“Taskeen’s story is about how she became a survivor"
Controversial Pakistani show Hadsa is set to return to TV after it was banned following an uproar over it being allegedly based on a real-life motorway rape in 2020.
The serial was banned by PEMRA (Pakistani Electronic Media Regulatory Authority).
The decision has now been reversed after it was highlighted that PEMRA had not permitted the appellant to plead their case before the ban was put into place.
The PEMRA Ordinance stated:
“Though short reasons have been mentioned in the impugned order, the record reveals that the authority did not afford the right of hearing to the applicant/appellant before passing the impugned order.
“Which is mandated by Article 10-A of the constitution.
“The impugned order dated 30.08.2023, passed by PEMRA has been suspended in the light of case law.
“Only the objectionable part should be prohibited from being broadcasted and directed to be suitably modified, and the broadcast or rebroadcast of the complete play or drama must not be prohibited.”
Hadsa director Wajahat Rauf took to Instagram to express his heartfelt gratitude for the court’s decision, saying:
“The Honourable Islamabad High Court has allowed our fictional character Takseen to tell her inspirational story of getting justice for herself and all other survivors like her.
“Taskeen’s story is about how she became a survivor instead of a victim with a resolute struggle for justice.
“We are grateful that viewers will get to see the story in its entirety.”
Episode four of Hadsa showed Taskeen (Hadiqa Kiani) and her son travelling by car to a wedding when they are stopped by thieves, who demand their possessions.
Taskeen gives her jewellery, money and mobile phone while her son is held at gunpoint. She is then seen being dragged into the dark by two men.
The episode was met with mixed responses and one person pointed out that the episode was based on the motorway incident while another applauded the Hadsa team for portraying the scene with such sensitivity.
The fifth episode showed police collecting evidence at the crime scene, and Taskeen’s scarf is shown ripped and hanging on a branch, implying that she has been raped.
She is then shown in hospital in a state of shock, repeatedly asking to be left alone.
Hadiqa was praised for her portrayal of Taskeen, and many expressed their love for the drama.
One person said: “Every single Pakistani drama serial is a masterpiece!
“Hadsa is an excellent way to tell the audience about the recent big incident which happened on the motorway of Sialkot.
“This drama is splendidly portraying the sentiments through which such family members had gone through.”
Another wrote: “Hadiqa proved herself a powerful actress. She deserves the best actress award for this drama serial.”
However, the victim of the motorway rape contacted journalist Fereeha Idrees and asked for her help to have the drama taken off air.
A formal complaint was then issued by human rights lawyer Khadija Siddiqi and as a result, PEMRA banned the continuation of Hadsa.
However, the producers of the drama, Shazia Wajahat and Wajahat Rauf claimed that the rape scene was only portrayed in the fifth episode.
They both told the court: “This particular scene has been portrayed in a manner consistent with the accepted standards of decency recognised in Pakistani society.”
Since the ban reversal, many have expressed their disappointment.
One angry social media user stated:
“Those who are in support of such a drama, I hope you never go through the same.”
“You freaking idiots can’t decide for someone else. You can’t speak against inflation but you can protest ‘the drama has been made for awareness’.
One person claimed that justice had died in Pakistan, while another said Hadiqa always chose controversial topics for her acting projects.
Although the ban has been lifted, it is not known when Hadsa will return to our screens.