Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Saturday said that he will not seek criminal charges against PTI supporters who heckled him at a restaurant in Bhera, pointing out he had left the matter in the “people’s court” but lamented the “culture of hatred” that he said was introduced by Imran Khan.
Iqbal was jeered at and heckled by PTI supporters at the restaurant on Friday night. Viral videos of the incident circulating online show women and teenagers chanting anti-government slogans and hurling abuses at the minister, loudly calling him “chor”.
In a tweet later, Iqbal said: “Today, a family, who apparently considered themselves elites and supported PTI, clashed with me. Instead of holding a dialogue with me they started chanting slogans,” he wrote, adding that as a counter-attack, other people present at the restaurant also started chanting slogans against the PTI.” He criticised Imran Khan for “instilling a culture of hatred” among the people, adding that “just like their ignorant and lunatic leader, his supporters are following suit”.
At a press conference in Lahore on Saturday, the minister said that the incident didn’t affect his popularity but highlighted the culture Imran Khan was teaching his followers. Iqbal stressed that the “disease of polarisation and hatred” in society was hollowing out Pakistan like “cancer”. “I say this with disappointment that we expected Imran Niazi, who was a sportsman, to teach his supporters sportsmanship in the country’s politics.