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Why Imran Khan’s government is hounding a journalist

Asma Shirazi, the journalist whose wrote a scathing article about Imran Khan and Pakistan economy is now being hounded by the establishment (Pic. Courtesy womeninjournalism.org)

It all started three days ago with an article published in BBC Urdu which criticised the Imran Khan-led government for the decline in Pakistan’s economy. The journalist Asma Shirazi wrote in her article: ”Whether the black goats are beheaded or the blood of pigeons is shed, the puppets are hung or the needles are pricked, the economy is not going to recover, while the demands of the economy are demanding a change”.

The article written in Urdu, did not mention either Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan or his wife Bushra Begum but everyone knew that it referred to them.

In a special media briefing, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill on Thursday, lashed out at the journalist. Gill accused Shirazi of hurling allegations at the first lady, saying that “if you dislike the prime minister’s family, you can hold a grudge against them, but there are ethical limits” the Dawn newspaper cited Gill as saying. Calling her an agent of Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N party, he threatened her to stay within “limits”. Several local and international journalist organisations, however, have expressed concern over the attitude of the government’s ministers.

It was soon followed by the ministers and supporters of Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party who started calling journalist Shirazi as “obedient” towards a “Certified Chor” and “Absconder” an obvious reference to Nawaz Sharif.

The Human Rights Minister Shirin Mazari also joined the fray and accused the BBC of being biased in favour of India.

“Actually I have maintained for a long time that BBC is a closet Bharat Broadcasting Corporation! They would run strategically placed Indian Army ads during Kargil at peak times!! Sad to see Asma Shirazi reduce herself to such pathetic and downright low life writing,” Mazari wrote on Twitter.

Soon Mazari’s lawyer daughter Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir too joined the twitter fight and she launched a direct attack on Imran Khan.

“If the country was to be run by witchcraft, then why is the money of this nation being wasted on such a large cabinet? The country is being ridiculed with sorcery and you don't even want to talk about sorcerers. That will never happen,” she posted in Urdu.

But she got a sound scolding from her mother on Twitter.

“I am ashamed you would resort to such low personalised unsubstantiated attacks especially  since as a lawyer u shd know without any proof hurling such accusations is defamation. When all substantive issue-based criticism fails this level of a base personal attack is plain shameful.”

Imran Khan’s third wife Bushra Maneka is a topic of discussions since Imran Khan refused to sign the notification for the appointment of the Director General of Inter State Intelligence (ISI). Bushra is also known as Pinki Peerni (Pir) because she is claimed to be a faith healer. She is known as the spiritual mentor of Imran Khan. It is also said many commanders and generals including ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed are also her followers, and the Pakistani army chief doesn't like it.

Recently, the issue of Bushra was raised by the PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, without taking any name she taunted Imran Khan: ”What kind of Wazir-e-Azam (Prime Minister) is this who uses sorcery and ghosts to make important appointments in the country.”

A few days ago, Pakistan Peoples Party chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said in his speech, “I wish something would happen only through witchcraft. Our country saw four finance ministers in three years. Don’t know who is coming to show Imran the right path now.”

Also Read: Pakistan is run by Allah and Army, Imran trying to woo Allah against army