Sheheryar Munawar recently tried his hand at social activism and took to social media to comment on the on-going episode involving the nation's students, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood, and the approaching exams. When he urged the government to cancel exams in the interest of the students' safety, given the risk that Covid poses, the internet turned on him and asked about a qawwali he attended not too long ago, forcing him to apologise.
The Ho Mann Jahan star posted a tweet, urging the government to "refrain from putting the health and safety of our students at risk", calling for an alternate to in person exams. The tweet came in as celebrity after celebrity weighed in on the matter.
However, the internet has a long memory. A memory that raised its collective eyebrows at Munawar's statement and brought him under scrutiny.
Just a day earlier, actor couple Sarwat Gilani and Fahad Mirza had thrown a qawwali night at their home in Karachi. Several celebrities were seen in attendance in pictures several others put up. And in the pictures, the internet recalled, was one of Munawar and Gilani.
The smell of hypocrisy was too much for this user. He asked if Pakistan had become Covid free the previous day?
While the tweet got little attention, Munawar understood it was a serious accusation. One that made him look bad. Hence, he felt the need to explain himself.
"Last week I went to wish my neighbour on his birthday on an invitation I had accepted two weeks prior," he said, claiming he only went to wish Mirza and left within five minutes, bothered by the large crowd. In what he describes as a candid moment, he took his mask off for a picture with Gilani, a picture that then found its way to social media.
Munawar then noted that his behaviour was indeed the problem, as was rightfully pointed out. He acknowledged, and accepted his mistake.
"Rightly so, I was called out for doing that [taking mask off for a picture] and not following the SOPs. There is no justification for my actions and I stand corrected."
He offered an apology for his :ignorance, lapse in judgment and lack of better sense", crediting his social media "family" for keeping his moral compass in check.
The actor and model urged Pakistan to follow the government provided guidelines and SOPs.
It's a tricky world for those in the public eye, with the internet making speaking on it feel like minesweeper. Though we're glad Munawar acknowledged his errors and issued an apology, we wish our celebrities would just stay home instead of attending parties. Now isn't the time to party, it's the time to save lives.