Resham has forgiven Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and thinks we should too — here’s why that’s a problem

Resham has forgiven Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and thinks we should too — here’s why that’s a problem

There is no justification for violence, so why should there be forgiveness — that too, in the absence of a genuine apology.
Updated 28 Mar, 2024

Resham is in the mood to forgive Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and thinks we all should too. But while there’s nothing wrong with forgiving people, Resham forgets that bad behaviour shouldn’t be rewarded. She also seems to have forgotten what actually happened.

The veteran actor, in a recent interaction with Ahmed Ali Butt, said that because Khan made Pakistan proud on numerous occasions, she “forgives him”. She also said that because he has ‘apologised’, he should be held in high regard, more so than before.

“Such a big name, not only in Pakistan but outside of it too. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has only ever made this country proud. I really admire what he did; he firstly apologised to God, then to the person he wronged, then to all of us. My respect for him has doubled,” she said. “There are few who can admit their mistakes. So we should respect and love him more than before.”

Resham’s remarks come hot on the heels of Khan being awarded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Imtiaz, two of the country’s highest civil honours. Her recollection of the situation contrasts starkly with what actually happened. It also trivialises assault and exempts public figures from ever being held to account, with or without a sincere apology.

Here’s a recap of what actually happened: in January, a secretly recorded video of Khan emerged where he was seen violently beating a person in his employ over a missing “bottle”. This was followed by online backlash and an ‘apology video’ that was quickly deleted. In this, Khan attempted to downplay the severity of the incident by framing it as a disciplinary matter between a ‘mentor and his pupil’.

He later came forward with another ‘apology video’ which was also fraught with evasion and deflection. It saw him blame his former management for leaking the video, notably omitting any remorse towards his victim. He then attempted to deflect by claiming that the misplaced item (a bottle) had “holy water” blessed by his spiritual guide, which people failed to recognise the “sanctity” of.

In short, Khan’s so called “apology” painted him as a victim of a grand smear campaign rather than a perpetrator of violence.

Despite the horrific incident of violence, Khan was awarded Pakistan’s second and third highest civil honours for his contributions to the music industry.

The move sends a troubling message about the prioritisation of artistic achievements over ethical conduct. It also reinforces a culture of impunity among public figures and trivialises the seriousness of physical assault and abuse.

Resham advocating for Khan’s forgiveness raises issues about accountability, integrity, and the ethical responsibilities of public figures. While forgiveness can be a transformative force, it should be reserved for those who show genuine remorse for their actions. In Khan’s case, the absence of a sincere apology undermines the credibility of calls for forgiveness.

It’s not like Khan has faced adequate repercussions for his actions, aside from online trolling and the loss of an association with King Charles’ British Asian Trust. He continues to thrive both locally and internationally with little if any damage to his popularity.

This isn’t the first time Resham has commented on public figures deserving forgiveness — she was at the centre of a controversy herself in which people didn’t care much for her own apology.

The actor came under scrutiny in September 2022 for a littering incident which she followed up with an apology that was far more sincere than Khan’s. A video of her casually throwing plastic waste into a river while heading to Charsadda to help flood affectees drew ire online. After initially calling people out for “trolling her”, she termed it the “biggest mistake” of her career and said that she’ll try to make sure it never happens again.

But Khan warned of other secretly recorded videos of him in his second ‘apology’ video that may emerge in the future as part of an alleged attempt to defame him. And that means this may not be an isolated incident. While he vowed to not to repeat his actions, Khan alleged that his old management company — PME Entertainment — had been making videos of him without his “permission” for “who knows how long”. He didn’t comment on what he was doing in said videos.

Regardless of plots of revenge or careless mistakes, public figures also need to acknowledge and appreciate the responsibility that comes with their positions. Irrespective of one’s popularity or status, one must be held accountable for assault. They should be held doubly accountable if they failed to actually apologise.

Resham may want everyone to practice forgiveness, but she can’t absolve and forgive someone for violently assaulting their student and then claim that his half-hearted apology for being caught on camera makes him worthy of more “respect and love”.


