And the award for ultimate asshattery goes to Hum TV’s latest gem, Gul-e-Rana.

Gul-e-Rana is Hum TV’s latest production, apparently, another one in the channel’s long line of big hits if viewer comments on social media are anything to go by. The drama revolves around its female lead, Gul-e-Rana (Sajal Ali). After her father’s untimely death, Gul-e-Rana finds herself acutely dependent on her uncle, living in his house and arousing interest of her bratty cousin and uncle’s only child, Adeel (Feroze Khan). Adeel forcibly marries her and so far the story, 10 episodes in, doesn’t seem to be anything more than a power struggle between the couple.

Initially, I’d written the play off as Geo’s Bashar Momin revisited but man, did I have to eat my words! Gul-e-Rana is far worse for it even lacks the redeeming qualities of BM. BM was the story of a don, a hardcore criminal who has sworn off women but eventually sees the light of true love. Gul-e-Rana’s Adeel, however, is not essentially any of those things. He is an inexcusable prick who enjoys being just that. He is a kidnapper, a rapist, an obsessive compulsive control freak who isn’t even witty, and the only reason he is getting away with all this is because playwright Samra Bukhari and director Farooq Rind want to majorly contribute to the dumbing down of Pakistani audience with this project. They seriously seem to have vowed to check every misogynist trope in our culture off their list.

After successfully endorsing toxic notions like he hurts you because he loves you, women must bear all abuse patiently, husband is god incarnate, and there is no such thing as marital rape, Gul-e-Rana just shamelessly sided with the worst possible rationale for victim-shaming that all sexual abuse is a woman’s fault because men will be men.

In its latest episode, Adeel creeps into his female guest’s bedroom at night and attempts rape but is caught in the act by Gul as his victim screams out for help. Naturally, Gul blames the girl’s pajamas for the crime. When the victim tries to put forth her defense that she thought the offender was her friend, Gul shuts her off by making a sweeping reference to religion, “Islam doesn’t allow friendship between a man and a woman.”

Well, there goes Facebook. Don’t be sending out any more friend requests y’all. I have a few questions for the makers of Gul-e-Rana, though.

If the responsibility of being sexually abused in any form falls on the shoulders of the victim, especially if she is dressed provocatively, then, why are burka-clad women raped? Most of our women wear some form of an outer-covering – chador, burqa, dupatta, clothes – so, exactly why is there emphasis on covering the women more and only women while the men continue to gloat indiscriminately? What are your sentiments on men raping men, and what form of religious clothing would you prescribe for those victims? A burka perhaps for the victims of bacha baazi? Did you hear about the Kasur sex scandal? The victims were all children and majority of them were boys. How provocative could they have been on a scale of 1 to 10? What is an appropriate sleeping attire and in what world is it okay to crawl into someone’s bed without their permission and then blame them for what they wore to sleep in? If the only way for a misogynist to realize his aggression is for him to have a daughter and then see her in pain, as Gul later lectures Adeel, then, those with only sons are justified in being lifelong pricks? What’s your threshold for divorcing a douchebag? Also, what kind of stupid pills have you been popping to dish out this nonsense?

The play criticizes friendship between man and woman, basing it on religious grounds. Alright. Let’s be quite clear then. Islam only recognizes blood relations and marital unions as sacred or legitimate. Since Gul-e-Rana brought in religion, Gul-e-Rana’s mother shouldn’t be staying in Adeel’s father’s house. There is no blood relation between Gul’s mother and Adeel’s father, and since she’s a widow, there are no legal relations left either. They aren’t in-laws anymore. Gul’s friendship with her cousin Ashar has no sanctity either and believe it or not, religion doesn’t condone her riding with him on his bike just because she addresses him as Bhai. We love to Bhai-zone cousins all the time until one of them swings by with a rishta in hand. And then, the very Bhai Jaan is cut to Jaan only. How convenient but there’s a reason for that, isn’t there? Our cousins aren’t really our brothers. If they were, any relationship with them within the realm of romance and marriage would have been creepy and incestuous. On a scale of 1 to 10, our cousins, fiancés, exes, and all other men are equally na-mehram except for those that aren’t.

However, Islam does recognize humanity, kindness, importance of good behavior and sanctity of other people’s feelings… if anyone from this misogynist play wants to take that into account. Also, here’s a rare gem that many conveniently forget in order to validate the patriarchal status quo as it serves them.

"Al-Fadl bin Abbas rode behind Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) as his companion rider on the back portion of his she-camel on the day of Nahr (slaughtering of sacrifice, 10th Dhul-Hijja) and Al-Fadl was a handsome man. The Prophet stopped to give the people verdicts (regarding their matters). In the meantime, a beautiful woman from the tribe of Khatham came, asking the verdict of Allah's Messenger. Al-Fadl started looking at her as her beauty attracted him. The Prophet looked behind while Al-Fadl was looking at her; so the Prophet held out his hand and caught the chin of Al-Fadl and turned his face (to the other side) in order that he should not gaze at her." [Hadith Sahih Bukhari, narrated Abdullah ibn Abbas]

Moral of the story: the Prophet did not ask the woman to cover herself or go away but made his own cousin stop staring at her by physically making him look away from her. As for those screaming for Quranic quotes only, here’s one for you:

"Tell the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts..." [24:30]

Yes, that happened. Go die or grow a brain and make a better play than the crap you’re feeding us. Thank you.