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Editorial | PTI Supporters’ Online Campaign Against Minister Mazari Condemnable

It is unfortunate to see an organized campaign against Human Rights Minister Dr. Shireen Mazari on social media. What is ironic is that this campaign seems to be spearheaded by supporters of her own party.

This is not the first time that the faithful have turned on notable leaders of their party – egged on, no doubt, by one internal faction against the other. Vicious internecine warfare within the PTI has often worked to sideline or silence the more measured, balanced and independent voices within the party. The whole process is, ultimately, to the detriment of the advice received by the Prime Minister himself.

The demands for her removal are as fierce as they are unjust. The Minister has received criticism for some blind spots as an official guardian of human rights, as well as for the times when she has succumbed to the aggressive political logic of the PTI. Some of this criticism has been voiced even from this space.

For all the criticisms, her stance on some human rights issues such as her opposition to the draconian resolution passed by the National Assembly seeking public hangings for child rapists, her efforts (which unfortunately remained futile) to criminalise the practice of enforced disappearances and her clear support to the Aurat March whose organisers were at the receiving end of misogynistic attacks cannot be dismissed by any reasonable commentator. She has, on some issues of significance, maintained a firm line of her own. And she has done this whether or not it aligns with the party leadership’s populist need to pander to the conservative status quo.

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Her dissenting notes on human rights issues have brought a touch of much-needed decency to a party where opportunism, viciousness and expediency have been promoted to the status of virtues. These interventions by Dr. Mazari have been all the more important as the PTI drifts further and further away from its old moorings.

What was once a party of change and hope has become yet another force of the status quo in its quest for power. Dr. Shireen Mazari’s presence reminds the public – not just the party leadership and faithful followers, but also the general population – that the PTI could be a very different force, were it not for the demands of power politics through electables.

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Naya Daur