Syed Hasni Mar 28, 2024 01:34pm
Never ruin an apology with an excuse." - Benjamin Franklin He ruined his apology with a video of justifying his act. He should apologize to the whole nation for his act of insanity.
Ali Mar 28, 2024 02:33pm
What a joke!!!! This is what Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Sitara-e-Imtiaz worth now!
Chengez Mar 28, 2024 04:12pm
Awards should be given to Ahad Cheema & Governor Punjab for making fun of the educational system !!!
Feroze Khan Mar 28, 2024 04:51pm
At least someone in the government should have taken note that Rahat has been removed from the British Asian association of King Charles . What Resham is saying amounts to giving a carte Blanche to all public figures for their immoral attitude towards their staff. What else can you expect from her.
Shahzada Qasim Mar 28, 2024 05:11pm
Well I totally agree with the views expressed by the writer but as far as the matter of awarding Hilal-e-Imtiaz and Sitar-e-Imtiaz is concerned, and the fact that the writer has deemed it wrong; it should be considered that these awards had been finalished several months ago and even if they weren't; it should be a qiestion that whether this act of violence was bad enough to nullify all the achievements of Rahat Fateh Ali Khan? - I don't think so.
Layla Mar 28, 2024 05:42pm
In Pakistan, violent people get country’s highest honors whereas in other decent and democratic countries, these thugs are put behind bars. This speaks volumes about the country’s ideology. Lol!
Khan Mar 28, 2024 06:14pm
A celebrity of this stature should realise whatever wrong they do will not only male them infamous but also bring bad publicity to our country. There is no forgiveness to covering up ur bad deeds anyways.
Ahmed Mar 28, 2024 08:34pm
Have you never done anything wrong? Were you always punished for it? See the problem with your take on this? The only person who can forgive Rahat is the person who was wronged. If he has forgiven him then who are we to come in between them.
M.Saeed Mar 28, 2024 10:09pm
To own one's mistake is one of the greatest of human brevities and to apologies for that mistake, is the first genuine way to make amends.
Tayab Andrabi Mar 28, 2024 10:44pm
Everyone who watched that Rahat beating a student/ helper/Mentee being beaten over a "Bottle of Holy water" video and the subsequent pathetic attempts to justify , is now clearly aware of this so called artists 'asliyaat'. I am ashamed that he represents Pakistan. He Should be totally boycotted both here and abroad. ( he is not a very talented singer anyways)
Asma Sayeed Mar 28, 2024 11:09pm
I just saw the second apology video. He is asking for maafi multiple times from all and sundry but not from the servant who he thrashed!!
Ali Mar 29, 2024 12:07am
No one gave the guy a medal for saving the lives of the students stranded on the chair lift in KP last year in August. He saved the lives of all the students but his name was nowhere to be see in list of award ceremony.
NYS Mar 29, 2024 12:16am
A bad or insincere apology is worse than no apology RFAK Conferring National award to Rahat at this time when nation is fueling on his voilant act Resham has good deeds on her credit please don't tangle yourself that make you controversial
Gp65 Mar 29, 2024 06:13am
“Khan has only ever made Pakistan proud”? In 2011, he was caught by Indian authorities smuggling out crores of Indian rupees earned in India without paying due taxes in India. Incidentally at that time, he was not even an income tax filer in Pakistan. While Khan is extremely talented, he is a man of poor character and low integrity.
Mj Mar 29, 2024 06:20am
He should have been in jail for physically assaulting his staff. What a shame ! Absolutely disgraceful and just did not have in him to say sorry to the poor guy - he should pay for this inhumane behavior not rewarded with Govt awards!
Abid Khan Mar 29, 2024 06:36am
No what he did it was wrong, in Pakistan you have any kind of power. It's Ok to do what ever you want. He is a famous singer, he should behave. If he is a Pakistani famous singer, he can do anything he wants no. Look at the government, they are at same line like him. Wrong is wrong. This mean i am sorry. it's ok, no it is not Ok.
Syed Hasni Mar 29, 2024 12:16pm
His violent video reminded me of Allan’s Iqbal’s Shair, Tu Qadir-o-Aadil Hai Magar Tere Jahaan Mein; Hain Talkh Bahut Banda-e-Mazdoor Ke Auqaat. You are all Powerful, and The Just, but in Your world; The times(fortunes) of the labourers, are very bitter He should fear the justice of Allmighty and give ann unconditional apology to the whole nation for his act of violence, on one of his poor countryman. There is always some one watching !!
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Mar 29, 2024 02:09pm
Old and bad habits die hard. Once an abuser, always a hustler, cheater and liar.
Syed Hasni Mar 29, 2024 03:42pm
If I was at the helm of the affairs, I would made him Nuzzle against on the floor and ask for forgiveness from this great guy who is trying to make living for his family, the nation who have raised him to sing like this, to his fans all over the world who listen to him and love him for the talent which he owed to the people of Pakistan, and above all, the Almighty who have Created us equally. RFK was born in Punjab, where the greatest philosopher of subcontinent was born, who said. Ek hi saf mein khade ho gaye Mahmood-o-Ayaz Na koi banda raha aur na koi banda-nawaz (Translation) "Sultan and slave in single file stood side by side. Then no servant was nor master, nothing did them divide.
Imran Sheikh Mar 30, 2024 08:30am
A petty, unusually talented singer. If he earned foreign exchange and remitted it to Pakistan officially, and paid tax on it, he should be respected for that. Has he? The Pride of Performance is the accepted recognition for exceptional artists. Whether being a very good singer is enough to justify awarding the second and third highest civil award, above other civilian contributors, is doubtful at best. The standards of this government are reflected in such selections.
Confused Mar 30, 2024 10:31am
Conflating a talent/skill with character!
najeeb Mar 31, 2024 08:56pm
Rahat has not been rewarded for his singing talent,he has received awards for his boxing skills.
Khurram Ayub Apr 04, 2024 04:44am
It’s a waste of an award to give it to a person who is facing a scandal. That’s how awards are brought into disrepute.