May 22, 2018

“Violence is justified, as long as my party is perpetrating it.”

Naeemul Haq of the PTI (pictured) slapped Daniyal Aziz of the PML-N on TV
Violence. The great means to the great end; the great end being the establishment of the Naya Pakistan. For if the end is the creation of Naya Pakistan, who cares if a few people get slapped along the way, right?

For those who still don’t know, Naeemul Haq of the PTI slapped Daniyal Aziz of the PML-N, on Muneeb Faruq’s show on Geo, after Daniyal Aziz called Naeemul Haq a ‘thief.’ What a noble man is Naeemul Haq, that he gets offended when somebody calls him a thief. Clearly, we must all side with him for he is the radical revolutionary we have been waiting for, the one who will deliver us from our penance, and then we can start actually building the Naya Pakistan.

Whether you find this sad, alarming or hilarious, there are those who actually believe everything I’ve written up there.

You see it started in 2014, when the great Imran Khan of Mianwali decided it was OK to mainstream uncouthness into Pakistan’s politics. When it was pointed out that more is expected from the leader of a party that claims to represent the educated, urban lot of Pakistan, his followers came out of the bushes like snakes and consistently asked ‘so what if he uses uncouth language?’ Well so his lackey slaps a minister on TV. That’s what. It doesn’t take a genius to draw that line. One would’ve hoped the great Khan would reprimand Naeemul Haq, like he is wont to do with Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif, but his Twitter account sits quiet today.

But Imran Khan not berating Naeemul Haq is not out the ordinary. In fact, one might go so far as to call it “mundane.” Imran Khan who indulges in uncouthness himself is hardly the kind of person you would expect to come to the aid of Daniyal Aziz, or tell his minion to apologize, or say that this is not how civilized people behave. Imran Khan then, is like Khadim Hussain Rizvi. When Rizvi was asked about the filthy, vulgar language he employs in his sermons and his homilies, he said even at the time of the prophet the companions used such language. It is nothing bad, or out of the ordinary. It didn’t take too long for that vile language to turn into a full fledged war on the state of Pakistan either.

So it should come as no surprise then that the followers of Imran Khan — the ones who claim they are the educated, urbanized, progressive, modernist people of Pakistan — say Daniyal Aziz deserved being physically assaulted because “he was taught a lesson.”

According to the perverted logic by this person, it would be quite OK now for any PML-N supporter to go and “teach” Imran Khan a lesson by punching him in the face, or “teach” Asad Umar a lesson by throwing a shoe at him, or “teach” Jehangir Tareen a lesson by violently accosting him. I mean, it is OK to use violence to teach people a lesson apparently.

This periphery that we’re standing on, is unacceptable. You may hate the words and actions that your opponent uses. You may hate their guts. You may hate the fact that they refuse to see your point of view, but know that you are in the wrong if you stand behind the person who violently accosts another person just because you don’t like the words that he’s saying.

I’ve seen Naeemul Haq up close. He can usually be found sitting at the Burning Brownie cafe in F-11 Markaz in Islamabad on weekend nights. I’ve always been put off by his vibe, but I never imagined that this lazy, cantankerous waste of human flesh would have it in him to slap a person from an opposing political party. Clearly, our politics has reached a point where this is an acceptable modus operandi.

This is not the Naya Pakistan I had envisioned when Imran Khan first coined the term. Instead of it meaning something positive or good, Naya Pakistan has become a pejorative term; the kind you want to disinfect yourself from. I really hope Imran Khan will put his money where his mouth is, and reprimand Naeemul Haq. Because if not, this will just be one more item in the list of hypocrisies Imran Khan has committed and is known for.