And it so happened that the one sensible play that one channel churned out in years was served a notice by PEMRA to honor the barrage of complaints received from viewers.

I'm talking about Udaari, a Momina Duraid and Kashf Foundation production, aired on and distributed by the daring HUM TV channel. The play highlights the gruesome issue of child abuse at its core while hinting at various other disturbing trends in our society. The story plays out in a tight-knit rural setting and pans out to the urban environments from scene to scene as the play progresses.

Kashf Foundation, a wealth management company for low income households, is the co-creator and co-producer for the Udaari. They were involved with a similar eye-opener previously, Rihai, which was centered on the topic of child marriage and that too was aired on HUM TV. Kashf’s spokesperson told me that the idea to focus on child sexual abuse came from Kashf. The Foundation collected stories of such crimes from their clients and shared them with Momina Duraid and Farhat Ishtiaq who dramatized them for Udaari. The Foundation is quite invested in the project from the script to casting to research on statistics and laws.

So you see, Udaari is no fabrication. It is, in fact, a mirror image of our very own society and its sins. Too bad if the reflection is so ugly that we are hell-bent on breaking the mirror to escape it.

According to the notice served by PEMRA, numerous complaints were received by the media regulator authority with regards to certain scenes in episode 4 and 5 of the drama. The notice read:

“…televised scenes were immensely inappropriate and immoral…the viewers, especially parents, are greatly angered by it and according to psychiatrists, such scenes not only entice such criminally inclined individuals but also go against ethical norms of our society… According to complainants, dramatizing the various vices within the society in such a manner is not only not acceptable but it also promotes a negative image of the country. The complainants asked if the creators of Udaari could honestly vouch to watching the drama in the presence of their own families…”

In addition to that, the complainants were upset about the effects Udaari would have on their children.


Let me rip the whiners apart.

First of all, if you think that HUM TV dramas or any dramas from any channel for that matter with their conniving women, corrupt men, family politics, love triangles, mini harems, glorified rapists, bickering couples, abusive husbands, cheating wives, mentally depraved relatives who want nothing but to destroy lives of all those they claim to love, and the overall adult themes are suitable for children and somehow shows like Udaari are the ones that’ll deprive your kid of her innocence, then IMO, you’re an individual who never should have had the privilege to reproduce. Rethink parenting.

As for family time viewership, if Abba and Bhai and Mijazi Khuda can watch the horrid news of today at a blaring surround sound of 420 notches, then, y’all can watch Udaari and the likes of that together too. The only thing Udaari needs to do is slap a disclaimer at the beginning and keep on.

Now, pray tell which psychiatrists have dished out the profound statement quoted above in the notice? Are they real doctors, made of flesh and blood and can they be reached to validate their claim or are they a figment of someone’s imagination either at PEMRA or from among your whiners’ club? Are we really to care for the criminally inclined and not bring awareness to important issues for fear that some sicko might be aroused and commit the exact crime we’re telling the viewers to NOT commit because it’s wrong? This notion in itself is so insane, I don’t even know how to refute it!

According to the Aurat Foundation’s VAW (Violence Against Women) report, there were over 7,000 cases of violence against women in 2014.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a rape occurs in the country every 2 hours, and a gang rape every 8 hours.

According to statistics published by our newspapers, about 3500 children were sexually abused in 2014. In early 2016, there were 14,850 kidnappings involving women, children and girls, reported in Punjab alone last year. Some 2,000 women were kidnapped and 80% of them were believed to be raped.

Are you suggesting that all this crime, all these numbers are a result of television plays? You seriously think it is Udaari’s fault, a play that is as young as 5 episodes, that Pakistan has such a shameful track record for such heinous crimes spanning over years and decades?

Cherry on top, let’s bash dramas and documentaries for promoting a negative image of Pakistan around the world. Here’s a reality check…let me tell you what really gives Pakistan a bad name and brings it shame.

Panama Leaks bring shame to Pakistan.

The well-regulated pedophile rings of Kasur and Swat give Pakistan a bad name. The rampant bacha baazi of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa gives Pakistan a bad name.

The teacher who rapes and impregnates his student, the Imam who rapes and kills a 5-year-old boy, the Amil Baba who rapes a teenaged girl, the group that rape and film a girl and upload that clip on social media and those who share it are the monsters that promote Pakistan’s negative image.

The kidnappers of 980 minors in 2016, including newborns from the hospital, are the ones that shame Pakistan in the international community.

The MPA who rapes a girl, those who do not convict him, those who defend him and those who deny the victim any justice are the ones who shame Pakistan.

The Jirga that orders rape as punishment, for Mukhtar Mai in Meerwala, for Ambereen in Abbottabad, for Safia in Chiniot, for the 40-year-old widow in Muzzafargarh, and for many more who are not even reported, that immoral Jirga is the one that shames Pakistan.

The murderer who slits and cuts his sister and leaves her to die, makes her video and posts it to social media is the scum of the earth who brings shame to Pakistan.

The men sitting at the screening of a documentary made to fight against the horrors of honor killings but instead they cheer and hail the very brutality of the crime are the ones that give Pakistan a bad name.

The ones mistreating the minorities of Pakistan, the ones burning down their homes, their places of worship, their bodies, the ones falsely accusing them of serious crimes that they didn’t even commit, the ones coercing them to change their lifestyle/religion/identities by threat of force and violence, the ones flaunting their bigotry and biases in the name of religion and righteousness are the ones shaming Pakistan.

The political parties and clerics blocking bills and demonizing laws made to protect women are the ones that shame Pakistan.

The terrorists who shot a 12-year-old in the face, who massacred 144 innocent children in a school,who butchered 23 young Pakistani soldiers, who have killed about 80,000 Pakistani citizens till now and counting, and who not only go unpunished but are invited to negotiate, have their goons serving in political and clerical capacities in the country – all those who enable such terrorists to operate because they are incompetent/apologists/stupid are the ones who shame Pakistan. In fact, they’re not simply shaming us, they’re destroying us.

And you. You the reader who is sitting there shaking your big fat head, just about ready to discredit this piece or pieces like this and Udaari or efforts like Udaari by calling us enemy agents or promoters of westernized agendas. You who do nothing to get rid of the cesspool of corruption you so grandly sit in and only move to criticize the ones telling you hey, look where you’re sitting! You are the one shaming Pakistan with your ignorance, your silence and your lack of action to make your country better.

Wake up! Get your head out of the sand and look around you. The mirror is only reflecting what is.