A newly-appointed young minister in Pakistan’s Sindh provincial government has thrown a bizarre challenge at his Punjab province counterparts of beating him in doing push-ups, drawing rebuke from them.
29-year-old Mohammad Bux Mahar, who joined the provincial cabinet as the Sports Minister just over a week ago and is its youngest member, in an online video, challenged the Punjab provincial ministers, especially the sports minister, to do 50 push-ups to prove they were as fit as him.
The minister then went on to do 50 push-ups in less than 40 seconds, the Express Tribune reported.
“I think no one can beat me in doing 50 push-ups,” he was quoted as saying, claiming that he was a “sportsman”, who spends two to three hours working out daily.
“For the first time a sportsman will run this department,” he said.
“The players of Sindh aren’t in the spotlight and this is what I aim to change; even if I have to fight with the federal government,” said Mahar.
Soon after, a video of Abid Sher Ali, the minister of state for water and power in the federal government, doing a much more difficult form of push-ups also went viral. He later challenged Mahar to lift 100kg of weight to prove his fitness.
Not one to back down, the Sindh minister threw another challenge. “Let’s have an arm-wrestling (match). I’m ready for it. Are you?” Mahar said while talking to the media.
As the videos started trending on TV channels, PML-N leaders Talal Chaudhry and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah lambasted Mahar over his immature behaviour.
Talal criticised the Sindh minister and asked him to compete with Punjab in the number of sports grounds instead.
“There are ghost employees in Sindh. I’m surprised to see the sports minister’s statement. We challenge him in education and health sectors performance,” he was quoted as saying.
The Sindh minister could not find much support in his own province as well. Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Shazia Marri said it was “unfortunate” that the new cabinet members were doing politics of push-ups.
Asked about the issue, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said push-ups were a healthy exercise, but the actual performance would be reflected through hard work in the department.