LAHORE: Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Ali Amin Gandapur on Saturday came under fire for his ‘sexist and violent’ remarks about Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz during the ruling party’s election campaign in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

With a resolution against Gandapur’s remarks in the Punjab Assembly, there was condemnation from the opposition as well as people from all walks of life on social media.

“This House condemns indecent remarks of Ali Amin Gandapur in strongest words and demands apology from him. This man is not eligible to hold a public office and should immediately be sacked from his position,” says the resolution submitted by PML-N lawmaker Hina Pervaiz Butt.

It says the PML-N workers are outraged over ‘violent and sexist’ remarks of the PTI minister.

On Friday, Gandapur while targeting Maryam at an election rally in Kotli, said: “If we come to slap Maryam then she will get slapped so much that her real face will be uncovered from cosmetic surgery for which she had spent Rs80 million … and that amount of taxpayers money.”

Calling Maryam a “daku rani” (queen of thieves), Gandapur further said: “Your grandfather’s shop in Gowalmandi (Lahore) didn’t have as much iron as the 32-kilogramme jewellery you were wearing when your father (Nawaz Sharif) invited Modi for a wedding.”

This is not the first time that Gandapur hit below the belt when it comes to Maryam.

In the Gilgit-Baltistan election last year, Gandapur had said: “Maryam Nawaz is beautiful but she spent millions on her surgeries from the taxpayers’ money. If I pick anyone from the crowd and spend just a little from the taxpayers’ money on their surgeries they will look handsome like (Hollywood actors) Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.”

In spite of the ban slapped on his participation and speeches in election-related events in AJK by the Election Commission for announcing development packages worth billions of rupees and using ‘indecent’ language against the PTI’s opponents, Gandapur continued taking part in his party’s election campaign. Even Prime Minister Imran Khan defended Gandapur and chided the Election Commission for imposing a ban on his cabinet members.

Reacting strongly to Gandapur’s comments, PML-N president and Opposition leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said in a tweet: “Disgusted by the shameful language Ali Amin Gandapur has used against Maryam Nawaz. His words are not only violent but also deeply misogynistic. Just imagine that people with this mindset have been given the responsibility to govern a country of 220 million people.”

“Gandapur ki guftar par lanat’ was one of the top trends on Twitter on Saturday.

Lawyer Reema Omar said in a tweet: “PTI officially endorses using violent, inflammatory language against opponents before charged crowds. It applauds targeting a woman politician for how she looks, attacking her appearance instead of her politics. No amount can change this sad, striking reality.”

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2021

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