On January 7, 2011, Twitter user @Laibaah1, an individual known for her activism in support of minorities rights in Pakistan and reminding the urban-origin (read Karachi and Lahore based) ‘liberal’ bloggers, tweeters and the socialite ‘human rights activists’ of their ignored duty towards cataloguing the Deep State-backed mass massacre of Pakistanis belonging to such groups, had respectfully tweeted to Twitter user Miss @Mehmal Sarfraz (whose bio identifies her as “Op-Ed Editor, Daily Times. Joint General Secretary, South Asian Women in Media (SAWM)”), some criticism of her recent article on Salmaan Taseer. Some of Laibaah’s criticism is provided here and the exact exchange is archived here.
Instead of responding to the criticism in a genial manner, or ignoring it altogether as would have been her right to do so and as is wont of the Twitterati that form her self-defined social circle, @Mehmal resorted to ridiculing @Laibaah Marri based on her Twitter handle (which she accepts is a pen name) as well as questioning her gender. When Miss @Mehmal Sarfraz was quizzed by a number of Twitter users on the basis of her claims about @Laibaah Marri, she erratically kept changing her story and her claims. Overall @Mehmal made up to five claims. All of which are unsubstantiated as at the time this post was written:
- @Laibaah Twitter account is being run by a man (See screen cap Mehmal3).
- @Laibaah account is being run by men (See M3).
- @Laibaah Twitter account is being run by men and women (See M15).
- Her evidence for making these assertions was apparently classified information from “friendly sources” who have not been named as yet nor the information shared at this time (See M6-M8).
- When this writer suggested @Mehmal is a latent racist for not being able to accept that a Baloch woman (which @Laibaah claims to be) could be educated and literate (another known Twitter user @pakistanpolicy (Arif Rasfiq) had also called @Laibaah a “country girl” who should “milk her buffalo” in her village), she laughed off that possibility and claimed that she (Mehmal) herself was of Baloch origin (See M11). A rudimentary Google search threw up no such information. One blog mentions Lahore as her hometown (http://indiansinpakistan.blogspot.com/2011/11/headturner-in-headscarf.html).
Apart from these baseless and unsubstantiated ad hominem attacks and claims, @Mehmal repeated the same old argument that was often heard from her fellow urban-centric liberals whenever they have had to face @Laibaah. They assume they stand on a higher moral ground and are seemingly more involved in the human rights movements in Pakistan (and therefore have immunity from criticism of lesser mortals) because they are more famous for it or because they have written or spoken about it in the national media (See M2). Such public positions and efforts, though laudatory, do not give such people license to ride rough shod over the dignity and self respect of others around them who may not be as famous as they are. One does not need to have a recognisable name or face to highlight the injustices that individuals belonging to certain ethnicities and sects in Pakistan face on a day-to-day basis!
Strangely, this writer made a crack about the notoriously egotistical head of the Human Rights Watch Pakistan chapter, @AliDayan Hasan, at which @Mehmal Sarfraz immediately sought to be untagged from the conversation and claimed that the writer had been “insulting” to her friend (See M17-M18). This personal judgement came from an individual who did not hesitate to use literally below-the-belt insults against a fellow female who only sought some clarifications regarding an article. By the way, I had intentionally misspelled Mr. Ali Hasan’s middle name as Na-Daan (Innocent/Gullible) as a pun on the ill-informed and (in some cases) incorrect reporting he does for the HRW.
Some snippets from the conversation referred to above have been reproduced in this post through screen caps of the original tweets. They are the bonafide proof of this conversation having taken place. It is customary practise at Pakistan Blogzine (PB) to copy and paste tweets but this writer sought to reproduce the original tweets since @Mehmal Sarfraz has famously removed content from her Twitter profile that has come under public scrutiny and criticism (http://criticalppp.com/archives/40171).
Pakistan Blogzine team is thankful to those who stepped up to defend @Laibaah and questioned the shoddy and ad-hominem arguments that @Mehmal used against her. Some of your tweets have found their way to the ones reproduced in this post. Forgiveness is sought from the many others whose tweets have not been featured here.