This is an ‘Islamic’ republic: You can’t sit next to your wife!

Published: September 8, 2012

Yes, this is McDonalds Pakistan’s interpretation of ‘Islamic family atmosphere.’ The question is; who are they to judge us?

If you thought that of all the places to eat in Pakistan, McDonalds would be relatively safe from extreme behaviour, falsely made in the name of religion, sadly, you would be quite wrong. Unfortunately, I just found this out the hard way, and in an incident that left a worse taste in my mouth than the culinary abortions the burger joint had on offer.

Just yesterday, a little after midnight on Sunday, my wife and I, coming back from a friend’s birthday party, decided to stop at Karachi’s newest McDonald’s restaurant at Defence Phase 1 for some Diet Coke. Rather than go through the drive through, we decided to have our drinks inside, as I was a little curious having never been inside before.

After obtaining our order, we both decided to sit at the seating booth at the far end, located next to the TV.

My wife sat on her seat, and rather than sit on the parallel seat across the table from her, I am sorry to say that I made a terrible mistake.

Yes… I sat next to my wife. (Gasp!)

Not only that, but as we watched TV and sipped our sugar free soda, I did the unthinkable, and put my arm behind her shoulder. (Double Gasp!)

Yes, I know, I was but a fool to have decided to sit next to my wife publicly in a nation where sensibilities are so easily offended. Of course, having done so millions of times at other restaurants in Pakistan, and having grown up in Saudi Arabia, where I observed other men sitting with their wives without issue, I didn’t realise I was doing anything offensive.

But clearly, I was offending someone.

Not a few minutes had passed when a McDonald’s employee came up to us and very politely asked us to move. Initially, I thought we were blocking other patrons from viewing the television, and quietly informed the missus that we were being asked to shift because we were obstructing the TV.

Confused, she moved to the booth adjacent, and as I tried to sit in beside her, the same McDonald’s employee told me that I wasn’t allowed to sit next to her, but rather, should sit on the chair opposite to her, across the table.

“Why can’t I sit next to her?”

I asked when I finally grasped the ridiculousness of the situation.

“Sir, this is a family restaurant. Couples sitting together is against the policy of McDonalds Pakistan, as it goes against the family atmosphere of the restaurant.”

“What? But we are married (not that it is any of your business).”

“I am sorry sir, but you can’t sit side by side.”

At this point I was amused yet also saddened. Amused, because it was all very silly, and saddened because of the state of affairs this brewing incident was pointing to.

When the employee nervously told me that he was acting on orders from management, I decided to talk to the manager of the restaurant, who was sitting with his co-manager at the other end, having a McDonald’s meal.

Maybe that’s why he was in a foul mood.

Maybe he just wanted Burger King.

When I went up to them, the managers introduced themselves as Hammad and Amir. When asked for an explanation, they told me in exact words that this was a policy from upper management because couples, even married ones, sitting with each other, were a negative impact on the Islamic family atmosphere of McDonalds.

Yes, this is McDonalds Pakistan’s interpretation of ‘Islamic family atmosphere.’

The question is; who are they to judge us?

I am guessing that had I been sitting with a man, this would have been a non-issue.

From what I could size up of all three McDonalds employees involved in the situation, none of them carried the aura of extreme minded Muslims. While still very upset, having analysed the situation, I don’t entirely begrudge them.

They were only following orders.

If anyone is at fault here, it is McDonalds Pakistan.

The franchise certainly needs to consult Islamic law, which doesn’t suggest something as ridiculous as forbidding couples to sit together.

The fact is that we as a nation are becoming increasingly intolerant. These are dangerous steps we are taking, and it is the last thing I expected from such an established franchise, which should be ashamed of this stance.

I wouldn’t have expected this incident in Pakistan a decade ago, but our nation is being enveloped in the darkness of extremism very steadily. How far down this restrictive road is Pakistan going to go before the moderate Muslims of this nation stop living in fear and start standing up for their rights as free Muslims? How long must we walk on glass in order to avoid offending someone? The more we validate those who are not right, the more just will they feel.

