Firdous Ashiq Awan, the special assistant to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar on information and culture, took a trip to a Sialkot bazaar on Sunday and inspected the quality of goods being sold there. When she found that the fresh fruit there was not up to her standards, she lambasted Assistant Commissioner Sonia Sadaf at a stall in a truly uncivil display of unwarranted aggression and showmanship.
A video of the incident went viral on social media, in which Awan can be seen yelling at and scolding the AC in public, for "poor quality of food". She went on ruthlessly until AC Sadaf walked off. Sadaf did try to explain herself but couldn't get a word in edgewise during Awan's breathless rant.
AC Sadaf tried to explain that the fruit had gone bad due to the extreme heat and that was a matter the two could have discussed calmly, but Awan wasn't having any of it, and Sadaf eventually had to walk away to end the tirade. During her rant, Awan even said "Who is the shameless person [baighairat] who selected and posted you here? I will talk to him."
Chief Secretary Jawad Rafique Malik told the media that he had already spoke with the CM on the matter.
Awan's still a hot topic on Twitter and has been subjected to much scrutiny on social media as the video went viral. People believe her behaviour was disrespectful, unprovoked, entitled and ruthless and we agree.
She was needlessly insulting and people weren't having it.
“Where were you when I reached there?” Awan had demanded of the AC in a less than welcoming tone. “Since there was a great rush of people, I could not make it to the front row to receive you,” the AC replied but that didn't satisfy Awan.
“Have you come from the heavens? Is your life more precious [due to Covid] than that of those present here?” she demanded.
We would tell you this is messed up on so many levels, but this tweet does that too well, sharing an anecdote from the time of ex-PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
This is an important lesson for our politicians — civil servants are servants of the law.
People believe an apology is in order.
But, from a more cool-headed and rational place, this tweet does a fair analysis of the situation.
More people echoed this thought. They did feel the special assistant had the right and the authority to criticise, but her tactics were disgraceful.
If one was to consider the situation from the position of the AC, and other civil bureaucrats, here's another analysis:
The AC's supporters came to argue that the opinion being propagated against her is not correct.
They were also there to answer Awan's question.
Several Pakistanis thought memes were the best way to address the matter. We agree.
It doesn't matter whether what Awan said was true or not when her delivery was so poor. The way she addressed, spoke to and accused the AC was not civil or even acceptable. Civil servants and political leaders need to work together for a better Pakistan, and that includes keeping checks and balances on each other, but there has to be a better way to do it than a screaming match in front of a crowd of curious onlookers.
To Firdous Ashiq Awan, we say this: say whatever you have to say, but adding insults to spice up your speech isn't the way to make people respect you. If you have to yell and shout to make your point, your point isn't very strong in the first place.