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 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:
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.
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.