I remember when I first came to Pakistan, while waiting in queue at the McDonalds branch at the Karachi airport, I saw a moody father viciously slap his young son a few times on the face for wanting a McDonalds toy. The incident which went on for a few minutes was disturbing to watch, but what was more disturbing was the indifference shown by the McDonalds employees, who continued to serve the man and his family quite merrily.

Later, I could only watch the boy quietly eat his meal, as huge tears rolled down his cheek, which was reddened by the beating he had taken from his father.

Clearly, physically abusing a member of your family in McDonalds is in line with ‘Islamic family atmosphere’, but sitting next to your wife, is not. I am quite sure that Islam accepts love over violence, any day. Perhaps someone should inform McDonalds Pakistan that the opposite isn’t the case.

A month ago, I blogged about a woman who complained about not being allowed to pray at a Karachi restaurant, when her minor complaint snowballed into a scary online protest, powered by those willing to threaten violence in the name of religion.

Very recently, a young Christian Pakistani girl, who is allegedly suffering from Down’s syndrome, was apparently framed in a blasphemy case designed to malign her and her minority community.

I don’t know what is happening to my country, but it is high time we had a ‘moderate Muslims’ movement in Pakistan. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again;

Continue to make your voices heard wherever you can, lest they be drowned out by the increasingly radical until it is too late.

Do you think men and women should be allowed to sit together in restaurants?

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Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

A freelance writer and regular contributor to The Express Tribune magazine and newspaper, Noman tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Zubair Ali

    Disgraceful. Almost as bad as their “Chicken (Processed) nuggets! Recommend

  • RK Singh

    I guess Pakistan is trying to out do Saudis on the crazy religious laws.Recommend

  • Omar Ansari

    I guess Ronald isn’t the only clown working for McDonalds. Recommend

  • http://www.godlessgeeks.com/ rahul sinha

    @ NOMAN:
    they are people doing business. whatever people prefer, they would serve.

    and, they are governed by forces of demand and supply, so expecting Mcdonald’s to do something to correct the basic nature of society, is asking too much.

    if society permits they won’t have much issue serving couples, kissing each other passionately.Recommend

  • Babar

    Well can you place your hand on her shoulder in front of your father, if yes, then McDonals staff was at err else…. Recommend

  • Areeba Iftikhar

    Finally! someone who is coming out & saying something against the heavily culture laced pseudo-Islamic hypocritical Pakistani values. Keep up the good workRecommend

  • Salman

    You should write a it to McDonald’s International. This is disgraceful. BOYCOTT McDonald’s! Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Imagine, you enter a restaurant at that time of night with your mother or sister, and you find a couple sitting very close to each other with guys hand around girl’s shoulder.. wont you feel uncomfortable.. at least a little bit ? well maybe not you but some other families may feel uncomfortable, of course they wont know that the guy and girl are husband and wife… what impression of the restaurant will people get, given the time of the night ? Stop criticising such petty issues and learn to respect the laws, tomorrow someone with a more liberal mindset may say.. “oh i am just kissing my girlfriend, whats wrong in that” ?Recommend

  • 123

    Dear writer,
    As far as your sitting with your wife (in a particular position) is concerned, it’s debatable. Had you been sitting in a parallel position or even side by side (properly), maybe they would’ve never bothered you. But the story that you told of the SOB uncle beating his child only for a toy, until his cheeks turned red, completely ruined my mood. I was about to have lunch but reading about the badly beaten child quietly eating his meal with tears rolling down his cheeks………………damn yaar ! i just don’t feel hungry anymore. THAT is just so sad. You should have bought a toy to that angel.Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    You have exaggerated the headline a bit. From your tale here, you were allowed to sit with your wife but public display of affection was not allowed in the restruant was not allowed (when you put your arm around her).
    Also in restraunts like McDonalds, there are many young un-married couples found there so management may have suspected you both as such. Indeed they were not following Islamic values. They were following Society’s values.Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/pugnate Noman Ansari

    @Mangoman:

    hahahaha if having your shoulder touched is foreplay for you then I feel sorry for all the cousins/sisters/mothers/aunts in your family who have ever given you a hug.

    @Babar:

    If you can’t put your arm around your wife while with your father then I have to ask a question: How are you getting internet in that cave?

