“PTI Supporters Harass Pakistani Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb in London: A Look into the Politics of Hate and Divisiveness”

PTI Supporters Harass Pakistani Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb in London A Look into the Politics of Hate and Divisiveness
PTI Supporters Harass Pakistani Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb in London A Look into the Politics of Hate and Divisiveness
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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) activist, Maheen Faisal, has condemned the behaviour of her party’s workers during an incident with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb in London. Aurangzeb was heckled and verbally abused by PTI supporters while buying coffee in a café near Marble Arch station in September 2022. Faisal stated that the “difference between men and women was eliminated” during the incident, and claimed that the PTI protestors had targeted the minister with inappropriate allegations, including accusing her of being a thief.

After the video of the incident went viral on social media, netizens, including former finance minister Miftah Ismail and Bakhtawar Bhutto-Zardari, daughter of PPP co-chairperson Asif Zardari, came to Aurangzeb’s defence and criticised PTI for instigating hatred and propagating misbehaviour among its supporters.

This was not the first time that the information minister was harassed by PTI supporters. In April 2022, Aurangzeb was surrounded by a mob that hurled abuses and insulted her and Minister for Narcotics Control Shahzain Bugti at the Masjid-e-Nabawi (PBUH) in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Political scientist Ayesha Siddiqa, while speaking to ThePrint, points to the laxity of the UK government in curtailing such incidents, which would otherwise warrant immediate—and often harsh—punishment in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. She stated that such incidents tend to occur in the UK due to authorities not taking action “unless there is actual physical violence”. Siddiqa suggests that this atmosphere permits “violent and vicious” actions of the PTI and that they “benefit from the relaxation in laws and feel encouraged by this”.

Social activist Farhan Khan Virk, who is affiliated with PTI, blames social media and an ever-growing dependence on algorithms that can be manipulated to fuel unrest. Virk believes that people are willing to go to any extreme to get views regardless of their political party affiliation, which is condemnable and should be stopped.

Despite the harassment, Marriyum Aurangzeb appeared remarkably composed throughout the incident. In a video shared by Pakistani journalist Ihtisham Ul Haq, she can be seen answering all questions—gently, but firmly. The minister is in London as part of Shehbaz Sharif’s delegation to the 77th United Nations General Assembly.

People have pointed out the shocking nature of such harassment while reprimanding the PTI for fostering “politics of hate and divisiveness”. This includes fellow ministers, noted journalists, and Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari. “For anyone with a basic IQ – It is a huge matter of pride to not be an Imran Khan supporter,” Bhutto proclaimed on Twitter.

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