Celebs, netizens rally behind Ayesha Omar after Naumaan Ijaz criticises her for opening up about harassment

Celebs, netizens rally behind Ayesha Omar after Naumaan Ijaz criticises her for opening up about harassment

The actor may host a talkshow but he has a lot to learn about how to converse with his guests.
13 Apr, 2022

There is no time limit on when you have to speak about sexual harassment. In fact, many people do not share their own experiences right away because of a variety of reasons such as trauma, lack of support or just not being comfortable speaking about it. That's what makes Naumaan Ijaz's comments to Ayesha Omar so horrible. Omar had spoken up about being sexually assaulted two years ago, however, for Ijaz it's best to keep such experiences to yourself.

Omar appeared on Ijaz's show G Sarkar on April 3 where the Sang-e-Mah actor questioned her experience of being sexually assaulted when she had just entered the entertainment industry. Ijaz observed during the show that Omar did "controversial" things and asked if she did them intentionally. He also mentioned "bold shoots" as a part of the 'controversial things' he was referring to and then, rather amazingly, included her experience of getting harassed in the past.

According to Ijaz, if something has happened in the past then it's not necessary to 'imitate' someone and speak up about it later. He said that such things end up damaging one’s image. In response, the Bulbulay star said that a person doesn't only share their experience because they are inspired by someone else who has come forward. I need to follow my own truth, she said.

"What's the point in sharing [your experience]," he asked, when "you know what your position is and the kind of society we live in. Surviving here is difficult and people do not take these things well or even positively." In response, Omar said she speaks according to what she thinks is right and what she believes is the truth.

Disregarding her experience, the host implied that Omar might've been "supporting someone or a movement" to which she denied this and told him that whatever she said was for herself. In return the host retorted and questioned whether anyone expressed the "need" for her experience to be shared with the world, to which she responded that many had asked her to come forward.

Ijaz interrupted Omar and said, "Jahan zindagi ke itnay saal guzar gaye, to guzarne deti, ghalat tasur ko develop kerne ki kya zaroorat thi [when so many years have passed, you should have let it be. What was the purpose of developing a wrong impression]?" In response, the actor said seeing someone else speak up emboldened her to tell her own truth and if she inspired others to do the same, then so be it.

Rightful backlash

Fashion industry moguls Frieha Altaf and Maheen Khan along with netizens have called Ijaz out online and said that he is using Omar just to "gain attention".

Altaf had commented under Niche Lifestyle's Instagram post about Ijaz's behaviour with Omar during the show. The PR guru wrote that most people in Pakistan believe a woman, a man or transgender person should shut up about sexual harassment, rape and domestic abuse. "This is most of our society. Chup raho kuch na bolo. Abh kya zaroorat hai, ho gaya, bhool jao [stay quiet, don't say anything. What's the need for it now, it happened, forget about it]."

She also said that the narrative has to change and that a victim or survivor can speak "whenever they are ready".

"Noman is from the school of society that believes in 'shut up, don't speak'," she said, praising Omar for her strength.

Designer Khan retweeted Altaf's comment and wrote, "Mr Noman Ijaz is a disgrace to his family". She also said that using Omar to "gain attention" is pathetic.

Twitteratis had a lot to say about Ijaz as well and wrote that the actor "gaslighting" Omar in the show was triggering to watch. One user wrote that the actor leaves no opportunity in shaming women who have the courage to come out with their tough stories and that there is "zero accountability" for celebrities like him.

This user said Ijaz's previous statement about marital affairs was apparently okay but Omar speaking her truth is questionable for the actor.

This user called him out for being "tone deaf" for saying that Omar should have let bygones be bygones.

Another just expressed how as a fan even though she loves Ijaz's work, every time she has to try to forget about every "stupid thing" he has ever said and done.

Ayesha Omar's story

Omar had shared her story two years ago and said that she had been harassed for years. "A huge powerful man, twice my age. I had just entered the industry, I was this young 23-year-old, fresh out of college, and bam, this started happening. And it went on for years," she said in an Instagram live.

She said that she didn't wanted to process it and had put it "in a box" and didn't wanted to deal with it. Omar confessed in the Instagram live session that she didn't want to share it with anybody and wanted it to stay there for 15 years, until she finally spoke about it to someone.

People who have been harassed or assaulted are allowed to take as long as they want to speak about their experiences and trauma. They don't owe any one any explanations on why they didn't speak up earlier nor should they be questioned about it.

For Ijaz to try to invalidate Omar's experience and question why she spoke up in the first place is disgusting and cruel. Omar handled his downright cruel interrogation with far more grace and dignity than we would have. She answered his questions calmly and with a level-head and it's horrible that it was even required of her.