    @Omar Ansari:

    hahahah true. Recommend

  • Mangoman

    @noman ansar

    you seriously lack some sense of humor. Recommend

  • Nandita.

    @Mangoman:

    HAHA. Touching your wife’s shoulder is foreplay ?……. hahaha ….. i can’t stop laughing … are you married ?? i pity your wife , if that’s your definition of foreplay ….Recommend

  • Thinks for herself

    “Stop criticising such petty issues and learn to respect the laws, tomorrow someone with a more liberal mindset may say.. “oh i am just kissing my girlfriend, whats wrong in that” ?”

    Putting your arm around your wife’s shoulder and kissing your girlfriend in public are two different things. Most restaurants have no problem with a couple sitting together. McDonald’s rule is extreme.

    To put both situations in the same category is ridiculous. Are we to blindly accept every rule that anyone in a position of authority chooses to impose for fear that questioning it may provoke the more ‘liberal’ members of our society? Or is questioning authority itself too ‘liberal’ a thought? Recommend

  • Saeed

    I doubt they would have stopped a couple of guys from sitting together , with their arms on each others shoulders. This country promotes homosexuality. Damn, even married couple can’t be together now.Recommend

  • Mohsin

    well i think its fake story…..no one stop u if u sit even with your girlfriend in this way….. anything against Islam, Pakistan and army sells …. dts y writer mentioned this fake story……..Recommend

  • susheel

    Either u follow / comply with the shariah of the Righteous of the “ghairat mand” society or get labelled as “be-ghairat” , “Hunood / yahood / nisaara/ maghrib ka agent” “Mashraqi iqdaar ka dushman”
    Understanding the doctrine in historic perspective of what we know as Pakistan we can come to the conclusion that “ghairat /mashriqi iqdaar”/ shariah compliance is the open public show of gender discrimination and nothing else..
    The righteous having worked hard over the years at keeping the male / female apart from each other will find show of such a kind of “be – ghariti” a conspiracy to their efforts and would commit themselves with the zeal to deal with that all “filth’ with iron hands.
    May i say the situation might have been much more healthy if we had worked over to generate a mindest of mutual respectful co existence of both the genders in every sphere of life.Recommend

  • AF

    I will take my wife to same mcdonalds and will sit next to her and wont move. let them do whatever they want to doRecommend

  • https://twitter.com/pugnate Noman Ansari

    @Shadytr33:

    The headline wasn’t mine, but that effectively was pretty much what we heard last night. Recommend

  • http://Kenya Global Noman

    @Ahmed: so why would anyone feel uncomfortable seeing people sitting close, is it something strange, they be married, unmarried, whatever, no ones business. This country is definitely going extremist. McDonalds is not to blame it is the suddenly creeping pseudo Islamisation that is creating the fuss.

    The inside story is completely different, in public dont even touch your wife but under covers worse things go unnoticed. We are an awful lot of HYPOCRATS!!!Recommend

  • Anon

    im luvin’ it. ROFL.Recommend

  • wes

    I bet they have no objection if Ronnie McD sits next to your wife. I would like to see them even TRY and object. :)Recommend

  • Atif Yousufzai

    They must have had incidents where such actions like putting hand on your gf/wife created bigger scenes in that place, nobody stops you doing anything while you are in private place. don’t blame Pakistan for daily happenings which occur everywhere in world.Recommend

  • yas

    @Areeba Iftikhar:
    Agree wd u . But such voices which are raised off n on by such brave people will not create any big impact. If we want a real change in our society and we all need to come out to combat extremism and theorcatic minded people! Recommend

  • Huria

    @Babar:
    Are you out of your mind? yes my husband places his arm on my shoulder in front of my inlaws .. whats wrong with that?Recommend

  • Alina

    Mcdonalds Pakistan is crazy to have such rules! is thats the case then they should put employees in a burqa and tell male employees to get beards. Mcdonalds Pakistan sucks! stupid ManagementRecommend

  • mas0od

    I would have slapped the waiter and manager or may be i would have throw that coke glass on their face!Recommend

