Under-fire Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader (PTI) Naeemul Haque who earlier this week lost his temper on a TV show and slapped PML-N's Daniyal Aziz said on Thursday that party chief Imran Khan had lauded his move.
Haque and Aziz, in an appearance on Geo TV's 'Aapas Ki Baat' programme at the Islamabad studio, traded barbs when some remarks made by Aziz apparently infuriated Haque, who then slapped the privatisation minister.
A video clip shows the PTI leader slapping Aziz, saying: "How dare you [Aziz] call me a thief, you should be ashamed of yourself."
Aziz appeared visibly stunned after the incident.
In a video shared by Dunya News on Twitter, Haque said: "This person (Aziz) attacked Imran Khan's character ─ and he kept doing it, and then lying, and when he called me a thief, slapping him was a natural response," he explained.
"Imran Khan praised it, saying that I did the right thing because he had been spitting venom for a long time."
"All the PTI's supporters have lauded the move," he added.
Shortly after Haque's statements in the Dunya News video were reported, the PTI leader took to Twitter to defend his remarks, saying: "Contrary to what some media is projecting, Imran Khan never appreciated the slap but commended me for countering the abusive and false onslaught of Daniyal. Imran Khan never encourages [the] use of violence anywhere anytime."
Haque came under fire for the slap from a number of political leaders and commentators. This is not the first time he has been involved in a physical altercation while appearing on TV. In 2011, the PTI leader threw a glass at PPP's Jameel Soomro after the former allegedly hurled verbal abuse against him.
Aziz, while commenting on the incident, said that the general attitude of PTI leaders is very intolerant. "They cannot tolerate criticism and resort to violence."
He added later that it was a "pre-planned move" by Haque and the PTI to provoke him, and that it reflected frustration in the PTI and among its "handlers".