Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Saturday he slapped journalist Sami Ibrahim in a reaction to the latter “trying to wound his self-esteem”.
Fawad, who attracted flak after news emerged that he slapped Ibrahim in a wedding ceremony on Friday, said the incident should be considered a clash between “two individuals rather than institutions”.
The journalist community took exception to the act and demanded action against Fawad for such an act, prompting a response from the minister himself.
“To term a patriotic Pakistani and government office holder as an agent of [enemy agencies] is contrary to moral and journalistic ethics,” the statement issued by the minister said.
“Along with protesting against [Chaudhry’s] actions, [people must] also ask Sami Ibrahim why he trampled over a patriotic Pakistani’s self-esteem,” it added.
Senior journalist Sami Ibrahim on Friday tweeted that Chaudhry had slapped and cursed him without any provocation. It also accused the former information minister of hurling threats.
Earlier in June, the senior anchorperson had alleged that some elements within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were hatching a conspiracy against Prime Minister Imran Khan to oust him and to weaken the Pakistan Army. He alleged that Fawad Chaudhry was among the group who were conspiring against the incumbent government.
The minister responded by using slurs against the anchorperson, drawing widespread criticism from politicians, civil society and members of the journalist community. He also accused Sami of blackmailing him when he was the information minister.
On Friday, Fawad tweeted that he has initiated criminal proceedings against the senior anchorperson and he would teach him a lesson in accordance with the law. However, later that night when both of them met at a wedding function in Faisalabad, they had a bitter argument, which led to the minister slapping him on the face.
Meanwhile, the journalist community has announced that protests would be held on Saturday to condemn the minister’s behaviour and to express solidarity with the senior journalist.