Monday May 03, 2021
SIALKOT: Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan's outburst against Assistant Commissioner Sonia Sadaf has triggered an angry response on social media, with many calling for the Punjab chief minister's special assistant to apologise to the civil servant.
The incident took place a day earlier when Awan was on a visit to a Ramadan bazaar in the city.
During her visit to the Ramadan bazaar, Awan got angry when some buyers complained about substandard edibles being sold at the market and the local administration's poor performance.
On this, Awan had asked the assistant commissioner if she had ever visited the bazaar before and admonished her severely in front of the media.
The AC then left the scene angrily and had reportedly said that the conversation could have been held in a civilized manner.
Senior government functionaries and politicians criticised Awan for the way she shouted at Sadaf.
The video of the harsh exchange went viral on social media in a few hours after which statements were issued in support of the female officer by the prime minister's aide Usman Dar, PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz and graduates of the Civil Services Academy (CSA).
The CSA graduates did not mince their words and said they stood with Sadaf, asking Awan to apologise for her behaviour.
“A PAS officer was publicly humiliated. This is a criminal act.”
Separately, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs Usman Dar expressed his concerns over the Sialkot incident.
He said he knew the assistant commissioner, adding that she is an efficient and competent officer.
Dar added that the role of female officers in governance is important and must be appreciated.
Meanwhile, PML-N Senior vice president Maryam Nawaz said civil servants and bureaucrats get appointed to any administrative position after excelling in studies and passing competitive exams.
Taking a dig at the government, she said they were not "selected" to the posts.
She said any minister or the chief minister's special assistant had no right to insult any officer and demanded Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan tender an apology to AC Sonia Sadaf.
Later on, Punjab Chief Secretary Jawwad Rafique Malik, while reacting to the Sialkot incident, said that the uncivilised treatment meted out to an administrative officer in a Ramadan bazaar was condemnable.
In a statement Sunday night, the Punjab CS said that Assistant Commissioner Sonia Sadaf and other administrative officers were on the frontlines despite the scorching heat and corona pandemic.
He said that the use of unethical language with any officer or staff is condemnable and added that administrative officers across Punjab were present in the field day and night for the convenience of people, which is highly appreciable.
Jawwad Rafique Malik said he had conveyed his reservations about the tragic incident to the Punjab chief minister.
Firdous Ashiq Awan had got indulged in a heated argument with AC Sonia Sadaf during a field visit when the CM’s aide was approached by the customers over rotten items.
“We are getting you recovered from one place or the other every other moment,” the SACM had told the woman officer in an aggressive tone.
To this the assistant commissioner responded saying “Madam, it was due to heavy rush”.
Dr Firdous said everyone was facing that rush. “Have you descended from heavens? [that you can’t cope with it].” The officer replied that she had not descended from any heaven.
Dr Firdous told the AC that if her life was precious, all those visiting the bazaars had precious lives also. “You are not behaving like an AC. I’ll ask the person who appointed you as an assistant commissioner,” the SACM added. “You should go to your VIP drawing room and take rest there.
“It is your responsibility to get rotten fruits removed from here. You are paid a salary for it. I don’t get any salary, but you do, and it is your duty,” Dr Firdous told the AC. After that AC Sonia Sadaf left the bazaar.