Fawad Chaudhry’s bellicose behaviour may have already seen him lose his job as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, but it seems that the current Minister of Science and Technology cannot keep himself out of the limelight – or trouble. Where he once clashed only verbally with journalists, the minister has now chosen to use more forceful means instead.

It emerged on Friday that the Minister had reportedly slapped journalist Sami Ibrahim at a wedding function, following which Mr Ibrahim had filed a complaint at Mansoorabad police station in Faisalabad. The allegations seem to be true; Ministry of Science and Technology’s response to the uproar has not been to deny the incident, but rather claim that Mr Chaudhry had “reacted after another person tried to wound his self-esteem”. Moreover, the ministry appeared to be more concerned with ensuring that this incident should not be seen as a “clash between two institutions but as a conflict between two individuals”.

Both these notions need to be strongly disabused. Reacting to provocation is no justification for physical assault - it is not treated as such by the law nor by any standards of propriety. Government Ministers are supposed to be held to higher standards than the rest of us; there is absolutely no excuse for Mr Fawad’s despicable behaviour.

On the second count this is certainly a clash of institutions – a journalist against a minister. Their disagreement stems from allegations made by Mr Ibrahim in his journalistic capacity against a sitting minister regarding his political ambitions. In response, Fawad Chaudry used his official Twitter handle – the one that he uses to conduct government business – to target and demean the journalist. The language used there, even after the incident, is shocking, to say the least.

The facts are simply this: Fawad Chaudry could not handle allegations made against him, true or false does not matter, and he flew into a rage and mounted a consistent attack against the journalist responsible culminating in a physical assault. This is a serious issue, and calls for serious repercussions.