Often times, the conduct of a country’s politicians defines the ethics and culture of the country itself, and unfortunately Pakistan’s political culture has seen a flurry of misconduct and ugly behaviour, with a lot of tussles, bad language and even physical confrontations occurring on the floor of the National Assembly. Although the political environment of the country has never been smooth sailing and politically correct, it has seen an increasingly hostile downturn in the past few years. Naeem-ul-Haque’s altercation, where he slapped PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz on television, is a case in point.

This recent incident occurred on Geo TV’s ‘Aapas Ki Baat’ programme — hosted by Muneeb Farooq, where Haque, PML-N leader Daniyal Aziz, journalist Iftikhar Ahmed and PPP lawmaker Nafisa Shah were guests. A video clip from the show which is making the rounds on social media shows Haque becoming infuriated over some remarks made by Aziz, in which the PML-N leader apparently called him a “thief”, at which Haque makes the use of violence by slapping Aziz.

While these may be entertaining tactics for a reality show, it should be shocking and unheard of behaviour for politicians in a talk show. Unfortunately, this is not so shocking behaviour if contrasted to the bar set by politicians today. Two years ago, journalist Marvi Sirmid was threatened of assault by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam senator, Hafiz Hamdullah on a talk show. This incident is not even Naeem ul Haque’s first instance of unprovoked violence, as the PTI leader once threw a glass at PPP’s Jameel Soomro in 2011.

While all political parties share the blame for the uncouth political culture, and members of all political parties have engaged in unbecoming and foul-mouthed talk, it can be said that PTI has been the most frequent culprit. Naeem ul Haque’s had not been reprimanded for his violent behaviour in 2011, and neither does he seem to have suffered any harsh consequences this time either, as PTI has so far defended and downplayed Haque’s actions. Other political leaders have also noticed a culture of uncivilised and inflammatory rhetoric coming from the top leadership of PTI, which has translated into violent behaviour from its followers. This trend was seen in Karachi two weeks ago when PTI youth engaged in rough altercations with PPP supporters over a small dispute over rally locations. This culture of violence, whether it is coming from the top or the lower ranks, needs to stop.