ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill on Thursday fired a broadside at journalist Asma Shirazi for allegedly maligning First Lady Bushra Bibi in an article about the existing political situation and the government’s handling of it.
Gill held a presser in connection with the article written by Shirazi for BBC Urdu which criticised the government without naming it or any individual, including Prime Minister Imran Khan’s wife. It said the derailing economy couldn’t be fixed by the “slaughtering of goats” or “spilling the blood of pigeons”.
The article is criticising the current economic conditions in the country and reports relating to supernatural remedies around Prime Minister Imran Khan’s private residence Banigala have brought several cabinet members face-to-face against the journalist at both mainstream and social media.
Expressing his disapproval of the article, Gill while addressing Shirazi said: “You have every right to report news if you have the proof of it, but don’t make news out of assumptions.”
He asked the journalist whether she was doing “all this after failing to find any scandal of the PM in the last three years”.
He also alleged that she had good ties with PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, saying it was routine for the journalist to speak with Maryam several times a day.
Gill said Kulsoom Nawaz, the late wife of PML-N Supremo Nawaz Sharif, also took part in politics, but the “PTI never made any statement on her character.”
He reprimanded Shirazi for “abusing” Bushra Bibi and said the premier’s wife was also a mother and a daughter. “Anyone whose mother is sworn at will feel bad,” he added.
“If you dislike the prime minister’s family, you can hold a grudge against them, but there are ethical limits.”
He said the timing of the publication of the article was surprising, highlighting that it was made public “when everyone, including the prime minister’s family, was busy celebrating the birth anniversary of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him)”.
He emphasised that it was important to analyse the context and time of when the article surfaced.
The premier’s special assistant further said people on social media would react “if the prime minister and his family are abused”.
He also expressed resentment with some senior journalists for supporting Shirazi [on Twitter] with the hashtag ‘I stand with Asma Shirazi’.
He asked the journalists if they really supported a fraternity member hurling “abuses at someone’s mother and daughter”.
Earlier, Minister for Ports and Shipping Ali Haider Zaidi said in tweet: “I usually refrain from commenting on such nonsense but you’ve crossed the line!
“Behaviour usually shows character & mindset. Sadly, yours is clearly visible in the language of your tweet & your oped! Disgusting for lack of a better word.”