Libel is usually a fabricated and false accusation, which is done on purpose to besmirch the reputation of the opponent. It works fine as it is a propaganda tool, most of the time, and is in demand, all the time. The vilification in a libel sometimes can be based on yet to be established truth, and on occasions, it can be pure truth. This is one thing and can be justified according to the case with regards to what actually actuated it and why the need arose; the other thing is the use of abusive language and minatory remarks, passed always intentionally.

In Pakistan, the leading political parties seem as though they have never learned from their mistakes committed in the past. If the definition of work ethics is asked from lawmakers, most of them will fail; maybe a few out of them can come up with an answer, but even they would have never tried it. The conduct and official conversation is included in work ethics.

Talking of abusive language and vituperation, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, once during a speech called Bengalis ‘swines’. It brought severe obloquy as the speech was televised. In the 90s, when media was not yet born in Pakistan, incidents of hate speech were more undercover and seldom reported. PMLN lawmakers, back then, used extremely disparaging words against Benazir Bhutto.

That happened in the past, long ago, when misogyny wasn’t even considered a real thing in the country like ours. But sadly even in 2017, such incidents happen.

Nusrat Bano Sehar Abbasi, a lawyer and member provincial assembly Sindh on the party ticket of Pakistan Muslim League (Functional), dared to ask a few questions regarding the ministry of works and services, headed by a member provincial assembly from Tando Allahyar, Imdad Ali Pitafi. He got clearly irked, but later tried to deal the situation in an amusing way, which proved abortive. This abrupt call of viva voce was the last thing being expected by him and instead of furnishing adequate answers he tried to disrespect her. An MPA from Umer Kot, Nawab Muhammad Taimur Talpur and chief minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah along with the minister in question, Imdad Ali Pitafi, exchanged meaningful glances with spontaneous smirks. Pitafi later passed an ignominious remark, telling Sehar Abbasi to pay him a private visit in his chamber to get all the required details. Bilawal Bhutto promptly took notice of this incident, which finally wiped the smirk from the face and brought in an apology from Imdad Pitafi.

Reason fails to address this quandary in an amicable way: what led these gentlemen into resorting to a way which can never pass for a conduct, on any damn farthing... They must be told that the job for which they have bagged the votes is much more than mega corruption scandals.

As put by Jean Paul Sartre:

‘Everything has been figured out, except how to live.’

Another incident happened almost a week ago between two lawmakers, belonging from PTI and PMLN. As the wait for Panama case is lingering on, both the parties are taking every opportunity to provoke each other. The resentment towards each other is now more visible than ever.

Mian Javed Latif a MNA on party ticket of PMLN from Sheikhpura on March 9th, while standing on the floor of the house, called Imran Khan a ‘traitor’ and a ‘madman.’ Then during the argument, he slapped PTI’s MNA from Swat, Murad Saeed, to which the latter responded on the spot by landing a punch on Javed Latif’s face. Javed Latif to vent the spleen used the misogynist card and made scandalous remarks about Saeed’s younger sisters while addressing the media. Even speaker assembly and other leaders of PMLN condemned this, which later pushed Javed Latif to apologise to Murad Saeed on the intervention of a parliamentary Jirga.

It turns out that even the most educated lawmakers don’t pay heed to the words they say in an official capacity. The allegations and remarks passed by the PMLN MNA are condemnable, but PTI should also not forget few such remarks passed by their chief on different occasions. Imran Khan is the one who coined the term ‘diesel’ for JUI-F chief Moulana Fazal Ur Rehman. Once he channelled his antipathy towards Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif by uttering the following line, ‘Sharif brothers have wetted their trousers due to PTI’s revolutionary ways.’ If someone can’t see that and can’t condemn that along with the remarks passed by Mian Javed Latif after the fracas about Saeed’s sisters, then, either he is naïve or simply a supporter of PTI.

The punishment for gross misconduct should not be merely a show cause notice and then an inquiry, which is nothing more than a clean chit every time. Overlooking a problem could result in a more serious problem. To eradicate it, a measure promising some results should be taken. To resign from the post voluntarily on committing a crime of corruption or indulging in some misconduct is not a practice in Pakistan, so a forceful revocation of the membership of assembly if tried once will be enough to put some sense into the lawmakers.