OFFENSIVE, abhorrent, revolting, detestable, repulsive, obnoxious — I have now used seven of the 400 words limit I have for this letter, to describe a particular minister of the Punjab government and his statement about special children he made recently during a press conference, when he was seated next to none other than Dr Yasmin Rashid.
This person, who is not even worthy of being referred to by his name, displayed not only a complete lack of sensitivity for special children and their families but confirmed the adage ‘to keep quiet and be thought a fool is better than ....’ However, I should not have been surprised by his statement as his past behaviour also reflects his lack of intelligence.
What has added insult to injury was that a person of science, the provincial minister of Punjab for Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education, was seated next to him and did not have the courage to tell him off or at the very least, walk out in protest. On the other hand, I appreciate Dr Shireen Mazari and present her accolades as she was quick to condemn this person.
There have been calls from different platforms on social media and foras asking for an apology from this minister. I feel it won’t be enough even if he resigns, or is made to, like earlier when he disgraced the Hindus of Pakistan, and was then reinstated.
This person should be fired from his position in the Punjab cabinet. That is not all; the political party to which he belongs should revoke his membership while the state should take him to court asking him to prove his contention. If he is unable to do so, we know what happens to non-sadiq and non-amin persons under the law.
I have lived in this country long enough to know that the odds are against parents of special children being shown any empathy, but hope is a great motivator.
In loco parentis
Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2020