In the world of politics, strategies to gain public support can often involve the use of emotional appeals and relatable stories. However, there is a fine line between genuine empathy and the exploitation of vulnerable individuals for personal or political gain. Recently, Maryam Nawaz faced a lot of backlash from netizens when videos went viral from her Lahore rally of a child with disabilities being picked up by PML-N party members on stage while she stood holding his hand and watching.
In the video from the PML-N rally at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk on Sunday, the child, who was in a wheelchair, was brought up to the top of the container where Maryam was standing. People around Maryam picked up the child and his wheelchair and held them in the air while the politician held his hand.
Apart from the obvious safety concerns for the child, people are angry at Maryam for using the child as a “prop”, raising important questions about ethics, integrity, and the boundaries of political campaigning.
Users called out the “inhuman” and “cruel” behaviour, talking about how the child must have suffered on stage.
People even questioned Maryam’s lack of empathy towards the child and called it a “violation of human rights”.
Using a child, especially one with disabilities, as a prop during a political rally is wrong. A political rally is not a safe environment for a child with disabilities, especially one who is wheelchair-bound and is being unsafely lifted up for people to see him. Have some empathy and treat people with disabilities like people, not props to be pulled out and hoisted in the air as you please.