Mehwish Hayat faced haters and trolls head on when she was awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and isn't backing down anytime soon.
The Load Wedding actor spoke to the BBC Asian Network and opened up about her work, her ethics and working in Bollywood.
"For the past two years, I have been very outspoken. I have realised that being an actress is not enough; i should use my voice for the causes I believe in."
"It is all about being fearless, which I have always been with my roles, my careers and my choices. Why not raise my voice against issues that I feel strongly for. That's why I have been very vocal about things and I am glad people respect that and that they listen to me."
While Mehwish spoke about "flying high" when receiving the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz and how "It feels great to be in the same name list of legends and heroes who have received it," she also opened up about the hate and bullying she was subjected to afterwards.
"Being a public figure I am used to trolling and criticism and it's okay, everyone has their own opinions. However, questioning my character and credibility was crossing the line.
"My contribution to Pakistani cinema and art were overlooked and it was assumed that I slept my way to the awards. That was crossing the line, I had to stand up and fight... No one can question my credibility and character, they don't even know me.
"As artists we deserve respect and acknowledgement, and mindsets are changing but we still need to work on that mentality. We generate money. In 2017 our movies made around 2.5 billion rupees and in 2018 approximately 5 billion rupees, so it is a growing business we're all contributing to bringing a softer image of Pakistan to the world. All we need is respect and acknowledgement," she added.
Hayat also talked about how her job entails wearing 'western clothes' and performing item songs, "We belong to a very glamorous industry, it is all glitz and glamour and we have to show some skin, we have to wear western clothes, I have to dance in Billi, because I am an actress and that's a character I am playing."
"Being a part of this industry does not mean we have forsaken our morals... We as artists are very emotional and sensitive people and we haven't forsaken our morals."
While Hayat has no regrets when it comes to the choices she made in movies, she did open up about one mistake she made: endorsing fairness products.
"I was young, didn't realise what these things meant, and just saw the glamour and beauty. As I matured mentally, I realised I should not endorse things I don’t myself believe in. I am not fair. I am wheatish and i love my complexion.
She added, "Body shaming is something I want to work on... We need to put an end to unrealistic beauty standards."
Hayat has previously spoken about refusing work in Bollywood. According to the star, "It was a conscious decision that I want to stay here in my country and work for my Pakistani cinema."