LAHORE - Political leaders are increasingly losing control over their tongues as a result of which they have started using derogatory language and insulting titles for their opponents. What is more regrettable is that even the religious leaders are no exception.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik happens to be among the top loose tongues. Having failed to dissuade Dr Tahirul Qadri from undertaking his long march to Islamabad, he used criticizing the Tehrik Minhajul Quran chairman’s attire. He called him “Semi Pope”, saying his cap was quite mysterious.

Then he said the ‘maulvi’ was like a lookalike of Ranjit Singh, with the only difference that the former is with a trimmed beard.

Dr Qadri also paid him in the same coin. When a government team was being finalized for talks with him on Thursday to bring the sit-in to an end, he said in a live telecast speech that “Shaitan Malik” should not be among the negotiators.

Shaitan means Satan or devil. Maulana Fazlur Rehman, amir of his faction of the JUI, called Dr Qadri “J. Salik of Muslims”. J. Salik is a Christian leader, who uses innovative gimmicks to get media attention.

Dr Qadri doesn’t like to be called Maulana. But on Wednesday PML-N President Nawaz Sharif and Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira repeatedly called him “Maulvi” only to tease him. He also quoted the PML-N president as calling Dr Qadri a ‘performer’, not a reformer. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is called Raja Rental because of his alleged involvement in corrupt practices in the rental power plants.

The Supreme Court has already ordered the NAB to arrest him. President Zardari is the favourite target of the Punjab chief minister who calls him Zar Baba and his colleagues as ‘thieves’.                             –AM

Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rashid used to call Mr Zardari as Mr Ten Per cent.

Pakistan Tehrik-i- Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan is addressed as “Tsunami Khan” by his critics.  Tsunami is the term the cricketer-turned-politician uses for the revolution he wants to bring about through the electoral process.

MQM chief Altaf Hussain is called Mr U-Turn because of his frequent somersaults on political issues.

If the slide continues and the loose tongues are not controlled, observers say, the remaining leaders would also soon get new nicknames. - AM