"For some, this is a holy month of prayer, discipline and ablution. For others, it's the month of selling Islam and being a shameless hypocrite."
Actor Ushna Shah has penned down an open letter on Facebook, in which she calls out her fellow members of Pakistani showbiz for cashing in on Ramazan transmissions on Pakistani television while failing to embody the values preached by Islam for the rest of the year.
Without naming any names, Shah writes, "Many people will pretend to be someone they are not for a mere 30 days to cash in on this holy month, I may not keep all my fasts or say all my prayers, but I sure as hell won't disrespect Islam and the millions of people fasting and truly abiding by the faith by pretending to do so just to gain the respect and the money I do not deserve."
The Bashar Momin star says that she has observed these double standards in "the same directors who have hit on me and not given me work because some other actress gave in" and other people who have deliberately tried to hurt her or damage her career.
Writing about her women contemporaries in particular, she says, "I have zero respect for the veil [donning] Virgin Marys who make millions off [Ramazan] transmission by preaching the word of God on Iftar shows and become tutti fruitties a month later."
At the close of her letter, she adds a postscript to clarify that "I am not targeting people who truly believe in the spirit of Islam, I'm targeting the hypocrites [who] fake it every year for either pseudo respect or money."
In another postscript in the comments section, she clarified that her words weren't directed towards Momina Mustehsan, who lent her voice to Qaseeda Burda Shareef for A-Plus' Ramazan transmission this year. "Momina Mustehsan someone asked if this status [referred] to [you], I JUST saw [your] song. [Your] highlighter is on point and you're a sweetheart all year round, so no," she wrote.
Shah's open letter was well-received by some of her peers in showbiz.
Writer/actor Osman Khalid Butt commented, "Ushna for President! Lao you, you straight-talking BS-repellant Barbarella!" while photographer Zara Tareen said, "I will finally allow my mother to call you her daughter without any hesitation." Actor Ayaz Samoo and model Rabia Butt also wrote words of appreciation.