How DC Islamabad Embarrassed Himself (Twice) After British Envoy’s Tweet About Trash
When British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner tweeted a photo of himself picking up trash during his morning walk in Islamabad’s Margalla Hills, social media users were rightly embarrassed.
The envoy collected two bags of garbage whose photos he shared on his Twitter and wrote, “Another Friday morning walk, another two bags of litter. Safaai nisf imaan hai [cleanliness is half of faith].” He also tagged Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat in the tweet to draw the official’s attention towards the matter.
— Christian Turner (@CTurnerFCDO) May 7, 2021
Surprisingly, DC Hamza Shafqaat, who is responsible for looking after these affairs in the capital, responded to the envoy’s tweet and wrote, “Great”. Twitterati were unamused by the Deputy Commissioner’s indifference and his failure to take responsibility for what is supposed to be his job. He later deleted this response and clarified that his intention was misunderstood, but the damage had been done.
A few hours later, the DC posted a video of himself participating in a cleanliness drive alongside volunteers of Prime Minister’s Task Force.
Sanitation Teams picked up 1600 tonnes of waste today. Despite our over commitment with covid we volunteered along with @TigersForceICT. Everyone plz remember that cleanliness is a 2 way street and everyone of us is responsible for it and not just the British High Commissioner https://t.co/jVwwrjZC3o pic.twitter.com/KKlVClQIOQ
— Muhammed Hamza Shafqaat (@hamzashafqaat) May 7, 2021
That, however, was not all. It turned out that the Deputy Commissioner had decided to engage in whataboutery in a bid to discredit the concerns raised by the British envoy about Islamabad’s trash problem.
In a tweet posted earlier today (Saturday), Hamza Shafqaat shared an article from a foreign publication about trash in UK’s parks. He later deleted this tweet as well, but some users had already taken a screenshot. Among them was Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) MNA Anny Marri, who called the DC’s tweet ‘teenage tantrum’.
In case anyone missed DC Islamabad’s teenage tantrum. Here it is, preserved for posterity. The correct way to respond to a diplomat, or anyone really, telling you your city isn’t clean – “neither is yours” says the DC. pic.twitter.com/l5owEmTF30
— Anny Marri (@Anny_Marri) May 8, 2021
The DC’s unsound response to the whole episode gives an insight into the minds of those at the helm of affairs. Not to mention the difference between heroic online persona of civil servants and the reality.