Gullu Butt: The ugly face of Pakistani politics

Published: June 18, 2014

Gullu Butt breaks windows of a car during the clash between police and PAT workers. PHOTO: INP/FILE

There came the sacred, exalted goon, smashing the cars in an invincibly high spirit. Behind him stood hundreds of baton-loaded policemen, entrusted with the protection of our life and property, silently appreciating the heroics of Gullu Butt.

Somehow, those pictures of Butt and the police symbolise the ugly facet of our national politics abscessed with the misuse and abuse of power.

The likes of Butt, who has been identified as a PML-N worker, represent the kind of mindset that exists throughout the ranks of conventional political parties; the mindset that considers power a tool to subvert and supersede the law; the mindset that reverts to the excessive use of power to perpetuate its dominance.

The ruling party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, apparently, trumps all others in portraying a practical display of that mindset. Not so long ago, media channels showed the visuals of an MPA from Faisalabad beating a doctor who did not stand up to greet the former. And how can we forget the presumptuous bakery guy in Lahore tortured viciously by our chief minister’s daughter’s guards upon refusing to sell her the cake.

Historical precedents do not tell otherwise either. In 1997, the unruly PML-N workers attacked the Supreme Court building and chief justice of the time when Nawaz Sharif was expected to be held guilty on the charges of contempt of court.

The other appalling aspect of the Butt episode was the by-standing police officials which highlights the sorry state of our institutions. Respective governments, including the incumbent one, have developed a serious tendency to bypass the democratic principle of separation of powers. The use of state institutions, like the police for political benefits by the political elite has left a vast majority of population vulnerable.

Blurring the distinction between party workers and public servants has rendered the latter incapacitated, unable to fulfil its due role. It is excruciatingly ironic that the police who undertook the operation on Tuesday, which took eight lives, stood silent when Farzana Parveen was being stoned to death and when two brothers in Sialkot were lynched.

Butt is merely a face; the tragedy is far bigger than him. The tragedy is the mindset that considers power to be a certificate of untouchability. This mindset has seeped through our political strata. Before more damage is done, this mindset needs to die.

Muhammad Mutahir Ali

Muhammad Mutahir Ali

A political science student at Lahore University of Management Sciences(LUMS) who likes to write on local Politics and International Affairs.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Naila

    “Ugly face of Pakistani Politics”- why, is there a pretty face?Recommend

  • Atif

    This guy was being provided official POLICE and PUNJAB GOVERNMENT support. I am shocked that the useless PUNJAB POLICE fired gunshots on unarmed protestors. PML-N is nothing but a ghunda / thug party.

    Democracy gives the right to people to voice and conduct peaceful protestors. I am not a supporter of TMQ but their rally in Islamabad was largely peaceful so the ones at fault here are definitely the sharif PML-N brothers.Recommend

  • Haris Javed

    Yes it’s an ugly face and Punjab Government has set a new low this time, from which there might be no coming back!Recommend

  • Himat Butt

    I’m ashamed to belong to the same clan as Gullu :( He has embarrassed all Butts and Buttnis the world overRecommend

  • Ali S

    The pretty face would be Imran Khan, but then again, that’s another whole bag of crazyRecommend

  • fze

    Looks like it will take 1000 yrs to change the mindset of the society because it is not only the political parties but the rot runs down the line from top to bottom.Recommend

  • Butt Sahab

    Gullu is coolRecommend

  • Queen

    Agree 100 percent.Recommend

  • Sane

    Unable to understand forming a Judicial Commission to probe (or hush up) the incidents. What charges are framed against Gulloo Butt, DIG Operations, SSP and SHO and other policemen seen very clearly involved in hooligan and looting. If this requires a commission, then forget about justice. They all shall go UN-apprehended. Look at the tone of Ministers, do you think any of these culprits rather criminal shall be punished.