  • Umi

    Funny thing is that Tribune and McDonalds are owned by same guys in Pakistan :pRecommend

  • https://ambiography.wordpress.com Simba

    y u want to put your arm around your wife’s shoulder in public? that was a good decision by McDonald. Teaching Self Control to couples (married or unmarried).Recommend

  • fatima

    considering the time, the staff may have been intolerant. however, you are being entirely too emotional about the whole situation dude :/Recommend

  • Maana

    @Zubair Ali: well…i guess you are referring to some other brands chicken ..well McDonald’s chicken rocks and taste good as well….do visit once again. Recommend

  • Maana

    @RK Singh: Islamic laws are not crazy and abstain….MIND ITRecommend

  • Maana

    @Omar Ansari: Well..you are right…u can also get a job at McDonald’s..if Ronald could why not u.. Recommend

  • zeeshan sheikh

    Finest example of Third world problems of Liberal Elite.

    The other examples:
    A man with ‘beard’ stole my sweetroll.
    I scared to death after watching a woman in veil.
    Some man with beard came into park and sat near me. how disgusting!!
    and many othersRecommend

  • HR 06

    Given the background of the writer, this story sounds totally made-up. Maybe somebody honest and unbiased person reading this comment should replicate the exact same situation at the same Mc D and give us true account of management’s reaction.

    Till then, let’s assume it is nothing but fake journalism.Recommend

  • http://www.saach.tv Dr Nauman

    @Huria: If you are comfortable to do ‘anything’ in Public (inlaws are not public) then its Ok, enjoy your life but do not forget that our religion provides HERD IMMUNITY against evils. Better think again.Recommend

  • Awans

    In my family still husband and wife dont embrace each other in front of others so it is more like a cultural thing and if families are visiting Macdonalds and this happens then obviously families like mine will feel odd and will not visit Macdonalds anymore and the couples should abstain and rather they should pack the burgers and go home and then enjoy the Food Stuff Arm im arm or hand in hand or whatever within their personal Confinements.

    Also it is my request to the liberal blinds that dont connect everything with religion. I am liberal but dragging religion into every thing is a pretty bad idea. Some things are cultural and even Christian families will behave in the same manner as Islamic familes as culture is something else than religion and there is One Pakistani Culture as well which transcends all religions. . Recommend

  • http://www.saach.tv Dr Nauman

    It sounds that the writer is pre-occupied with some ideology and now has got ‘chace’ to vantilate!!Recommend

  • Maana

    @ Noman Ansari…why the unthinkable by putting arm behind your wife’s shoulder in public…in-house bro! be vigilant next time or else where ever ull go; ull face the same consequences..MIND IT. Recommend

  • MHH

    Why so emotional? As far as I know McDonald’s got threats from Taliban so it seems quite clear that they have put these restrictions just to not give any “excuse” to them.Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    So weird. But, you shouldn’t have said Islam doesn’t allow this or that.. Saying that defeats the purpose of the argument. Thats because the argument you are making is solid enough to stand its own ground and doesn’t need the clutches of Islam.

    You are stooping down to the level of the Religious-minded or suck-ups-to-the-Religious-minded.

    http://tribune.com.pk/story/433560/extreme-is-the-new-moderate/

    Here, is an article which says exactly that.. I urge you to read it. It elaborates on my simply put point.

    And, to the guy who think touching someone’s shoulder is foreplay(@Mangoman): Dude.. (Snort derisively in disgust and pity).Recommend

  • Jamshed Haroon

    These crazy moral police people all need to be sent to jail and should be given public lashings.Recommend

  • Ashi

    This policy is a result of increasing vulguarity in our young generation. Young unmarried couples don’t even care about their surroundings while showing Public display of affections. I myself have been in Mcdonalds with some of my office colleagues in lunch time. A date was sitting behind us and both guy and girl were doing some cheap actions that it made all of us uncomfy. I think this policy is right. Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Pakistan is a very special country with very special people whose sensibilities can be easily offended by the most innocuous of actions. Do they segregate their staff gender wise across different counters too ?Recommend

  • http://www.saach.tv Dr Nauman

    @Areeba Iftikhar: Oh what a golden chance to blame on Muslim Culture!!!!!!!!!! Dont let it go. ( So sad )Recommend

  • Maana

    @ Rahul..even then..it’s a Muslim state..Hellooo???Recommend

  • http://lonepkliberal.wordpress.com Loneliberal PK

    I went to McDonald last year during ramadan with my younger cousins. I bought them their meals, and sat down with them while they ate.

