Of rampaging government ministers | Pakistan Today

Of rampaging government ministers

  • Faisal Vawda’s boot and Fawad Chaudhry’s slap

What exactly was PEMRA trying to achieve or say by banning Kashif Abbasi and his television show rather than PTI Federal Minister for Water Resources Faisal Vawda, after the latter’s ‘vulgar/brash performance’ on Mr Abbasi’s television talk show? Whatever was behind PEMRA’s reaction, it was almost certainly to do with the same boot, and with doing what the authorities are best at doing with boots.

On the subject of rampaging government officials, there was also the incident just a few days earlier involving Fawad Chaudhry, also a member of the PTI and currently the Federal Minister for Science and Technology when, at a wedding, he slapped Mubashir Luqman, a television news anchor, accusing Luqman of defaming him in a video uploaded to YouTube.

This is not the first time the Federal Minister for Science and Technology has lost it. Some months earlier he slapped a journalist for making some other allegations against him. Whether or not his claims of being defamed are true, is beside the point. The point is that he, a senior member of government, assaulted a person, and has not as yet been pulled up for his actions.

The worst thing to be in Pakistan is a poor man, or a person without ‘contacts’, and since the two generally go together, and since this is a Third World country and most of its population is poor, it makes Pakistan not a very pleasant country to be a citizen of in general. And yet this government claims to be founding a state resembling Medina in its prime. Give us a break. It doesn’t take the Chaudhrys and the Vawdas of this world to prove that this is a laugh; the state of the minorities and the manipulation of justice at every step is more than enough to prove it. In a state with any claim to justice, no one is above the law. Is this how it is in Pakistan?

To excuse his behavior, Mr. Chaudhry said that he had no choice but to defend himself, that anyone would lose his cool in such circumstances. He said that being a politician was no reason for people to defame them as they wished, and that they (the politicians) had no other recourse to justice.

Well, admitted it is a sad state of affairs, but it still does not allow anyone, in particular government officials who are expected to display more responsible behavior, to take the law into their own hands.

It should also make these officials sympathise with the rank and file of citizenry which has no one looking to lick their boots and is therefore infinitely more open to such persecution. If Mr. Chaudhry feels there is no recourse to justice for him, a Federal Minister, what about the rest of us? What does he or his government plan to do about that?

As far as one is aware, no action has been taken in the case of Mr Vawda as a result of any of his antics– since Mr. Vawda makes it a habit to flaunt boots as well as guns in public. On the last such occasion, the one with Mr Abbasi, sense appears to have prevailed and PEMRA’s ban on Mr Abbasi and his programme has been withdrawn, but Mr Vawda has been allowed to walk off without reprimand. Oh no, sorry, apparently the Prime Minister has banned him, the Federal Minister of Water Resources, from appearing on talk shows for all of two weeks. Stiff punishment.

As for Mr Chaudhry, the Federal Minister for Science and Technology, he has got clean off after attacking two persons, each time at a wedding. Shouldn’t he at the very least be banned from attending any more weddings? Not much of a punishment, that, but it could at least be a pretense of some kind of action taken against an act of arrogant hooliganism, instead of no action at all.

Laws do exist in this country, to punish slander, theft, murder, corruption– all the usual list of criminal offences. But these offences do not just exist, they thrive.

The worst thing to be in Pakistan is a poor man, or a person without ‘contacts’, and since the two generally go together, and since this is a Third World country and most of its population is poor, it makes Pakistan not a very pleasant country to be a citizen of in general. And yet this government claims to be founding a state resembling Medina in its prime. Give us a break. It doesn’t take the Chaudhrys and the Vawdas of this world to prove that this is a laugh; the state of the minorities and the manipulation of justice at every step is more than enough to prove it. In a state with any claim to justice, no one is above the law. Is this how it is in Pakistan?

Rabia Ahmed

The writer is a freelance columnist. Read more by her at http://rabia-ahmed.blogspot.com/



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