It all started when BOL Journalist and Analyst Sami Ibrahim launched an investigative news campaign of how some elements in the ruling party are working against the interest of the country by trying to divide the country’s political leadership.
Even though no names were taken in this analysis, Fawad Chaudhry showcased his backwardness by indulging in Tweets full of inappropriate remarks against the veteran journalist and tried to start a spat that looked like that of a 10-year old and his future behaviour confirmed that indeed it was. The story is quite interesting though……
Journalism is what maintains democracy. It’s the force for progressive social change. This quote by renowed author Andrew Vachss was not just a collection of words bound beautifully together, but a statement that assures that it is necessary for any democracy to have a free media that has the freedom to state facts based on investigation. Many of the Pakistan’s known investigations have been conducted and culprits caught due to these efforts by the journalists (Case in point: Panama Leaks). Politicians and elected representatives have always strived to work for media freedom in Pakistan, however, what if some politicians abuse their powers and indulge in inappropriate behavior just to shut a certain journalist’s voice and threaten him with their influence in the government, a government which has promised to remove illegal prejudice? This is what exactly happened in the recent spat between veteran journalist Sami Ibrahim and Minister of Science and Technology, Fawad Chaudhry.
How it all Started……
Earlier in June, the senior anchorperson had alleged that some elements within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were hatching a conspiracy against Prime Minister Imran Khan to oust him and to weaken the Pakistan Army. The anchorperson through his investigations, concluded that some members of PTI will jump ship and join Pakistan People’s Party. Whether there is truth to this claim will be confirmed further in the article, but the way this claim was dealt with by the Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Fawad Chaudhry is an exemplary conduct of what exactly is the problem when it comes to dealing with pressure.
Instead of clarifying his party’s name, Mr Chaudhry responded by using slurs against the anchorperson, drawing widespread criticism from politicians, civil society and members of the journalist community. He also accused Sami of blackmailing
him when he was the information
minister. Fawad tweeted that he has initiated criminal proceedings against the senior anchorperson and he would teach him a lesson in accordance with the law.
Such language by a sitting minister alone showcases how immoral and unethical his conduct is. This is not the first time that Fawad Chaudhry has been involved in such controversies. The minister earlier in the month demonstrated his mindless speaking by calling National Accountability Bureau’s actions ‘needless’. Fawad Chaudhry also caused national embarrassment when he made a distasteful statement about Sri Lanka’s Incident.
After tweeting and defaming Sami Ibrahim on social media, the minister did not just stop there. Later that same night when both Fawad Chaudhry and Sami Ibrahim were in the same wedding function in Faisalabad, Fawad Ch attacked Sami Ibrahim from behind, which eventually led to the minister slapping him on the face. The journalist community announced protests to condemn the minister’s behaviour and expressed solidarity with the senior journalist.
People from all walks of life rightly condemned the incident.
The interaction of journalists with Fawad Chaudhry after the incident can be seen here in full video. It is clear how Fawad Chaudhry is hiding behind fake allegations to justify his actions.
The reaction from the community was so strong that Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke with Sami Ibrahim a few days after the incident. The prime minister told Sami Ibrahim that his party doesn’t “encourage such individual acts which intentionally or unintentionally undermine someone’s self-esteem and hurt anyone’s feelings. The difference of opinion should not be taken to the level of personal enmity”.
However, the phone call from PM to Sami Ibrahim should not be enough to condemn such behaviour. PTI leader Masroor Sial’s party membership was cancelled due to him physically assaulting President Karachi Press Club.
Why isn’t a course of action being taken against Fawad Chaudhry?
People with influence have constantly tried to undermine people who want to speak out in Pakistan. The inappropriate language and vulgar spat by the minister is testament to the fact that how many journalists have been ‘bullied’ by people with power. Whether the allegations placed by Sami Ibrahim were right or wrong, no individual has any right to make fun of adults by passing derogatory remarks on public forums and taking part in slapping and abusing any person in public.
This showcases how some rationally disabled people sit at the helm of power and still prefer to rule by the power of the sword rather than people friendly policies.
Is there any truth to Sami Ibrahim’s Allegations?
While Fawad Chaudhry’s allegations were certainly out of line, one should wonder whether his unprovoked actions were a defensive mechanism because Sami Ibrahim has been saying the truth.
When observed closely, Fawad Chaudhry looked like he retaliated out of desperation as the minister was caught red-handed. His recent interaction with Bilawal Bhutto Zardari might make many of you think like that. Both individuals shared a light-hearted moment during their casual meeting in the parliament’s corridor.
Bilawal quipped at Chaudhry, ‘Meray Bhai Kahan Bhag Rahay Hain’ (Where are you running, my brother), Chaudhry responded: ‘Aap Kay Liye Raasta Saaf Ker Raha Hoo’ (I am clearing way for you).
The video can be seen here:
Is it me or does this sound fishy to you? Who knows? But we can surely say that Sami Ibrahim has been up to something and we might see the biggest journalist spectacle of this year soon.