    An employee asked us to leave. It was pretty awkward, considering especially that it was only my 12-14 year old cousins who were eating. I wasn’t going to eat anything myself.

    McDonalds really needs to stop succumbing to pressure from extremist elements, because there’s nothing you can really do to appease them. You can force all your employees to grow beards or wear burqas, and the extremists would still find a reason to hate McDonalds. So why bother?Recommend

  • Thinks for herself

    @HR 06: As the writer’s wife i can assure you the story is not made up. I was there and i felt terribly insulted. We did nothing that was against any written rules or even Islamic law.

    Perhaps McDonalds should put a sign up at the entrance specifically stating the Dos and Donts of their establishment instead of rudely springing it on unsuspecting couples. The way the management handled the whole thing was terribly impolite and uncivilized. This is not the way to treat customers and its just rude, rude rude! Recommend

  • Bingo

    it is not the story of McDonalds alone.. this is exactly what my husband, a canadian, thought of when he held my hand on lake saif-ul-malook..and the guys there started laughing and said
    ” o bhai! please hum pe reham karo”
    a real nonsense.. a good piece of writing i must say :)Recommend

  • Thanaya

    Aoa dear brother!

    Firstly, I respect the fact that you’ve written about this matter in a newspaper run by the same people who are running McDonalds, Pakistan. Shows the level of tolerance and freedom of speech allowed not only in our country but also in our people… Secondly, since we are quoting our experiences here, let me inform you of the experiences I’ve had at this particular restaurant… Around 6 years ago, while I casually sipped away on my soft drink and my hubby paid for an extra meal or something, I observed a young man eying one of the girls working behind the counter very indecently… She was so busy she couldn’t lift her head from the counter… After watching the boy (must’ve been 22 at least) I complained to the managers. They sadly didn’t throw him out, but politely spoke to him about changing his place… Brother I don’t mean to say there’s anything similar in your situation. I’m just comparing the wo because in my situation I didn’t like the look this man had in his eyes while he looked at the innocent girl working hard to make a decent living! Brother , we are living in a society where we have to respect and honor each other… It could have been that somebody complained about the way you sat with your wife and the policy that the managers are talking about is honoring each customer… Conservative families in Pakistan do not appreciate married couples also to mingle openly! I believe you should dig into this further and find out what the real story is behind this episode!Recommend

  • AhmedMaqsood

    Putting your arm behind someone’s shoulder is PDA? Seriously?

    I don’t see why anyone should have an issue, unless there is kissing, fondling or nudity involved. Don’t tell me hand holding is considered “vulgar” too.Recommend

  • Raja

    @Global noman
    “so why would anyone feel uncomfortable seeing people sitting close, is it something strange, they be married, unmarried, whatever, no ones business” Dude it is not about sitting close, it is about sitting close with an arm around your partner at late night in a restaurant… and i am sure the writer might have censored some details here :P
    on a serious note, remember Pakistan is a home to people with different life styles, different people follow religion to different extents, within our culture there is diversity.. in some families girls wear jeans and their parents don’t mind it.. in some families girls wear hijab with their own free will.. but we have to live together and find a common ground right? so that is why we have to respect the feelings of others, respect the laws, and adapt a moderate approach which is acceptable to all.. and as one person put it.. had the author sat quietly besides his wife.. no one would have objected Recommend

  • m.