Ijaz needs to learn that not everything is fodder for jokes and lame comments on his Tv shows. His terrible probing questions and foolish remarks said a lot more about him that they did about Omar's supposedly "controversial" nature — whatever that means.


Syed Hasni Apr 13, 2022 04:36pm
Our lives begin to end the day was become silent about things that matter - MLK We must send a message across the world that there is no disgrace in being a survivor of sexual violence- the shame is on the Aggressor. #Shame on Nauman Ijaz to think that way.
akram Apr 13, 2022 04:45pm
the mentality of Ijaz is the typical backward mentality of Pakistani men living in the past as if its going to return. I wonder if he would would be so blase if it was his sister who was sexually assaulted or his daughter?
Zak Apr 13, 2022 04:46pm
Ayesha Omar is a great actor, we love and respect her.
Nads Apr 13, 2022 05:46pm
Women are abused a lot, in more than one way. If they don’t vocalise that they are being assaulted then it normalises this behaviour. It’s not only actresses often in homes in educational institutions, so on …it’s important to start having these conversations so the people who abuse know they can’t walk off without consequences!
Mahmood Ayub Apr 13, 2022 06:05pm
My respect and admiration for Ayesha Omar has gone up even more. Shame on Noman Ijaz . He should stick to his acting, and in Sang e Mah he was great.
royter Apr 13, 2022 06:11pm
The illuminati party comes out to back whoever is part of them or supports their agenda. They first went after prolific writer Khalil ur Rehman Qamar, then Ali Zafar now Noman Ijaz, nothing new.
Zulfiqar Apr 13, 2022 08:38pm
Very disappointed with Noman Ijaz’s behaviour. He’s out of line commenting about something he has no clue about. Sexual harassment is not a joke and if you can’t feel for the victim at least have the decency to not belittle someone who was traumatized by it. In most cases this trauma can last a life time. Hope he apologizes to all he has offended with his callous behaviour.
Zulfiqar Apr 13, 2022 08:40pm
@royter you can’t be serious? There is no agenda here but to call out what is utterly wrong.
Ifti Malik Apr 13, 2022 09:20pm
Sad reading. Noman Ijaz has really behaved very insensitively towards Ayesha Omar . I hope he will apologise and they will both make up.
imran_m Apr 13, 2022 10:52pm
It's a shame when you use an offense as serious as harassment to gain popularity or to settle personal scores. It hurts the actual victims of harassment.
AZ Apr 13, 2022 11:53pm
@akram It wouldn’t surprise me if he told them to stay silent as well, For the sake of Izzat. Nauman Ijaz is a dinosaur and will never change.
krishna Apr 14, 2022 12:30am
Its ok to speak truth but Noman said society is not so kind , he didnt ask her to shutup ,just remind about present thinking of orthodox society
M. Saeed Apr 14, 2022 01:06am
Read the story again. What Ijaz said was not objected to by Omar and replied quite comfortably.
M. Saeed Apr 14, 2022 01:06am
Read the story again. What Ijaz said was not objected to by Omar and replied quite comfortably.
ali jaffery Apr 14, 2022 02:01am
judge her story on harassment on its merits Mr Ejaz.Why should anyone have to put up with harassment.
Zak Apr 14, 2022 02:33am
Designer Khan retweeted Altaf's comment and wrote, "Mr Noman Ijaz is a disgrace to his family". She also said that using Omar to "gain attention" is pathetic Noman ijaz should be in jail.
FAZ Apr 14, 2022 06:15am
NI is wrong. But what now the feminist brigade is gona do will be equally wrong. It won't stop at just condemnation. There will be a smear and online harassment campaign against the male actor even if he apologises.
Adnan Apr 14, 2022 11:54am
When your best produce behaves like this with his guests then what can one expect from the others… I have noticed that popularity do not sit well with Pakistanis… it’s like a kid having too many toys to play with… in the excitement of facing the camera somehow carries them away… get out of this mindset that you have to create controversies to gain popularity… think differently JAHILO!
DhangerDoctor Apr 14, 2022 01:45pm
Nauman Ijaz is a great actor but it was very insensitive of him to say those things to Ayesha Omar. She did not deserved to be ridiculed and belittle like that. He should publicly apologize to her for his actions and then they make out. Be good friends
Rami Apr 14, 2022 09:42pm
Talking about harassment is all is being done, if you have power, where are communities work being done, prevention is the key, what has been done?
Right way Apr 20, 2022 12:42pm
The crime has to be reported immediately and has to be followed rigorously to attain Justice, plus it helps to pin the criminals immediately and at least those criminals would not get chance to spread the crime more. I believe, coming out later in a casual conversation on media perhaps may not a be right approach if one wants the criminal to be punished and crime not to spread. One view to look at things....