ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Political Communication Dr Shahbaz Gill on Thursday targeted journalist Asma Shirazi over her column for BBC where she references the use of black magic in matters of governance.
Gill held a press conference in connection with the article which criticised the government without naming it or any individual, including Prime Minister Imran Khan and his wife.
Shirazi wrote the country's dire economic situation couldn't be fixed by the "slaughtering of goats" or "spilling the blood of pigeons".
Gill alleged that the female journalist targeted the first lady, who is a housewife, to please certain elements.
He also wondered as to how a credible news outlet like the British Broadcasting Corporation had published such an article which was tantamount to tarnishing an image of a housewife.
He asked the journalist whether she was doing "all this after failing to find any scandal of the PM in the last three years".
Questioning the credibility of Asma Shirazi, he said it was she who remained allegedly involved in taking favours from the government departments.
About the reaction against the article on social media, he said those who used derogatory language against PM Imran Khan and his family would definitely be taken to the task by the people.
He said the critics have started harping on ‘Mantra’ of magic because they did not find anything to criticize the prime minister about.
Gill maintained the prime minister was elected by the people of Pakistan and had not come into power through a back door like his predecessors.
Journalists, civil rights organizations and politicians have condemned online harassment of Shirazi.
Veteran journalist Mazhar Abbas said that people could disagree with her views, but the harassment and trolling was unacceptable.
Journalist Mehmal Sarfraz also disapproved the ‘targeted harassment’ and said that journalists won’t be silenced.
Journalist Iftikhar Ahmad said that Shirazi’s words were criticized were repeated tropes in the media and appeared especially in opinion columns. Ahmad said that those who didn’t understand were inadvertently promoting her article.
Opposition politicians also disapproved the trolling with PML-N member Shaza Fatima Khawaja condemning the attack on a journalist by the government.
However, PTI's Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed voiced his strong disapproval and said that he will not participate in her shows.