Protest or harassment?

PTI supporters were seen heckling Marriyum Aurangzeb who was caught in the line of fire at a coffee shop in London

September 28, 2022

Yet again, PTI supporters abroad were seen heckling Imran Khan’s opposition, and this time it was Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb who was caught in the line of fire at a coffee shop in London. The minister — who had a stopover in London on way back from New York where the 77th session of the UN General Assembly took place — stood as onlookers chanted chorni (female thief) while filming her. Before this, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal was heckled at in a restaurant in Punjab’s city of Bhera. Some even went so far as to chant abusive slogans to Pakistani ministers within the grounds of Masjid-e-Nabawi but were subsequently arrested by Saudi officials.

It is ironic that PTI supporters resort to such degrading act, believing it as a way to show their patriotism and love for their country. Khan prided himself on having the moral high ground, but the way his supporters are acting indicates the general mindset that is being perpetuated by the PTI leadership — also evident through Khan’s boisterous speeches in which he uses words like cherry blossom. This has given political mudslinging a new lease of life and will only increase victimisation between the two opposing forces in the future.

While citizens are well within their right to protest, it must be done in decent and moral manner. There is a fine but clear line between protest and harassment, with these incidents edging towards the latter. The fact of the matter is that a decorum must be maintained by all that hold Pakistan near and dear to their hearts as we all are actively representing our country through our actions and words. This does not mean forgetting our corrupt history, but instead working towards greater accountability in a lawful and moral manner or through the political and democratic process.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 28th, 2022.

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