Pakistan’s education minister dominated the trends on Twitter today ahead of the announcement of the closure of educational institutions. After the minister confirmed that educational institutions in COVID-hit regions across Pakistan will remain closed until April 11, the “#ShafqatMehmood” hashtag reached the coveted number one spot.
Students across Pakistan flooded the tag with prayers and gratitude for the minister, thanking him for the decision in a variety of creative ways. Light-hearted messages and tweets featuring the minister filled Twitter timelines, with Shafqat Mehmood once again crowned all Pakistani students’ favourite “uncle.”
One student emotionally proclaimed that everything in the world apart from Uncle Shafqat’s shafqat [kindness] is temporary.
Another introduced the internet to a new scientific law: Shafqat Newton’s fourth law. According to this, the “coronavirus is directly proportional to educational institutes. It increases after the submission of fee and decreases at the time of papers and remains constant at other places.”
Some students lamented the minister’s lack of attention towards provinces other than Punjab. In his press conference, the minister had announced that provincial governments will decide on the actions to be taken in educational institutions in their respective districts.
One Twitter user awarded Shafqat Mahmood the “confirmed jannati” status for his good deeds.
Some users also shared images of the minister photoshopped as a king. “Not all superheroes wear caps,” said one user, his spellings making the decision to shut down schools appear questionable.
While Shafqat Mehmood is a popular recurring character in Twitter discourse by students, his presence becomes amplified whenever the decision to reopen schools is under question. As this tweet aptly represents, today was no exception.