Tuesday Jan 02, 2018
Twitter is where the gossip is, both political and personal, where spats unfold and where breaking news is made, unfiltered and uncensored.
This year was no different. Now that the tweets have been extended from 140 characters to 280, the chaos and drama is only likely to grow bigger and louder.
But before that let’s rewind.
Below are a few tweets from Pakistani celebrities and politicians which had our newsfeed buzzing in 2017.
In April, Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations, diverged from his normal Twitter routine of posting about summarised military briefings to contradict an order by the civilian government.
“Notification is rejected,” he wrote regarding then-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s decision to fire those allegedly connected to a Dawn newspaper article that suggested a rift between civilians and the military.
The tweet amassed over 10,000 retweets and made headlines, adding fuel to rumours of an institutional clash. The Pakistani military later recanted the statement, putting the issue to rest.
Last year, singer-songwriter Momina Mustehsan, named in BBC’s 100 most inspirational women, tweeted against another woman — social media starlet, Qandeel Baloch.
Baloch was later brutally murdered by her own brother. The tweet went largely ignored until September, when Mustehsan voiced her support on Twitter for actress Mahira Khan, who was being witch-hunted for leaked images. Khan and Baloch elicited two very different responses from the singer.
The hypocrisy was quickly picked on by Humaima Malick, a Pakistani movie actress.
There were allegations of cheating and greed, then there were counter-attacks, and finally the announcement of a split, all on social networking website Twitter.
In a sensational public spat, boxer Amir Khan and his wife, Faryal Makhdoom, bared their personal lives to over three million followers.
The two have since reconciled and are expecting their second child. Khan is now starring in a reality television show. Well, we can’t say we didn’t see that coming.
Your first couple of tweets can be boring and mundane, which largely go unnoticed. But none of that is true if you are Malala Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
The 20-year-old’s first tweet racked in almost 300,000 likes. Now, how is that for a start?
It may be the tweet that saved Imran Khan, the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, during court proceeding into his financial transactions.
Or maybe we are just overestimating its worth.
Either way, few expected his ex-wife, Jemima Goldsmith, to come to his rescue.
In June, Goldsmith, who divorced Khan in 2004, announced that she has found a 15-year-old bank statement to prove Imran Khan’s money trail and innocence in court.
In 2017, Twitter gave us the #Metoo hashtag, which brought to the spotlight nuances of sexual abuse women face around the world.
The same year, Pakistani politician Ayesha Gulalai Wazir accused cricket-star-turned-politician Imran Khan and another leader from his party, Naeem ul Haque, of sexual harassment through text messages.
The 31-year-old was mocked, called a liar, trolled and threatened on Twitter.
The allegations have been denied by Khan. But Haque admitted to sending unsolicited messages to Wazir. He has since deleted his tweet.
Actress Mahira Khan’s much-anticipated venture, Verna, was at first banned by the censor board in Pakistan for allegedly dealing with rape and maligning government officials.
As support for the film, its subject, and the actors poured in from Pakistani Twitterati and those from across the border, Khan broke her silence and took to the microblogging site to write these powerful words. (The ban was eventually lifted after a second review).
This one tweet sparked the debate of the year on Pakistan’s social media websites.
Coming on the heels of the #Metoo campaign, it bifurcated the genders who offered various definitions of what constitutes harassment.
A woman was examined by a male doctor, following which he sent her an unsolicited Facebook friend request. That woman was the sister of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Pakistan’s celebrated Oscar-winning filmmaker. The doctor, wrote an enraged Obaid, had been suspended after the family complained.
Yet, the dispute raged on for days between those who accused the filmmaker of throwing her weight around and those who insisted this was a breach of doctor-patient privileges.
It was a coffee-fuelled war.
First up was PTI leader, Asad Umar, who tweeted an image of a coffee mug with the letters P.T.I etched into the foam.
A few hours later, a Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supporter also decided to process his love for the political party through latte art, which was snapped and shared by Maryam Nawaz Sharif.