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Politics and superstition

There are certain times when the murky field of politics dives to its lowest ebb. The recent insinuations being pushed by the opposition and government critics that the prime minister allegedly relies on magic, witchcraft and divination to make key decisions regarding state affairs are an example.

The preposterous allegations were pushed forward by none other than PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, who in her criticism of the prime minister’s handling of military appointments made the bizarre and unfounded claims that he relies on magic spells and supernatural beings to make decisions. She said the nation has become a topic of universal derision over the alleged use of sorcery and occult (jadu tonaa). The jibe seemed to be targeted at the prime minister’s wife who is a spiritual person.

These accusations continued on social media where political supporters clashed with each other. More embarrassingly, these unsubstantiated claims were picked up by various journalists who resorted to unethical standards of journalism to write columns on these topics. Politicians have sparred over the derogatory remarks against the prime minister’s family but employed similar allegations to target the opposition.

The PML-N is not new to such kinds of controversies. After Nawaz Sharif’s ouster as prime minister, the party leadership referred to ‘khilai makhlooq’ (space aliens) as being responsible. After Imran Khan was elected as prime minister, the insinuations were used that he had a covert hand in reaching the position. The PTI has instead alleged that perhaps the Sharif family used magic and superstition to launder money and build properties aboard.

These statements, irrespective of who issues them, should be strongly condemned. Politicians should remember that such comments will do more harm than good. We are already a highly superstitious nation and spiritual leaders (pirs) are held in high esteem. Such statements can have a strong impact on voters and should be highly discouraged. The media has a strong responsibility to remain impartial and refrain from tarnishing the image of any personality. It is imperative for both sides to refrain from polluting the world of politics as it would not serve anyone and will instead harm the nation.