Special Assistant to Punjab Chief Minister (SACM) Firdous Ashiq Awan has found herself in hot water yet again, this time for making disparaging comments about the people of Sindh on a TV show.
The SACM — who was heavily criticised in June for slapping PPP MNA Qadir Khan Mandokhail — made the comments while appearing as a guest on ARY News show 11th Hour alongside PPP’s Sharmila Farooqui and analyst Mazhar Abbas on July 29.
During the show, host Waseem Badami questioned Awan about the possibility of a PTI government in Sindh, noting that Abbas was of the opinion that the ruling party would not be able to give a “tough time” to the PPP.
“Well the first thing is that the PPP faces more danger from itself than from others,” she said, adding that it was important for the PTI to “win people’s hearts” rather than win seats.
“But if the PPP was a danger to itself how could it keep winning. It constantly keeps winning from rural Sindh,” asked Badami.
In response, Awan said that the area Badami was talking about raised the slogan of “Bhutto”. “The vote there is anti-Bhutto and pro-Bhutto,” she said.
Pointing towards the “illiteracy and backwardness of Sindh”, she said that the people of the province lacked political awareness and that there was also “the use of force”.
Awan’s most recent faux pas drew heavy criticism, with politicians and netizens alike calling her out for her derogatory remarks.
Sindh Information Minister Nasir Hussain Shah recalled the time when he told late Benazir Bhutto that a politician from Larkana was “not using good words” about her and asked to answer to the claims.
“She replied that those who want to come in my place, will they praise me? These people will remain mentally ill for the rest of their lives,” he said, adding that time would give the biggest shut up call.
Sindh Irrigation Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal condemned Awan’s “racist, narrow minded and unethical speech” as a resident of the province. “Sindhis have always taken an active & historic role in politics even before 1947,” he said.
PPP leader Shazia Marri also condemned what she called a “bias against the people of Sindh”.
“This person [Awan] is not only shameless but also ignorant about our history. Sindh’s assembly was the first legislature to pass the resolution in favour of Pakistan,” she said.
Former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon said: “Shame on these derogatory remarks of Firdous Awan for the people of Sindh. People of Sindh believe in democracy, they fought for the restoration of democracy, they are patriotic, educated and politically aware.”
PPP’s Mumtaz Ali Chandio said that people like Awan are to blame for fuelling ethnic divisions. “We demand that she retracts her statement and apologise for such insensitive comments,” he said.
Activist and academic Nida Kirmani said that PTI leaders only expose their own “illiteracy” by making such statements.
Journalist Veengas said it was not the first time that Awan had used obnoxious words against Sindhis. “This is how they treat Sindh. Not a single person on the show opposed her hateful comments against Sindh.”