Islamabad: Pakistani politicians, media and civil society representatives on Sunday condemned the attacks on PML-N leaders — former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and current foreign minister of Khwaja Muhammad Asif.
A shoe was thrown at Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Lahore on Sunday as he was about to address Punjab’s Jamia Naeemia madrasa. The shoe was thrown by a former seminary student who also chanted slogans against Sharif.
The incident took place only a day after ink was thrown on Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif in Sialkot at a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) convention on Saturday. The man was thrashed by PMLN workers before being handed over to police, however, the minister called for his release saying he didn’t know him and had no enmity with him.
Both the events prompted social media outrage where many prominent politicians and social media activists, condemned the attack on the PML-N leaders.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and his party criticised the act. “This is against our moral values” Khan said, adding that “I want to tell both PTI workers and the public that throwing shoes or ink on people is not the right way [to protest].”
Reacting to the incident, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the culture of lack of tolerance should not be publicised. “It was a very unethical act.”
Even staunch opponents of PML-N strongly deplored the act. “I have serious political differences with Khawaja Asif, but I strongly condemn the throwing of ink on his person. Not only are such tactics uncivilized, they have no place in a democracy,” remarked PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood.
Opposition MNA Shaikh Rashid said that “Political differences apart, these acts are highly condemnable.”
Responding to the event, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman tweeted “Absolutely condemnable! Ink and shoe-throwing debase the political environment and degrade public values.”
Leader of Muttahida Quami Movement — Pakistan’s (MQM-P) Faisal Subzwari also condemned the incident.
On Twitter, several PML-N leaders, including Maryam Nawaz Sharif, replaced their profile picture with that of Khawaja Muhammad Asif to express solidarity with him.
Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal maintained that “Recent incidents of throwing shoes and ink at PML-N leaders in sequence are deplorable and I hope that it is not an orchestrated pattern. Those doing so only show their moral bankruptcy.”
Last month, the senior PML-N leader Minister Ahsan Iqbal also became the victim of shoe-throwing incident at part convention in Narowal.
Pakistan’s journalist community has also widely denounced the “shameful trend”. Journalist Saadia Afzaal said, “Shoe attack on Nawaz Sharif or throwing ink on Khwaja Asif is highly offensive, such incidents have to be unequivocally condemned.”
Media personalities, including Geo News TV anchor Hamid Mir, called on all political parties to condemn the incident lest shoe-throwing becomes a political trend.
“We must all condemn it categorically. This must not be encouraged at all,” said senior journalist Imtiaz Gul.