Ever since Asim Abbasi's Churails released on the virtual international platform Zee5, news of its content surrounding women's rights has been making headlines.
Pressing on important issues such as child abuse, forced marriages, deplorable labour conditions, domination of race and class leading to suicide and crime, as well as internalised misogyny and society's collective obsession with fair complexion, the series uncovered some harsh societal realities of Pakistan.
However, the show has now been removed for viewers accessing the Zee5 platform in Pakistan.
Taking to Twitter, Abbasi expressed his dismay at the decision, saying he was utterly disappointed that artistic freedom and content while being appreciated abroad, was being suffocated in the country of origin.
"How strange for Churails to be lauded internationally and now be shut down in its country of origin. In the very country where hundreds of artists came together to create something that could initiate dialogue and open doors for new narratives," Abbasi posted.
Revealing his distaste, Abbasi said the loss was communal; affecting not just him but the actors, writers, directors, women, and marginalised communities across the nation whose plight the show had highlighted and raised a voice for.
"Artistic freedom squashed because it is wrongly perceived by some as a moral threat. Predictable, and yet, still disappointing. For this is not just my loss. This is a loss for women and marginalised communities that this show meant to re-represent."
"This is a loss for all actors, writers, directors and technicians across Pakistan, who were hoping for digital/OTT to be their saviour. And it's a home-run for all the misogynists who have once again proven that they are the only voice that matters," Abbasi added.
Many have taken to social media in support of the series, calling the removal ignorant and hypocritical.
Featuring Sarwat Gillani, Yasra Rizvi, Nimra Bucha and Meher Bano in lead roles, Churails' narrative revolved around the girl gang's mission to expose cheating husbands through a covert detective agency.