Amar Khan defends Wajahat Rauf, ‘female Edhi’ Hadiqa Kiani amidst ‘Hadsa’ outrage
Amidst a local outcry and subsequent ban on Hadsa by the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA), actor Amar Khan has come forward to defend showrunner Wajahat Rauf. The controversy stems from the alleged portrayal of a storyline based on the sensitive motorway rape case that shook the nation.
Taking to Instagram, Amar expressed her support for Wajahat and his wife, Shazia Wajahat, alongside Hadiqa Kiani. The actor said, “Though I’ve never worked with [Wajahat and Shazia], but always heard [that they] are not just gracious producers but most responsible ones on television. They have had some brave attempts and ventures which weren’t run-of-the-mill.”
She also went on to allege that Kiani, the singer-turned-actor “has emerged as the female Edhi in the past few years.” Amar said, “Her philanthropy, nobility and stand for humanity-based causes has no match. I fully believe in this team and I don’t think they will ever exploit or stand for anything wrong or offensive. Let’s allow them to breathe for some time and let their content along with passing time answer your queries and do the talking.”
The controversy erupted after a journalist took to Twitter to highlight how Hadsa may have borrowed from the 2020 events of the motorway rape case, revealing a conversation with the highly distraught survivor. This sparked massive outrage, and PEMRA imposed an immediate ban on the broadcast and rebroadcast of the show.
Barrister Khadija Siddiqi, Advocate High Court, raised the issue by filing a complaint through Barrister Muhammad Ahmed Pansota, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan. The complaint invoked Section 27 of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002, calling for appropriate action to be taken. The drama’s plot, which seemingly drew parallels to the sensitive incident, prompted a surge of public discontent.
Responding to the backlash, PEMRA conducted an evaluation of Hadsa and concluded that the storyline was “highly inappropriate, disturbing and not depicting the true picture of Pakistani society”. The regulatory authority expressed concern that the portrayal of such a heinous act would not only trigger the victim’s trauma but also tarnish Pakistan’s global image, potentially rendering the country unsafe for women.
Wajahat stepped in to defend the decision, emphasising that it was not based on the motorway incident itself. “The drama is not based on the motorway incident,” he stated. “The protagonist, her husband, her three children, the family dynamics, the police officers who investigate the crime, the reason behind the crime, and the trial are all fictional. The only thing common is the part that the incident occurred on a highway.” Hadiqa, too, denied that the show was based on the 2020 case.