Reham Khan — a British-Pakistani journalist and ex-wife of former prime minister Imran Khan — sparked a heated debate for criticising celebrities for their perceived lack of understanding of the struggles faced by the general population. Her statement was met by a heated rebuttal from actor Urwa Hocane, who defended the industry and said the hard work and contributions made by artists promote Pakistani art globally.
In a since deleted tweet, Reham wrote, “Pakistan should not be just a shopping destination for bridal couture & lawn collections. Come & live here. Invest in local communities.
“Those overseas Pakistanis who do not want to give up their jobs but claim to be experts on Pakistani politics need an education about ground realities.”
She questioned the suitability of celebrities as statesmen, arguing that their glamorous lifestyles have distanced them from the challenges faced by ordinary citizens. “Celebrities look good as pin-up boys but are not usually statesman material purely because they have never lived normal lives like the rest of the population.”
Hocane took offence to Reham’s remarks, particularly the implications about celebrities and responded on her Instagram story, saying, “I could have agreed with your statement about investing in ‘local communities’ until your derogatory remarks about ‘celebrities’.
“Just to expand your knowledge most of us are self-made and started from scratch just like myself and we are still working very hard to get us the deserved recognition as an art industry that is representing our country, peacefully & earning all of us immense respect & love around the globe.”
She questioned Reham’s credibility, reminding her of her own past as an actor and the validity of her opinions on Pakistani politics. “Your prejudice against celebs doesn’t add up, weren’t you kind of one as well, I recall you started as a child actor on PTV and I definitely don’t think that makes you a ‘pin up boy’ & also doesn’t take away your ‘entitlement’ that you are any less of a Pakistani citizen to have an opinion on Pakistani politics, I surely could give other reasons why you definitely aren’t a ‘statesman material’ but this one would mere be a weak finger pointing,” she added.
Hocane concluded by expressing her disappointment with the sweeping statements and snap judgments made against actors and urged Reham to make her point without belittling respected individuals in the industry.
“Feel free to apologise as us ‘celebrities’ other than being self-made/ hardworking happen to be very forgiving, kindhearted and peaceful as well.”
While Reham’s perspective on certain sections of society may resonate with some, generalising celebrities’ understanding of public struggles is wrong. Especially because they are citizens as well and are entitled to their opinions. While it is important to have informed political engagement and critical thinking within the industry, it’s not right to judge a book by its cover. Generalisations are never a good thing.