Content Warning: Discussion of rape
In the wake of the controversial drama series ‘Hadsa’ facing backlash for its portrayal of the 2020 motorway rape case without proper consent, prominent figures such as Nadia Afghan and Nadia Jamil have criticized both the lead actress, Hadiqa Kiani, for her perceived insensitive statement, as well as the show’s writer, Zanjabeel Asim Shah.
Calls have been made for the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) to intervene and remove the show from airing.
A particular dialogue from the drama has now ignited further outrage on social media. The line, spoken by the main character Taskeen, goes, “Just as the soul doesn’t return to a dead body… similarly, lost honor doesn’t return.” This dialogue was featured in the fifth episode, where Taskeen is recovering in the hospital from her injuries.
The controversial dialogue has only fueled more criticism on social media. Users are questioning how such a line received approval, especially from Hadiqa Kiani, who is known for her involvement in feminist projects that empower women.
Activist Leena Ghani raised her voice, stating: “What excuse is Hadiqa Kiani going to give us now? That she didn’t read the dialogue? Was she forced to say ‘Khoi huwi izzat…’ Honor isn’t stolen from victims; it’s not the survivors who are lacking honor, but rather the rapists who possess no honor. Is this how Geo TV aims to raise awareness—by blaming victims and gaslighting survivors of sexual abuse? Why does no one in the industry have the courage to stand up and do what’s right?”
Actress Nadia Jamil expressed strong condemnation of the dialogue, deeming it “disgusting.” She emphasized that the honor of rape survivors is never taken away. She criticized both PEMRA and GEO for perpetuating the harmful narrative of shame, which further marginalizes survivors of rape. Nadia Jamil, a survivor of child abuse herself, stressed the importance of challenging such narratives and creating safe spaces for survivors.
This is disgusting. As a survivor of child sexual abuse and rape I am offended and disgusted by this comment.
For those who cannot read Urdu the dialogue basically says:
“Like a corpse cannot come back to life.. lost honour can never come back.”
The disgusting words used for… pic.twitter.com/N8gVe23Iig
— Nadia Jamil (@NJLahori) August 29, 2023
Meanwhile, Nadia Afghan criticized content creators for their insensitivity and profiteering from sensitive subjects like rape. She voiced her disappointment and heartache over their approach and expressed that their actions are driven by financial motives rather than sensitivity.
The controversies surrounding ‘Hadsa’ have sparked a broader conversation about the responsible handling of sensitive topics in the media and the need for better representation of survivors’ experiences.