“I honestly could not watch this"
Pakistani actress Mahira Khan is facing backlash after entrepreneur and women rights activist Kanwal Ahmed called her out for glorifying abusive relationships.
Kanwal Ahmed shared a tweet with her 14.4k followers in which she quoted Mahira’s roles in Humsafar and Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay.
Referencing Mahira’s Humsafar character Khirad’s popular dialogue that she says to her mother-in-law when Khirad is told to leave her home after being accused of infidelity, Kanwal wrote:
“The journey from ‘Mummy, what are you saying,’ to, ‘Aswad, what are you saying’,”
The second part of the tweet referred to a dialogue spoken by Mahira Khan’s character to her emotionally abusive husband in Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay.
Kanwal added: “10 years of promoting how to STAY ‘patiently’ in (violently) emotionally abusive marriages on the top drama channel with the highest ratings.”
Kanwal Ahmed is also the founder of Soul Sisters Pakistan, a Facebook group created for women to discuss taboo topics.
Responding to Kanwal’s tweet, a user wrote:
“These dramas truly will mess up young minds as to what a healthy relationship consists of.
“Women have and always will endure abuse and still feel obligated to their spouse in our culture.
“Society and family stand by and watch. No one does anything to change it.”
Also Mahira KNOWS and acknowledges the damage caused by regressive content that romanticizes abuse. Yet she repeatedly takes on roles that strengthen that same problematic narrative.
She’s a great actress and an icon in our country. We want and expect much, much better from her. https://t.co/lkBZHPoceA pic.twitter.com/SVYt5bBDHg
— Kanwal Ahmed (@kanwalful) November 29, 2021
Another commented: “I honestly could not watch this – our shows haven’t evolved. They have regressed.
“No trigger warning. Just keep glorifying abuse and suffering in silence. Pitting women against each other.”
Following her first tweet, Kanwal took to Twitter on November 29, 2021, to add:
“Also Mahira KNOWS and acknowledges the damage caused by regressive content that romanticises abuse.
“Yet she repeatedly takes on roles that strengthen that same problematic narrative.”
“She’s a great actress and an icon in our country. We want and expect much, much better from her.”
Kanwal also shared a clip from Mahira Khan’s current drama, Hum Kahan Ke Sachay Thay, in which the actress could be seen with her abusive husband, played by Usman Muktar.
In honour of Humsafar’s 10th anniversary, Mahira Khan recently took to Twitter to reflect on her character in the drama series.
Mahira Khan wrote: “I have nothing but gratitude and love for all of you and only myself to offer.
“Khirad is by far my most special character.
“She loved fiercely, she gave wholeheartedly and when it came to her self respect – she held it closest to her heart. What a woman.”
However, Mahira Khan, who was appointed as the National Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency in 2019, is yet to respond to the ongoing backlash.