Dubai: On Pakistan’s Independence Day, newly elected Prime Minister Imran Khan’s party faced its first test, as citizens came together online to demand justice against one Pakistani lawmaker’s violent actions.
A video of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmaker and Member of the Provincial Assembly (MPA) Dr Imran Ali Shah physically attacking a man in Karachi, Pakistan, went viral on social media and caused an uproar amongst citizens.
The 30-second clip shows an altercation between Shah and a man on a busy road. Shah is seen slapping the individual several times, before returning to the vehicle, while his armed guards are seen threatening the man.
Immediately after the video surfaced, #ImranAliShah started trending on twitter and tweeps demanded that some action be taken against the lawmaker.
Tweep @itsasimsagheer posted: “#ImranAliShah @ImranKhanPTI are we having such people in our rows? Then which Naya Pakistan (new Pakistan) are we looking at? I am extremely ashamed and heartbroken. Please fire this person from the party, it is a matter of a common Pakistani’s respect. Or we will lose faith in Naya Pakistan.”
@ArchiHashmat tweeted: “#ImranAliShah should resign from MPA seat. @ImranKhanPTI sir you need to take this matter seriously or else incidents like these will occur often in future.”
On seeing the video, Dr Shah had an explanation ready. In a video posted on his twitter account, he claimed that he saw the individual hitting somebody else’s vehicle and so stepped out of his car to ask him to apologise.
He is heard saying in the video in Urdu: “I saw him repeatedly hitting a poor man’s car and stopped him. The man did step out and apologise, but then he abused and pushed me. My apologies if I have caused any hurt or distress to anyone, but I cannot tolerate the oppression of the poor.”
Being a responsible citizen and a member of provincial assembly I have more responsibility towards my people, The viraled clip is half truth and misleading. I cannot turn a blind eye on someone doing injustice to a citizen for any reason. pic.twitter.com/t4a3BCeAta— Dr. Imran Ali Shah (@dr_imranshah) August 14, 2018
The alleged other motorist is not visible in the video and people were questioning the truthfulness of his claims.
PTI was then quick to respond on their official Twitter and Facebook pages. They posted a show cause notice, stating that the lawmaker’s actions were “unacceptable” and granted him 24 hours to present his side of the story.
@PTIofficial tweeted: “No one is above the law is the basic premise of Imran Khan’s Naya Pakistan. An elected MPA taking the law into his own hands, for whatever reason, is completely unacceptable. We condemn this behaviour and expect strict action to be taken. Show cause notice has been issued to the MPA.”
No one is above the law is the basic premise of Imran Khan’s Naya Pakiatan. An elected MPA taking the law into his own hands,for whatever reason,is completely unacceptable.We condemn this behaviour and expect strict action to be taken.
Show cause notice has been issued to the MPA pic.twitter.com/isGlFKovcV— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 14, 2018
However, tweeps were still not satisfied, as they felt that this wasn’t enough.
Tweep @iamshafaatali posted: “Lets see if PTI throws Dr Imran out of party — show cause doesn’t count — and sets a new benchmark or protects him like any other ‘status quo’ political party and does nothing.”
Lets see if PTI throws Dr Imran out of party (show cause doesn’t count) and sets a new benchmark or protects him like any other “status quo” political party and does nothing— Shafaat Ali (@iamshafaatali) August 15, 2018
@iOwaisAhmed tweeted: “#ImranAliShah should be sentenced soon, whatever is the whole truth, you are never allowed to beat an honourable citizen. Pakistan did not vote PTI to see this. @ImranKhanPTI”
It doesn’t end there. In the course of less than 24 hours, the whole episode unravelled. What started as an argument on the road ended with the MPA visiting the home of the citizen he had argued with and apologising for his actions.
On his twitter account @dr_imranshah, Dr Shah further explained: “I never wanted to take the law in my hand, however it was in the spur of the moment that I momentarily lost my cool and reacted in a way that brought embarrassment to my position, my party and my supporters. Thereby, I sincerely and unconditionally apologise to Mr Dawood and my voters and supporters for my behaviour. I hope that you all will accept my apology and I promise to observe my conduct that is expected of me both morally and officially by the party’s code of conduct.”
I never wanted to take law in my hand however it was in a spur of a moment that i momentarily lost my cool and reacted in a way that brought embarrassment to my position, my party and my supporters. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/nbnsmqGC11— Dr. Imran Ali Shah (@dr_imranshah) August 14, 2018
Thereby, I sincerely and unconditionally apologise to Mr. Dawood and my voters and suppprters for my behaviour. I hope that you all will accept my apology and I promise to observe my conduct that is expected of me both morally and officially by the party’s code of conduct. 2/2 pic.twitter.com/zeEnoMgOo0— Dr. Imran Ali Shah (@dr_imranshah) August 14, 2018
Despite the formal apology, tweeps were not pleased. They continue to ask for justice and some consequential action against the lawmaker.
Tweep @Alishba_Rose posted: “Assaulting someone is a crime and his actions made him a criminal and these kind of criminals should be treated with the full force of law.”
@haroonumerr tweeted: “Only resignation, nothing else. Best opportunity to set precedent. We believe in you @ImranKhanPTI. #ImranAliShah”
@LubnaOc added: “Sir @dr_imranshah, the acceptance of your apology and resultant forgiveness ensures that the victim is not going to take any lawful revenge from you. It doesn’t warrant, restore or reaffirm your fitness to hold the public position that was entrusted to you.”
There were others who were ready to move on, but expected much more.
Tweep @ABWDXB wrote: “That’s a good gesture indeed Dr Imran. Please note you will be required to make double efforts in regaining our trust now. As #PTI supporters and voters, we expect highest standards of conduct and governance from this party and will hold you all to it.”
@ViceKaptan added: “He has apologised for his misconduct and surrendered himself to the party for any disciplinary action. Mr Dawood has also forgiven him. This is enough of a punishment. But if party thinks, further action could be taken against him. From my end, it’s amicably over.”
The latest update on the case emerged with Dawood, the victim of the violent incident, claiming that he will not be filing any charges against Dr Shah.