It’s usually Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the receiving end of homophobic and transphobic trolling from the opponents who instead of responding to Bilawal with substance resort to bullying and mocking him for his age and being effeminate. But shockingly (not sure why I’m surprised when hypocrisy reins supreme in Pakistan’s political circles), the self-proclaimed progressive party won’t stop short of anything to get back to the opponents, even if this includes homophobic trolling.

A thread posted by dissident activist Ahmad Waqass Goraya sheds light into the planning processes of the troll army where homophobic hashtags targeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and lawmaker Murad Saeed with derogatory terms.

It’s painful because we defend Bilawal against such attacks day and night and then his party blurs the line between their ‘progressive’ politics and that of the right wing ruling party and its Islamist alliances. This isn’t the first time. Only last year, the ruling party and the forces that be targeted Maulana Fazlur Rehman and his long march also with racist and homophobic trolling on the internet.

I hope the parties involved will introspect and terminate such practices. That said, those behind the trends still need to be brought to justice. I see many people are already reporting them to Twitter and we need the troll accounts shut for good. It’s time to learn that hate speech is not free speech and dirty politicking at the expense of a community which does not have its own voice will have consequences.