance on Zainab’s murder case was that since women go around in provocative clothes, people just have enough reason to rape them since they have no control over their feelings. He said that since men are now “tired of everything they’re just going around raping and killing innocent children”.
May 31: PTI expels convict ‘Farooq Bandial’ hours after welcoming him
Amid backlash on social media, PTI had to expel Farooq Bandial from the party hours after his induction. The criticism was due to 1979 death sentences by a military court against him and four others for committing “armed dacoity” and alleged rape at the house of film actor Shabnam. His death sentence was later changed to life sentence after his family reportedly pressurised Shabnam to forgive him.
July 1: Bilawal’s convoy gets pelted in Lyari
Hundreds protested as Bilawal Bhutto Zardari led an election rally to Lyari’s Bihar area. Many resorted to stone-pelting and sloganeering against the former ruling party of Sindh. The protesters managed to smash the windshield of several vehicles. As a result, at least six PPP workers were injured. Not to mention that many other politicians also faced the wrath of their constituents during election rallies.
Aug 18: Sidhu gets accused of sedition after hugging COAS
Indian cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu received immense backlash for exchanging pleasantries and hugging Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa at Prime Minister Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony. This forced him to issue a statement that he had not signed a ‘Rafale deal’.
Aug 29: Fayazul Hassan Chohan remarks on indecent film posters
Punjab information minister used ‘questionable language’ while speaking of “vulgar” and “indecent” film posters displayed inside and outside movie theatres. “This is a strange youthfulness that’s taken over cinema houses,” he said. “Is this civilised? That you print out pictures of half-naked women and put up huge posters of them?”
Sept 3: Shehla Raza takes issue with Atif Mian’s appointment
Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) Shehla Raza drew flak for calling Atif Mian’s inclusion in the prime minister’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC) an act of hypocrisy. “The appointment of a descendant of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a close adviser was unexpected from those who declared the State of Madina as an ideal,” she added. Later, she retracted her statement and blamed social media team.
Oct 2: Rana Mashhood hints at a ‘deal’
Speaking to a local news channel, Mashhood had claimed that the next two months will be crucial because of the upcoming by-elections and his party will be able to form a government in Punjab and suggested the establishment seems to be losing faith in PTI. Later, he clarified the statement and it was reported that his party membership has been suspended.
Oct 31: Rizvi’s street politics paralyses civil society
Firebrand cleric Khadim Rizvi led widespread protests which erupted in the major cities after the Supreme Court (SC) acquitted Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row since 2010 when she was convicted on blasphemy charges. Rizvi and his fellow party leaders also passed incendiary remarks against the superior judiciary and PM Imran as well as provoking the military to stage a mutiny against General Bajwa. However, it wasn’t until almost a month later that the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) leaders were taken into the state’s “protective custody”.
Nov 16: PM calls U-turns ‘hallmark of great leadership’
PM Imran sparked nationwide responses when he said that a leader who does not take “U-turns” according to requirements of the situation is not a real leader. He had referred to Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte and had said, “Hitler and Napoleon suffered huge defeats and caused losses as they did not take U-turns.”
Nov 29: PM claims poultry can rid Pakistan of economic woes
Once again, the PM faced mockery when he claimed that with the help of poultry, poverty can be eradicated from Pakistan. He said that the government will give eggs and chickens to the rural women so they can start their own poultry business. He said that the project has been tested and the government will provide injections to them for raising the chickens faster.