Minister Zartaj Gul Criticised For Trying To 'Hijack' Climate March

Minister Zartaj Gul Criticised For Trying To 'Hijack' Climate March
On Friday, Pakistanis took to the streets as part of a global movement to protest against climate change. The protests were a citizen-led initiative and were organised by Climate Action Now. Media reports indicated that the protests took place in 30 towns and cities.

The protesters constituted mostly of the youth and many students in school uniforms could be seen taking part in the protests.

The protest march were a part of the Global Climate Strikes planned ahead of the UN’s climate emergency summit on September 23. The protests were entirely citizen-led and were organised by environmentalists and local rights groups.

No government support was given to these protests, however, the government was quick to take credit for the march. In a move that was not received positively by many, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul Wazir tweeted that she had held ‘an engaged public awareness event to focus on sustainability initiatives’.

The minister’s attempt to appropriate a citizen-led struggle faced backlash, with many criticising the claim of the minister as an attempt to ‘hijack’ a citizen movement.

Climate Action Now, one of the main organisers of the march, in response to a tweet by the Ministry of Climate Change, stated that the minister was invited as a stakeholder and had nothing to do with organising the event.

A climate change awareness platform, SohniDharti Climateers in a tweet expressed its disappointment about the minister of climate change trying to take credit for a citizen-led movement.

A climate change activist who was one of the organisers of the march reminded the minister how citizens worked hard to organise this march, and yet she was taking credit for the movement.

Former senator Farhatullah Babar, in response to Zartaj’s tweet in which she had said that she would be leading the walk and had asked people to join her, stated that it was arrogant and deluded of the minister to make such a claim and not give credit to the civil society organisations and students who organised the walk.

A climate change activist expressed disapproval at Zartaj Gul’s claims, saying that it was an attempt to undermine the efforts of civil society.

Another Twitter user called the minister’s actions shameless, and argued that her actions were similar to how the elite steals the work of hardworking people and portrays it as their own.

Another user opined that it was shameful that the minister was trying to ‘hijack’ the movement and the government’s (inaction) was the reason why such movements were necessary.

With the march occurring across the country, it seems that a lot of effort had been put into organising it. In light of this, it was understandable that one organiser questioned the minister’s audacity to take credit for the movement.

The minister’s attempt to take credit for the march was met with disbelief by another climate change activist, who called it a ‘classic case of stealing credit for someone’s hard work’.

With such a severe backlash to the minister’s statement, it is understandable that she has deleted the original tweet in which she claimed that she had ‘held’ a public awareness event. Not only has Zartaj Gul deleted the tweet, she has also backtracked from her statement and tweeted that it felt great to be led by the youngsters.


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