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.
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!”
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.’
“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.
Other journalists and commentators shared messages of support, encouraging Asma Shirazi to ‘stand tall’ and ‘stay strong‘
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.