    Another same or more heinous incident shall shadow this incident and everyone shall forget. Just like burning alive of eith persons at Karachi airport is now forgotten. is ther any FIR/arrest of DG Civil Aviation, Home Minster (Sindh) and others who intentionally let burn human alive.Recommend

  • baig

    Well someone voted for this party in this election and someone will vote for this party again in the next election. based upon the ground reality(wadera system. baradari system, electoral corruption) the things will never change in Pakistan’s politics on their level.

    Can some pml n voter answer Why the attitude of Mr Shahbaz shareef after the incident cannot be seen by their voters. or they are blinded by the metro bus or the bullet train?Recommend

  • Humele Pie


    Few things to consider:

    While you are trying to portray that a proper procedure and rule of law should have been implemented then:

    1) Do you know that the high court had allowed him these barricades so there is no question about their illegality.

    2) Even if they are illegal were any notices served to the administration of PAT office or residence ? Was any proper rule followed ?

    3) Whose responsibility is to maintain law and order ? Innocent lives have been lost. So if this Nawaz Sharif or Shahbaz Sharif UK (where they operate business) or KSA (where they have been living in exiled) then the civil administration would have been taken to task.

    Why is that rules and procedures are only for one party here and not the others. Democracy does mean rule of law but it also means that is applied universally and impartially. Clearly not a case in Pakistan.

    Your murder logic amused me and clearly explain why you cannot see the real issue.

    Best Wishes.Recommend

  • Mango people

    Are you defending murderer of 11 innocent people or you are in shock with the whole Pakistan’s reaction on this Halookian action?Recommend

  • Mango people

    If Sharif Biradrans’ supporters (Lahore Police) did this in Canada, They would be kicked out from the Government.Recommend

  • Concerned

    What happened was clear misuse of power. protestors throwing stones does not give Police the right to kill not 1 but 11 people. I am no fan of TUQ but untill this misuse of state machinery continues we will need people like TUQ to stand up to them.Recommend

  • Mohammad Shuaib Hussain

    True, and I am fine with that!
    Two wrongs do NOT make a right. I am ALL for NS Prime Ministership being declared void, if he has broken the law. That is my whole point both sides can be wrong.Recommend

  • Mohammad Shuaib Hussain

    Did you read the part which said that the police should be held accountable if they have murdered someone?Recommend

  • Mohammad Shuaib Hussain

    1. Even if that’s the case you DO NOT pelt stones, you take the judicial route yet again. Allow the police to remove the barricades and then you file a lawsuit or contact the relevant authority. You DO NOT start a riot.

    2. Follow step 1, if the rule of law is not followed by the government you there are judicial procedures to be followed. I am all for punishing ANY PM, Minister, EVERYONE for breaking the law, but everyone MUST follow the law, including TUQ and Shahbaz Sharif.

    3. I totally agree, I said that the police should be held accountable for murdering innocents.

    BOTH parties are wrong! Ofcourse murdering innocents is wrong, at the same time rioting is ALSO wrong. I am not supporting either AT ALL. The only reason I am pointing out TUQ’s failures is because most people are focusing on the police’s failures only.Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    Irony is that NOTHING will happen !!!Recommend

  • Fawad Shah

    Lets see that thing in other perspective, is it mob mentally that is crushing society, apart from political dismay the psychological condition of people living in our environment is healthy enough i dont think soRecommend

  • PakRealist

    If your mother, an innocent victim of the brutality displayed a few days ago was shot in cold blood along with your brother or sister, I am sure you would have rioted to protect your people from being abused further.

    Please, think of that. A small army of Policeman with semi-automatic machine guns shooting at innocent civilians. It is pathetic. Pakistani people have waited enough for the corrupt judicial system to do any good for them.

    All of those who are involved in this murder and corruption, you will receive your punishment in this life or the Hereafter. May Allah forgive you.Recommend

  • Kamran Hayder

    We all are “Gullus”. This gullu butt, murder of Farzana and Salman Taseer, murder of ahmadies and sialkoti brothers, and then beating gullu by lawyers and public.. All depict the mental tendencies of our nation as a whole !!Recommend