Just... no.
Just... no.

Let's be clear: Pakistan has a problem when it comes to rape and child abuse.

Not only that it exists, but that you're not allowed to speak about it, you're not allowed to have an open discussion, and people are embarrassed and feel queasy just saying the word 'rape'.

In fact, women are made to feel ashamed and are victimized if they even open their mouths. Most of them are encouraged to keep silent about abuse in their lives for whatever ridiculous reason the family comes up with at the time. A few months ago, some 280 children (mostly under the age of 14) were not just raped, but also filmed in Kasur and those videos were used to blackmail their parents. Terrible times we live in.

In this context, between the saas bahu dramas and Jeena ke ma baap nahi hai, TV drama Udaari is probably the best serial to watch these days.

The message that child abuse is WRONG has been presented brilliantly by the entire team; especially writer Farhat Ishtiaq, director Ehtesham Ud Din and actor Ahsan Khan, who plays Imtiaz the molester. I myself wrote a piece on how fantastic Udaari is and how important it is to get this issue out there in a responsible, yet sensitive manner.

So when I saw the following meme shared on social media by Ahsan Khan, I was first perplexed and then horrified; I, for the life of me, cannot understand why Khan would defeat the purpose of the very message his team set out to give!

Ahsan Khan's joke did not go down well with Udaari fans.
Ahsan Khan's joke did not go down well with Udaari fans.

Now, I’m all for a great meme, (though Jeena's ma baap nahi hain memes are getting old), but this is no joke. You can’t play the character of a child molester to send a message about child abuse and then go share offensive memes which make light of said character's twisted desires, saying “it is just a drama.”

Dear Ahsan: you have offended the very people you are trying to help in your message. To your credit Ahsan, you deleted your post after a comment made by writer Vasay Chaudhry, but I’m wondering why you were motivated to share this in the first place?

I saw many artists from our industry laugh at the meme above when you shared it and they should all be ashamed of themselves (you know who you are so I won’t name names). I realised this right here — this attitude that sexual violence is 'not a big deal' and something to be laughed off — is why rape, rape culture, child abuse, and sexual abuse are not taken seriously in countries like Pakistan.

My sincere thanks to Vasay Chaudhry for being the one artist who condemned the post:

And my thanks to Saba Hamid for agreeing.

Ahsan, you are not only a fantastic actor, but are now known as a philanthropist. You have an obligation and a responsibility to not just your fans, but to everyone, to stand for what is right. I hope you apologize for sharing the post and will do whatever you can to condemn these irresponsible acts.

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