On Monday, August 9th, Asif Ali Zardari received a rude awakening from one of the hundreds of protesters who were gathered outside a political rally in Birmingham, organized by the UK branch of Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party. Amongst the protesters was Sardar Mohammed Shamim Khan, a 57 year old man who managed to sneak into the invite-only event. Khan was sitting 20 meters away from the president when he threw his shoes as he shouted “Only Allah has the right to give and take away life.”
Khan’s sentiments echoed the resentment of many who have been angered by the government’s less-than-adequate efforts in delivering aid and assistance to the millions still suffering as a result of last week’s floods.
Here’s a GEO News interview with Sardar Mohammed Shamim Khan. The interview is in Urdu, but I have translated the relevant portions below.
Interviewer: At the moment when you decided that you would take off your shoes and throw them in protest…first of all tell me about where the inspiration for that came from?
Khan: There was a brother sitting with me outside, there were many brothers outside protesting….it’s their right to protest. This brother said a few words about Zardari that were not nice….and I felt badly, because we are all supposed to be brothers, and yet some were outside and some were inside. At that moment I felt that he (Zardari) deserves to be hit with shoes. I said to the brother “he deserves to be hit with shoes” and he said “Be quiet! If someone hears you, this will happen….that will happen…in other words (he was saying) they will make ‘minced meat’ out of you” and I thought, “let’s see who will make minced meat out of me…” Then I got up and threw my shoes. Enough is enough! I am speaking for the millions of people around me…this is the voice of everyone who is crying and suffering in Pakistan. Our leaders are like a plague for us. If all of us lift a shoe…..I guarantee that all of leaders can be run out.
Later in the interview:
Khan: This is my message for the leaders of our country. I want all of the leaders to know…….. that there is no place for their political rallies in England. I am grown up enough to know that I can speak for myself, it is our duty and everyone’s duty to stand up for the country. We do not need guns….we need only “Tharrapar” (slaps) for our corrupt leaders.