    @Noman Ansari
    Agree with your thoughts……..though I doubt that a wish for a “Moderate Pakistan” movement will materialize. I dont think there are enough moderates left in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Jahanzaib Khan

    Well it sounds to me bit extreme. The way this story is narrated, so sorry but it seems bit fake to me. Please you guys just go through again and may be you can sniff some personal agenda. Why toy story? Why Christian girl? Why women pray story? I have feelings that this is something else. I am not putting my thinking on you, just request you to please read once again and hope you find that it is a negative mind set behind this story. People may be wrong not the religion.Recommend

  • Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

    This is almost the same case as Maya Khan’s. Who the hell gave these people the right to judge others? Couple or no couple, no one has any right to make assumptions about other people like how moral or ethical they are etc etc. We as a nation are are spiraling downwards in terms of our way of thinking and free will. I mean…you’re not even allowed to sit next to your WIFE. Like, SERIOUSLY?! If we can’t even open up our minds and start to be tolerant to other people’s beliefs regardless of their age, gender and race…then where does that leave us? We need to evolve.Recommend

  • Saad

    Wow, Pakistanis really need to get a life, for real. Reading some of the comments here, makes one think the entire country has been living under a rock.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    @Thinks for herself
    You missed my point and the analogy I was trying to make, I am not putting the two things in the same bracket.. I am just saying that just like sitting close to your partner with an arm around her shoulder is OK for you and not OK for some, in the same way kissing in public might be OK for some and not OK for you..
    Hope you got the point this time :) Cheers Recommend

  • ab

    well i would definitely not agree in putting the hand on his wife shoulder in public but would agree to most of the things in the blog. i would say out loud here that our society is full of hypocrates. .Recommend

  • http://www.kabacreations.com Vishnu Dutta

    i wonder if they would let a woman sit next to friendly ronald and take a picture.

    Reading all the comments here it feels like SM Krishna has been having a lot of foreplay with Hina Rabbani in front of camera every time they shake hands.

    grow up people, it is not a big deal. let the couple have their food in peace.Recommend

  • Haider

    This country is becoming worse day by day! :@Recommend

  • Sana

    The new jihadi standards of Mc D??Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed

    I think sitting next to each other is not the issue here, it is the public display of affection (PDA), which you need to understand is indeed against the social norms of our society (whether or not you and I and thousands others like it).

    Several people, including myself, have complained and do complain about PDAs at McDonald’s and other restaurants and it doesn’t matter if the parties are husband and wife or otherwise. So if McDonald’s management has adopted a policy about it I see no harm. My advice to naysayers: Get a room.

    One last thing: let’s not drag Islam into it; this is more a social issue. McDonald’s management should also educate its employees not to mention Islamic values as a reason.Recommend

  • Sajjad

    Based on most of the comments here, it seems that it was actually the writer who did the wrong thing by sitting next to his wife and putting his arm around here shoulder and the McD staff did the right thing by admonishing them. Thank God, I will be leaving Pakistan soon!Recommend

  • Talal

    Well, who knows the writer was ‘simply’ putting his arms around her wife’s shoulders? Or, more relevantly, and more importantly, what was the style in which the arms were put around? These unknown minor details may have effected the perception of the McDonald’s employees towards the couple! Recommend

  • droppep

    the comments here are enough to depict the current dilemma faced by Pakistan. We are clearly a society headed towards extremism and eventually disaster. No doubt the educated class has also started to condone and even support such behavior. We have lost tolerance in almost all aspects of life in the name of a religion that preaches nothing but tolerance. I would like to believe in hope … but i see none. Recommend

  • http://none Zahid Hussain

    Dear Sir,

    Pls re-write and clear what you say: Grown up in Saudi Arabia; you saw men sitting with their wives in Restaurants.. I am in S.Arabia for 32 years, and can safely say you are not right.

    You can do that in Pakistan, but cuddling in public places is obnoxious in both these countries. Recommend

  • majid khan

    don,t you have the time at home to sit next to your wife.were u trying to advertise the extra ordinary couple of the year at macdnld???? rediculusRecommend

