SACM for information Firdous Ashiq Awan has got a problem. Hardly had the furore died down of her tonguelashing of a hapless AC Sialkot at a Ramazan Bazar, that she plunged into controversy once again by slapping PPP MNA Abdul Qadir Mondokhail for having called her corrupt.
The first thing is the violent reaction to an imputation against one’s personal integrity. The SACM should remember the number of times she herself has made such imputations against members of the opposition. She cannot be blamed for this, because her party chief, and the party faithful, have vocally made allegations against opposition leaders. Opposition stalwarts may have grown visibly hot under the collar, but it is PTI people who have hit out physically.
Apart from the inability to take what they have themselves been dishing out, the advisability of trying to settle anything by physical violence is not rational. Clearly, Dr Awan suffered a rush of blood. That is no excuse. The party’s head has been leading the chorus trying to howl down the opposition leaders with cries of corruption, and it is perhaps too much to expect from them or their followers to keep quiet.
Dr Awan has now been sacked already from the Federal Cabinet, where she was SAPM, now to take on this job. Though she reports to Punjab CM Usman Buzdar, her appointment must have the approval of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He not only took no action against previous talk-show violence, he overlooked her outburst against the AC Sialkot. Not only must there be an understanding among all parties of how far they are to go in making political attacks, but he will have to set a personal example. Otherwise, a shoe was flung at Mian Nawz Sharif, and recently French President Emanuel Macron got slapped. Mr Khan must ensure that the dignity of his office is not violated. Not only is this incident, sadly not the first, it is unlikely to be the last, if the culture of school-playground incivility that has been brought in to political discourse, is allowed to continue.