WATCH: PM's aide quake comments send shock waves on social media

Social media users were shocked on Tuesday at the comments of Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting, who appeared to be trivialising the devastating earthquake that ravaged parts of northern Pakistan.

The  tremor measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale shook parts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), Punjab, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) leaving multiple people dead and injured.

Dr Firdous, who was speaking at the National Institute of Information Technology in Islamabad, was asked to comment on the calamity. And she, without realising the enormity of the situation, sought to trivialise it.

At least 19 dead, over 300 injured as earthquake jolts AJK, Punjab

“This is a sign that when tabdeeli [change] comes even the ground becomes restless…so this is a sign of change,” she could be heard saying in the video clip that has gone viral on social media platforms.

Dr Firdous, with a grin on her face, went on to add that “even the ground has shaken as it has not come to term with this tabdeeli”.

She was referring to the “change” that Prime Minister Imran Khan has been promising well before coming to power.

Perhaps Dr Firdous didn’t know the magnitude of the quake and the devastation it has caused, but then again she shouldn’t have made such insensitive comments without knowing the facts, according to social media users.

The video clip went viral on social media within no time, and users heaped criticism on Dr Firdous for her apparent apathy to the tragedy.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sherry Rehman castigated Firdous over the comments drawing parallels to “a monument in poor taste.”

Monument to poor taste

— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) September 24, 2019

Television personality Maria Memon also hit out at the PM’s adviser saying,”Is this supposed to be funny.”

Is this supposed to be funny?

— Maria Memon (@Maria_Memon) September 24, 2019

Journalist Ali Salman Alvi hit out at Dr Firdous for “casually joking about the earthquake, without realising that it could bring a devastating tragedy. This is beyond deplorable.

The special adviser continues to act as a loose cannon. Shameful and insensitive”.

Firdous Ashiq Awan casually jokes about the #earthquake, without realizing that it could bring a devastating tragedy. This is beyond deplorable. The special adviser continues to act as a loose cannon. Shameful and insensitive.

— Ali Salman Alvi (@alisalmanalvi) September 24, 2019

While fellow journalist Benazir Shah also castigated the PM’s adviser over the remarks saying: “19 people dead, 300 injured. And this is what Firdous Ashiq Awan has to say.”

Murtaza Solangi, another member of the media fraternity, deemed the comments as “insensitive and irresponsible”.

Do I need to say anything about how insensitive and irresponsible this regime is?
Is this the best ⁦@ImranKhanPTI⁩ regime can do on a tragedy like earthquake causing deaths by dozens, injuring in hundreds and destroying precious properties?

— Murtaza Solangi (@murtazasolangi) September 24, 2019

Firdous’ rebuttal


میری گفتگوکوسیاق وسباق سے ہٹ کر پیش کرناافسوسناک ہے۔سوشل میڈیا کےمعاشرے پراثرات کےتناظر میں بات ہو رہی تھی۔اچانک زلزلہ آیا،شرکائے محفل پریشان ہوگئے۔حاضرین محفل کاحوصلہ بڑھانے کےلیے سوشل میڈیاکے تناظرمیں ہی جملےکہے جسے غلط رنگ دے کر عوام کوگمراہ کرنے کی افسوسناک کوشش کی جا رہی ہے

— Firdous Ashiq Awan (@Dr_FirdousPTI) September 24, 2019

Several cities of Punjab, K-P and AJK affected

A peek at the mountains in Pakistan's northern areas

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