Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters’ most recent online campaign against journalist Asma Shirazi following an ARY News report making false claims against her has been widely condemned.
In a barrage of tweets on Wednesday night, Special Assistant to Prime Minister of Pakistan on Political Communication Dr. Shabaz Gill had lambasted Asma Shirazi and her ‘stinking journalism,’ claiming that she disdainfully ‘attacked’ other women.
In another tweet, he called for Shahabaz to publicize her financial accounts and ‘first class ticket purchase receipts,‘ seemingly insinuating that she had received bribes.
ان کے مطابق صرف ان کا ہی کردار ہے باقی دوسرں کی عورتوں کو گالی گلوچ کرنے کا پورا اختیار دیا ہوا ہے مریم صفدر نے انکو۔یہ بدبودار صحافت آپکو مبارک ہو جس میں گھر بیٹھی عورتوں پر تبرہ پڑنا آپکو درست لگتا ہے۔ آپکا نقاب اتر چکا۔اب اس صحافت کی جعلسازی بد زبانی اور بہتان بازی پکڑی جا چکی https://t.co/tztZy9Gsqk pic.twitter.com/oNJa89RPXZ
— Dr. Shahbaz GiLL (@SHABAZGIL) January 19, 2022
Posting from the party’s official Twitter account, PTI tacked on its own statement directed at Shirazi in English, saying “It’s ironic that you got hurt by just one remark while you (being a woman) targeted a woman in an article you authored. This is extremely hypocritical!”
It's ironic that you got hurt by just one remark while you (being a woman) targeted a woman in an article you authored. This is extremely hypocritical! https://t.co/quyS2Ros7g
— PTI (@PTIofficial) January 19, 2022
In response, various prominent journalists have denounced the ruling party’s public ‘trolling and harassment’ of the journalist. Najam Sethi, founder of the Friday Times, called on international media organizations to ‘take notice and protest.’
It’s highly condemnable to harass @asmashirazi . https://t.co/n7vUbJbhnI
— Ansar Abbasi (@AnsarAAbbasi) January 20, 2022
No one deserves the relentless trolling and harassment that PTI folks have once again unleashed upon Asma Shirazi.
Our society’s core values include a respect and regard for each other & especially for women.
This campaign violates who we are.
I beg you: please stop.
— Mosharraf Zaidi (@mosharrafzaidi) January 20, 2022
“Here we go again,” said Geo TV journalist Mudassar Saeed, referring to a similar incident last October when Dr. Shabaz Gill criticized Asma Shirazi for what he said were insulting remarks about the first lady, Bushra Bibi.
Misquoting Supreme Court remarks Here they go again, the PTI official account & federal cabinet ministers of PM IK launched to have a full fledged targeted harassment campaign against journalist @asmashirazi pic.twitter.com/9oHAch56Cr
— Mudassar Saeed (@mudsays) January 20, 2022
Other journalists and commentators shared messages of support, encouraging Asma Shirazi to ‘stand tall’ and ‘stay strong‘
@asmashirazi is obviously doing her job as a journalist for Gill and Co to unleash vile attacks on her. More power to you, Asma. This too shall pass. Stand tall. https://t.co/zGFEDZoBZz
— Abbas Nasir (@abbasnasir59) January 20, 2022
They are just scared of your powerful intellect, @asmashirazi. That's it.
— Nida Kirmani (@NidaKirmani) January 20, 2022
Shirazi hosts ‘Aap Ka Faisla’ on Aaj News. She became the first Paksitani journalist to win the prestigious Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism in 2014.