Lights, camera, action: Faisal Vawda, the ‘hero’ we did not need
The heinous attack on the Chinese consulate brought many brave women and men of the police to the forefront, all earning well-deserved national admiration. However, Mr Faisal Vawda was not one of them.
There is no reason that a tragedy like this should ever be eclipsed by a satirical side-show, but that is something with which we must now cope. Amidst the chaos at the consulate, appeared a hero that nobody had asked for, and nobody quite needed. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MNA, Vawda, arrived at the scene with a gun and a bulletproof vest.
While media reporting on the Karachi terror attack left alot to be desired, Faisal Vawda’s James Bond pretensions for camera on the scene of the terror attack is an astounding breach of CT ops. What is next? Him firing RPGs? Who allowed him to be there? pic.twitter.com/5aJjUsVZoJ
— Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) November 23, 2018
The nation was quick to ask the obvious questions regarding our water resources minister’s armoured presence at the site. Is this not the sort of crisis better left to trained professionals? If so, then what utility did Vawda hope to provide in the presence of highly-skilled security personnel?
So Faisal Vawda for a moment thought he was Phayzal from Gangs of Wasaypur
— Mubashir Zaidi (@Xadeejournalist) November 23, 2018
Vawda claimed in a tweet that he was “informed” about the crisis (with a bat signal, I presume), to which he attended because he was “in the vicinity”. As a doctor, I’ve spent the last four years of my life managing patients through various medical emergencies; never once have I had a random minister pop over with a 100cc syringe to lend me a hand, because he happened to be “in the vicinity”. Even if one did, I’d respectfully ask him to step aside and make space for the professionals.
What Faisal Vawda hoped would happen outside the consulate today. pic.twitter.com/gNXDZQuNql
— Benazir Shah (@Benazir_Shah) November 23, 2018
For an armed civilian politician to arrive unceremoniously at an active crime scene can be politically useful. Vawda’s deliberate dependence on the culture of toxic masculinity cross-pollinated with jingoism is visible clearly in his tweet, which is a lot to unpack.
“As a Pakistani I didn’t shy away. It’s my right to use my licensed weapon for self-defence. At least I’m not a coward like many hiding behind keyboards and bull*****ing!”
I was informed as I was in the vicinity & I further informed the concerned agencies. As a Pakistani I didn’t shy away, it’s my right to use my licensed weapon for self defence. At least I’m not a coward like many hiding behind keyboards and bullshitting.
— Faisal Vawda (@FaisalVawdaPTI) November 23, 2018
For one, when you deliberately wedge yourself into a violent situation where you don’t belong, you cannot argue “self-defence”. The audacity of deriding critics as cowards hiding behind their keyboards stems from Vawda’s overestimation of his own utility to the defence operation. It can be safely assumed that water resources’ minister did not drop down from a police chopper, barrel-rolling into the consulate to shoot some bad guys. He stood at a safe distance from the scene of violence, surrounded by armed personnel, talking into a camera.
Faisal Vawda outside the Chinese Consulate. pic.twitter.com/fLO84qr7xD
— Buffetkhor (@BilkulSahiKaha) November 23, 2018
The incident proves that there is no emergency grave enough to dissuade political opportunism. Why leave the matter to the right team of professionals with an appropriate skill-set when you can drop by for a macho photo-op?
Faisal Vawda arrives with gun at Chinese Consulate. pic.twitter.com/ENFEsYrPyG
— Mirza Lal Baig (@mirzalalbaig) November 23, 2018
In fact, this posturing is particularly distasteful because it overshadows the bravery of our real heroes. The moment does not belong to Vawda. It belongs to SP Suhai Talpur, the female officer who led the operation. It belongs to dozens of security personnel who fought for the restoration of order, at grave risk to their own lives.
There is no reason that the most memorable image of this event in the public’s mind should be a cringe-inducing picture of a ‘manly’ politician who just happened to be in the area. But sadly, that is how the cookie crumbles.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.