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March 12, 2018



The chronology of ‘shoeing’ during last one decade

LAHORE: During his visit to Lahore's famous religious seminary "Jamia Naeemia" Sunday, the former three-time Pakistani Premier Nawaz Sharif became the latest addition to the list of government and state heads who have been greeted by flying footwear hurled at them by rather "fearless" men who have shown utter disdain for these powerful personalities and their security contingents.

Just hours later, media had reported that a man was arrested by police for allegedly attempting to hurl shoe at PTI Chairman Imran Khan in Faisalabad. The attempt of the shoe-thrower was thwarted though.

The worst hit of all global shoe attacks was Dorit Beinisch, President of the Israeli Supreme Court. The shoe tossed at him on January 27, 2010 had struck Beinisch between the eyes, breaking her glasses and knocking her off her chair.

Shoe-thrower Cohen, disgruntled over a family court decision four years prior, was arrested for the act, and sentenced for three years in prison. He had later apologized to judge Beinisch. Nawaz Sharif's compatriot and key foe, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, ex-Australian Prime Minister John Howard and former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have suffered this indignity and humiliation more than once.

On February 7, 2011, Pakistan's former President, General Musharraf, had narrowly escaped being hit by a shoe at a meeting with some of his supporters in London. A man had stood up about five minutes after Musharraf had started speaking, and calmly lobbed a shoe at him.

However, the shoe did not reach the podium on which the former president was standing and landed in the front row. The meeting was being held in the Walthamstow area of London, an area with a substantial population of people of Pakistani origin. About 1,500 people were in attendance.

On March 29, 2013, Musharraf had again experienced this misfortune outside the Sindh High Court building in Karachi. The former military dictator had to face the wrath of an irate lawyer while he was about to enter a courtroom in Karachi to seek a bail extension in a series of cases lodged against him.

On September 4, 2010, the-then incumbent British Premier Tony Blair had an egg and shoes thrown at him at a signing for his book "A Journey" in Dublin city. The very next day, on September 5, some anti-war protesters had thrown more eggs, bottles and shoes at Tony Blair in same city at another book signing event.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard had first found a shoe coming his way on November 4, 2009 at Cambridge University England. On October 25, 2010, while he was live on a television show, Aussie Premier Howard was again targeted with a pair of shoes while he was defending his decision to commit Australian troops to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was first attacked by a leather shoe in 2006 at Amir Kabir University in Tehran.

In December 2011, an unemployed textile worker had thrown his shoes at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He missed, striking a banner behind the president instead.

This incident had occurred during a memorial ceremony for a former Oil Minister, who had died in 2010.

In August 2010, the-then sitting Pakistan's president, Asif Zardari, had avoided similar disgrace by a whisker, after a protester had attempted to attack him during his speech in Birmingham. Sardar Shamim Khan was led away by police after hurling his shoes at Zardari in protest.

He was infuriated over the Pakistani President's "callous" handling of the flooding crisis that was haunting the country at that time.

Shamim Khan, a resident of Coventry in the West Midlands, said he was angry that Zadari was visiting the United Kingdom amid the havoc wreaked by worst flooding in his country's recent history.

On April 24, 2014, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had also escaped a shoe attack at the South Asia Labour Conference in Lahore.

The attacker, Imdad Ali, turned out to be TV channel Awaz’s Lahore Bureau Chief.

He threw a shoe at the Punjab chief minister but missed his target.

The police arrested him after Shahbaz left the hotel at which the conference was taking place. The chief minister, however, ordered the release of the journalist.

While he was still calling shots as the Sindh Chief Minister, Arbab Ghulam Rahim was also hit by a shoe hurled at him by a disgruntled Pakistan People’s Party supporter on April 8, 2008.

Arbab was leaving the back door of the Sindh Assembly building after taking oath as a newly elected member when he was hit by a show thrown by Agha Javed Pathan, a worker from the Pakistan Peoples’ Party.

Shoeing had first received a lot of attention in recent history after an Iraqi broadcast journalist, Muntadhar al-Zaidi, had opted to throw his shoes at the then US President George W. Bush on December 14, 2008, while he was addressing a press conference in Baghdad.

Bush avoided being hit and laughed off the insult, announcing that the shoes were "size 10."

In September 2009, he released from a Baghdad jail nine months after he attacked the former US president.

On December 17, 2008, famous anti-war group "Code Pink" had pelted shoes at an effigy of George Bush Junior outside the White House.

The protesters had presented their shoes at U.S. embassies around the world to show their support for Iraqi journalist Al-Zaidi.

Since the Al-Zaidi incident, copycat incidents in Europe, North America, India, Pakistan, China, Hong Kong, Iran, Turkey and Australia have been reported.

It is imperative to note that on August 12, 2015, the-then Punjab's Inspector General of Police Mushtaq Sukhera was welcomed by an angry protestor's ill-directed shoe during his visit to village Hussain Wala in Kasur district.

The attacker missed his aim and the shoe had struck another police officer.

The Punjab top cop was there to express solidarity with the child abuse victims and residents of the area.

Other prominent international members of the "Shoe Club" include the likes of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (attacked in London on February 2, 2009), Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (April 26, 2009 at Ahmedabad), Indian Leader of Opposition and BJP leader L.K. Advani (April 16, 2009), Pakistan's Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal (February 24, 2018), former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton (April 10, 2014 in Las Vegas), Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir (January 2010 in Khartoum city), Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (February 2010 in Spain), Delhi Chief Minister Arving Kejriwal (October 18, 2011 in Lucknow), former Pakistani Federal minister for Information and Broadcasting Pervaiz Rasheed (March 1, 2016), Indian Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal (hit twice on August 15, 2014 and January 11, 2017) and former Indian National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan (November 4, 2015), Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou (September 11, 2010, Indian Congress party’s General Secretary Rahul Gandhi (September 2016), former Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram (April 7, 2009), IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn (October 1, 2009 at Istanbul), Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah (August 15, 2010) and Israeli Ambassador to Sweden Benny Dagan (February 5, 2009).