By now the ink attack on Khawaja Asif yesterday is old news. However, for those of you who might still be unaware of the distasteful incident, here is a quick recap.
Minister for External Affairs, Khawaja Asif was in Sialkot yesterday addressing a rally of PML-N workers. A man, identified as Bilal Haris, mounted the stage behind the minister and as soon as he was close enough, he threw ink on Asif’s face.
The accused was immediately taken into custody. However, he was later released on Khawaja Asif’s insistence, who stated that the accuser did not have any personal enmity with him and had probably carried out the act on a political rival’s behest in return for money. The accuser, on his part maintained that he threw ink on Khawaja Asif because he believed that the latter was a blasphemer.
Needless to say, as soon as the word got out, the ink attack on Khawaja Asif became national news and a viral trend on social media.
Interestingly, in a rare show of solidarity, leaders and supporters of PTI have come out in the minister’s support, condemning the incident.
Though Khawaja Asif is a ruthless crook & has churned out extreme filth on PTI women but having said that, I strongly condemn this incident of throwing ink on him. This is a dangerous trend and we all must shun & discourage it and promote tolerance to difference of opinion
— Usman Dar (@UdarOfficial) March 10, 2018
I hate PML N and Khawaja Asif from the core of my heart but throwing ink on someone is something pathetic. Please Discouarge such things. pic.twitter.com/bSowA9gRIe
— Sir Saith Abdullah (@SaithAbdullah99) March 10, 2018
Many citizens have also taken to the micro-blogging website to caution people against condoning the ink attack on Khawaja Asif.
Anyone would be crazy to endorse the ink throwing incident/act on Khawaja Asif. Even if you let your blind animosity and hatred guide you into appreciating it then keep in mind that it can easily be repeated against your leadership. It's wrong no matter how you justify it.
— Blue on Blue (@razzblues) March 10, 2018
Irrespective of the political affiliation, everyone should condemn this sad incident. This is not the way to protest in a literate world. Great humanly response by Khawaja Asif shows him a great leader
— Hina Parvez Butt (@hinaparvezbutt) March 11, 2018
This is not the first time that a notable has been made a target of an ink attack. In 2007 ink was thrown on Ahmed Raza Kasuri by an angry lawyer.
Intelligentsia has been quick to draw parallels, stating that there is no room for such behaviour in a civilized society.
It was wrong when it happened to Dr. Sher Afgan, Ahmed Raza Kasuri and Arbab Raheem. It was reprehensible what happened to Khawaja Asif. Thoroughly condemnable.
— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) March 10, 2018
There are several forms of political protest; some more subversive than the others. Thought throwing ink on the face of Ahmad Raza Kasuri in 2007 was equally in bad taste as is the incident with Khawaja Asif this evening.
— Salman Masood (@salmanmasood) March 10, 2018
Many citizens are particularly worried about the accuser’s motivation behind the attack. Given that the misuse of the blasphemy law has cost Pakistan innocent lives in the past, people are in no mood to make light of the incident.
To the people making light of Khawaja Asif getting inked.
1. Grow up.
2. It was a TLP member. He believes Khawaja sahab is a blasphemer.
Now reevaluate yourselves.
— BuffetKhor (@BuffetKh0r) March 10, 2018
The person who threw ink on our foreign minister Khawaja Asif, deserves a strict punishment. And such a behavior is used as a tactic to undermine the politicians and democracy.
— Waqas Habib Rana (@waqas464) March 10, 2018
Khawaja Asif has always been rude, absusive & condescending to women specially in the NA & is a poor role model for youth.
However, I condemn the actions of the person who threw ink on him in public. This is a cheap & repulsive action. Any physical intimidation is unacceptable.
— Munaza Hassan (@MunazaHassan) March 10, 2018
Not a trend one can encourage or endorse. Highly condemn the throwing of ink at Khawaja Asif.
Really bad precedent. Wrong!
— Sikander F. Bhadera (@SikanderFayyaz) March 11, 2018
Although many of the condemnations were made rather begrudgingly, there is no denying that even this “feeble” show of solidarity is a welcome change in Pakistan’s otherwise highly hostile political environment.
There are many, many ways of protesting our differences, but physical intimidation can, under no circumstances be endorsed as one of them. The fact that Pakistan has come out strongly against the incident is a manifestation of political maturity and certainly a move in the right direction.