Updated 30 Jul, 2016

Last night's Lux Style Awards offered us plenty of wow moments: Ali Zafar danced and sang his way through an epic performance as the opening act, Yasir Hussain had us in splits with his comedic routine and the show's tribute to Amjad Sabri was pure gold.

However, the LSAs were peppered with plenty of misses too.

Notable among them was that moment when Ahmed Ali Butt called onstage two individuals with dwarfism.

This one left us scratching our heads. Did anyone think it was funny?
This one left us scratching our heads. Did anyone think it was funny?

This was part of a 'bit' he was performing with Ayesha Khan, with Ayesha's alter ego Jeena in TV drama Mann Mayal serving as the joke's starting point. Jeena uses the death of her parents to justify a lot of questionable behaviour, and has subsequently become the butt of a lot of jokes on the internet.

This was clearly on Ahmed Ali Butt's mind when he wondered out loud who Jeena's parents actually were. And lo and behold, as an answer to that question, he called two little persons onstage for some banter.

We're all up for some laughs, but making someone's stature the punchline of a joke is really not acceptable. At no point in the TV serial does infamous character Jeena refer to dwarfism so the reference to the condition seemed totally unnecessary. Watch a brief video of the exchange here:

Pakistans' biggest award show. #LSA2016 @LuxStylepk @talkingpointpk #Ayeshakhan HAPPENING NOW #LUXSTYLEAWARDS #PAKISTANINVOGUE

A video posted by PAKISTAN IN VOGUE (@pakistaninvogue) on

While the entertainment industry in Pakistan has made strides towards being more inclusive and progressive, this moment reveals that there's a lot of work left to be done.

Thankfully, some members of the film and fashion fraternity like Ayaz Anis have called the exchange what it was: ridiculous discrimination. The joke didn't garner a lot of laughs from the audience either — proof that a rethink was in order.

On the controversy, Frieha Altaf said, "The two individuals with dwarfism were intended to come out of the box onstage, but at the last minute Ahmed Ali Butt decided to improvise."

She further added that sometimes improvisation works, and sometimes it doesn't.

However, Frieha's statement doesn't attest to why the performance was staged in the first place.

We reached out to Ahmed Ali Butt for a comment, but haven't heard back yet.

However, he did take to Instagram to address our concerns.

So this morning our beloved media published an article regarding my segment at LSA16 which featured two dwarfs and apparently its now being perceived as offensive. Here are my two cents on the matter, the segment was designed to make fun of Jeena’s character and why is she so popular. At no point in my script or act (as you will see when its telecast) did I make fun of my fellow dwarf actors as the joke was directed towards Jeena. So just to highlight those who are judging us on this please be advised that my fellow dwarf actors are professional actors who perform for a living and were doing the same on this platform! I’m sure you have always supported the “dwarf” community by giving them work, right? (I’m being sarcastic incase you get offended here also) So if my fellow actors didn’t get offended, and Ayesha Khan aka Jeena didn’t get offended and just the visual of seeing dwarf actors on stage made you judge us than the problem lies with your perception of dwarfs. I am always aware of what I write, perform and being an actor and host I am supportive of my community let them be dwarf, black, white, tall or even disabled. What matters is that they are passionate about their work and make a decent living out of it – that is called being inclusive in my eyes – and to give them a chance to work on a scale such as LSA is giving them recognition to showcase their talent. It is very easy to sit and write a social media status or article on how this and that offended you or a specific community but if that really did offend you then get up and do something about helping these people they don’t want your charity or sympathy - they just want to work and showcase their talent! #lsa2016 #15thluxstyleawards #openyoureyes

A photo posted by Ahmad Ali (@ahmedalibutt) on

Nevertheless, it is still unclear what talent the people with dwarfism were called on to showcase. Their talents as performers, whatever they may have been, went unutilized.


Ahmar Qureshi Jul 30, 2016 03:43pm
No this act will surely defame the LSA
zebswati Jul 30, 2016 05:04pm
Both are Beautiful and lovely ! May they be wounder parents too.
Apache Aug 02, 2016 07:01pm
Ahmad Ali Butt is not funny at all. He tries really hard but all his jokes are lame and boring.
Payal Queshi Aug 03, 2016 01:32am
defaming dwarfs of unknown quantity and labeling them with derogatory adjectives is simply an outrageous behavior. It goes on to say that Pakistan actors and film industry are still gauche at handling such events. They think doing such things would create laughter but don't know it brings the rate of their event down.