Social media is an ideal place for expressing one’s opinions. However, if those opinions are offensive or downright vile, there can be consequences.
This is the exact case of a Pakistani student from NUST who tweeted something truly disturbing regarding activist Gul Bukhari’s abduction. Though he deleted the tweet, it was picked up by Nighat Dad.
This is what she shared.
Mashallah he is graduating today from NUST. And that’s what he said just a day before his graduation. Dangerous things our institutions are producing. pic.twitter.com/vZue2pYBfw
— Nighat Dad (@nighatdad) June 6, 2018
Consequently, the Twitterverse was (rightly) visibly upset, with people saying all sorts of things. Some expressed their disgust:
— Nosheen Abbas (@Goshno) June 6, 2018
You can delete your tweet but cannot hide your dirty mind. Shame on you pic.twitter.com/O7ZMFiFtZV
— i AM (@RANA168) June 6, 2018
Others had stronger opinions:
If you father would have slapped you hard and your mother would stop feeding you
You will be a far more better human
— Rehman Khilji (@RehmanKhilji) June 8, 2018
And some alerted the NUST student about the consequences:
We will meet someday because your CV/job application will be appearing on online job portals.
Your future employer(s) should know about your sadistic rape tendencies against women.
— Fishel Benkhald (@Jew_Pakistani) June 6, 2018
This guys face should be retweeted till its well known. A woman gets abducted and he has this to say about it. Shame on his education. His future employers should know his mentality.
— Josephina Khattab (@JosephinaKhatt1) June 8, 2018
People made sure he knew just how vile an act this was, not just with respect to him, but NUST, as well:
your tweet asking for sexual assault on gul bukhari is a disgrace to the institution that you and i graduated from. You should be ashamed of yourself that NUST is being held responsible for your complete lack of ethic. You deleted the tweet now apologize as well
— Usman Hassan (@UHassan59) June 6, 2018
Such a shame that our institutions are producing such dirty characters.
— Wajid (@WajidQAU) June 8, 2018
@OfficialNUST surprised to see how shits become graduate from your University. @mursaleenpti @ImranKhanPTI @fawadchaudhry @ShireenMazari1 @AndleebAbbas @FIA_Pakistan @gulbukhari @Official_NUST pic.twitter.com/qjx3Q8tNzk
— Mohsin Abbasi (@MM_Abbaci) June 6, 2018
Some Twitteratis believed that the tweets were in fact Photoshopped:
What is the diff b/w you & the fatwa factories using religion card to play with lives of innocents? I hope FIA looks into this! pic.twitter.com/Vm548EkI5l
— Makhdoom Shahab (@makhdoomshahab) June 6, 2018
New Gem from Photoshop thaffuz movement.#GulBukhari drama started after 10 PM on 5th of june. How could @mursaleenpti tweet this about her at 3 PM? And no, its not the timezone difference, unless NUST has been shifted to another continent pic.twitter.com/cJrZzKF7F5
— Asfandyar Bhittani (@BhittaniKhannnn) June 6, 2018
This guy even shared some personal insight:
— Makhdoom Shahab (@makhdoomshahab) June 8, 2018
And then there was this:
He is a victim because he's been framed by the feminist mafia through fake screenshots and now he's forced to admit to save himself!
— Ahsan Zafeer Khan (@AhsanZafeer) June 8, 2018
However, things got more serious once Sherry Rehman got involved:
Irrespective of whom he is targeting I assume @OfficialNUST will revoke degree and @PTI (which is part of his twitter Identity)will move against such an open call to bloodlust and torture. There must be no impunity, or social or professional tolerance for such heinous hate speech https://t.co/O4bwiXbpDp
— SenatorSherryRehman (@sherryrehman) June 6, 2018
NUST, too, thankfully took notice of this:
NUST management has taken notice of the remarks made by its student, Muhammad Mursaleen, and appropriate action is being taken in this regard.
— NUST Official (@Official_NUST) June 8, 2018
After this entire fiasco, the student finally apologized:
I apologize for my remarks against Gul Bukhari, and for the anguish caused. My expression and choice of words were unacceptable.
I shall be counselled by NUST Centre for Counselling & Career Advisory, and undergo mandatory community service so as to develop respect for women.
— Mursaleen?? (@mursaleenpti) June 8, 2018
After which some weighed in on why he did so:
no kid, you’re just sorry people found your tweets, shared them and you went viral.
— Hisham Adamjee (@hishamadamjee) June 8, 2018
He deleted it because he was held accountable for it. That's not to his credit. That's to the credit of all the women who called him out on it.
— Mariam Mohammed (@_marmariam) June 8, 2018
U should be apologising her personally .
Agar social media ap k khilaf tweets na krti , ap tu apology b na mangty . Still appreciated
— jasmin (@NBabar11) June 8, 2018
And one dropped in a more advanced suggestion:
Start by profusely apologising to @nighatdad, whom you accused of lying and slander (ironically, doing the same acts yourself), and then personally apologise to Gul Bukhari for your words.
Also, if you're genuinely sorry, start holding your peers accountable for their words.
— Kamil Hamid (@aghakamilhamid) June 8, 2018
Some people praised him for apologizing:
Well, it takes courage to accept your wrongs. I am happy for you and may your future is of sanity.
— لول —— LoL (@PseudoExtremist) June 8, 2018
if this is genuine and coming from your heat, my respect!
— Sarfraz Baig (@BaigSarfraz09) June 8, 2018
Takes real courage Mursaleen!! Shabaash!!
I hope this makes you a better person and you learn how to respond to/about someone you disagree with.
Bs ek apology apne batch mate Makhdoom se bhi, bechare ka career as a journalist shuroo nahi hua tha aur tumne kahan phasa dia ?
— Basit Khan (@basit_arbi93) June 8, 2018
Good that you understood your fault, though after a notice from your university & under the threat of being expelled.
— Farhad Aslam (@farhad_aslam) June 8, 2018
Finally, Gul Bukhari also weighed in on the matter, showing incredible grace and poise.
Thank you for your apology. You are probably young enough to be my son. I do pray to god that you never wish sexual torture on any woman, leave alone on a woman old enough to be your mother. My sincere prayers for your future. God bless. https://t.co/Svy6jbENaO
— Gul Bukhari (@GulBukhari) June 8, 2018
This twitter havoc, regardless of whose side you’re on, has proved just how influential social media can be in bringing bullies and trolls down. Major props to Nighat Dad and Sherry Rehman for voicing their thoughts. And it’s HUGE that Gul Bukhari has forgiven the student.
What do you guys think about this? Let us know in the comments.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of the headline mentioned that the student’s degree has been revoked. That information is not verifiable and the post has been edited to reflect that.