Pakistan: Punjab CM’s aide faces criticism for lashing out at young officer

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awa
Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on I & B Image Credit: Supplied

Islamabad: Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Chief Minister of Punjab on information & Culture, is facing criticism on social media as well as within the ranks of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for bullying a young officer during her recent visit to Sialkot to inspect a Ramadan Discount Bazaar.

During the visit, Dr Firdous pointed out to the Assistant Commissioner (AC) of Sialkot Sonia Sadaf about the ‘low’ quality of fruit being sold by the vendors there.

The young officer explained to her that the hot weather was a reason for this. Moreover, the fruit brought to the discount bazaar was not usually of the best quality.

A video clip showed that the Chief Minister’s special assistant apparently didn’t like the officer’s reply and insisted the Bazaar and the arrangements were not up to the mark.

The assistant commissioner then asked Dr Firdous to cool down and requested her not to create a scene as a crowd had started gathering there, which amounted to violation of COVID-19 SOPs.

This further angered Dr Firdous, who allegedly abused the lady officer. The officer then left the scene.

The video of the verbal clash went viral on social media and a large number of the netizens raised their voice against the behaviour of the special assistant.

Fazil Bukhari in his tweet said Sonia Sadaf was a graceful and competent officer. “She is a brave lady and pride of the 46tth common,” said Bukhari in his tweet.

However there are also some voices that spoke in Firdous Ashiq Awan’s support. Waseem Mughal in his tweet approved her behavior saying, “this is the language people living in AC rooms understand.”

Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, after concluding her visit in a video message said she would report to the Chief Minister of Punjab the poor arrangements at the Ramadan Discount Bazaar. “It looks the officers here are working on an agenda to sabotage people’s confidence in the PTI government,” she said.

Assistant commissioner reacts to accusations

Assistant Commissioner Sonia Sadaf also recorded a video message and explained in response to the allegations of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan that it was due to hot weather. “She could have expressed her views calmly and if some fruit was rotten that was due to heat and human error,” she said.

Chief Minister orders inquiry

Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar while taking notice of the incident has summoned Punjab Chief Secretary (CS) Jawwad Rafique Malik and Firdous Ashiq Awan and ordered a complete inquiry into the incident. The CS has also conveyed to the Chief Minister the concerns of the province’s officers over the behaviour and alleged abusive words used by Firdous Ashiq Awan.