  • Hammad

    Ok to my dear brothers who think that what Mcdonalds did was right and this kind of public display of affection should be banned i completely agree with you how can we even tolerate this . infact i have an idea lets go to airport and put in jail every person who hugs or kisses (cheeks and forehead) why should we care if they are mother son , father daughter , brother sister , cousion or husband wife all we should care about is airport is public place and they have no right to show affection . If you havent guessed all above was sarcasm , come on guys when did common sense left Pakistan , i mean he wasnt doing anything wrong shoulder around whats the big deal its just your arm plus sitting parallel isnt allowed seriously what are we in class 2. And i repeat they are husband and wife legally married arm or sitting parallel is nothin to be offended about , they are not gf/bf and people who defend mcdonalds saying how were they to know they werent bf/gf how about 1. None of their business 2. its jus an arm no foreplay no sexual move no nothin how on earth anyone could be offended .. i am a guy i am comfortable to put my around my friend male but i would not kiss him and if dey had kissed yes it would have been public display of affection and if dat had happend i would be saying mcdonalds did right but there i no justification for this start differentiating between right and wrong dont make unnecessary boundaries… come on ppl dont dig this hole so deep that you regret later that what have becomeRecommend

  • J.K

    If you wanted to keep your arm around your wife, why couldn’t you do it in your home? She was going to be there with you in home, wasnt she?Recommend

  • Critical

    I think the staff and management of McDonalds Pakistan made a wise decision…..

    Its better to piss off few moderates than extremist…..
    If Moderates are pissed,they will just stop visiting you….

    If Extremists are pissed,they will form a mob and burn the McDonalds for spreading anti-islamic practices in Pakistan…

    Its better to lose a few customers than to file an insurance for arson…..Recommend

  • Zeeshan

    Why are your showing PDA in the first place? Just kidding.

    You are a Pakistani, no? Have you seen your parents kissing in front of you? Don’t you think you should be blogging about that too and talk about the “intolerant” and “salafi” culture which prevented your parents from kissing each other in front of you?

    People in Pakistan are not intolerant toward you. They have moral codes which they have believed in for centuries. (Yes, that include being allowed to slap your kids in front of others.) That’s why it was a woman and not a bearded terrorist who approached you. It’s you who are intolerant toward Pakistani culture by walking into Pakistan and demanding your moral code to reign supreme.

    Perhaps you want to ask what happened to you? Why don’t you understand this simple moral code of the society which you are living in? Why don’t you show respect to the moral codes of your fellow Pakistanis?Recommend

  • Nazish

    This is clearly not Islam. When you reading stories of Love between Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) and Bibi Ayesha and not letting a husband sit next to his wife is Hippocratic. It is not religion, Its culture that is full of BIDAAT

    It is a clear picture how sick minded we are. Recommend

  • Waheeda Islam

    Dear author,

    You can talk to your wife from across the table better than sitting next to her. Besides cuddly time is at home not in McDonald’s, no? Naughty boy.

    You may bristle at these small inconveniences. But please be assured that it is for the good of you and the country. Our country is trying to be a model islamic country and a beacon to the world. Public display of proximity is considered promiscuous in Islam. Inshallah, we will be able to instate sharia so we can follow the true teachings of the prophet (pbuh).

    WaheedaRecommend

  • Sunny Khan

    What an exaggeration ET ! and mr writer plz get some room to “cuddle” with ur wife as u can only sit next to ur wife in the public place otherwise forget about religion it naturally looks indecent :)Recommend

  • Nazish

    Being a female and a wife I can imagine how you felt. They should be BANNED for such non sense.@Thinks for herself: Recommend

  • Sajid

    A number of times I have overheard young men having indecent conversations in McDonalds. But it is OK I guess because they were not with girls.Recommend

  • HunDass

    Mr Noman Ansari the writer, i wonder if anyone would say anything to u, u would start blaming the Islamic republic rather than tat particular individual or if u r really a sane person then dont u think u shud be whining abt the islamic repulic of Macdonalds instead. next time if u have some stomach problem plz also let us know through ur blog and try to related that with suicide bombing it would add an extra masala to itRecommend

  • Akshaf

    this is complete bull****!!!
    In McDonalds ISB girls and boys sit together without any obstruction or hesitation but that is something bad we should all realize, husband wife is a secure strong bond I dont think there should be any issue in sitting next to eachother
    2ndly the McDonalds policy ????
    dude WTH ???
    when did they start making such policies ? they should also think about all the charsi awaam sitting in McD ISB and also the trans genders who are there and are there for a purpose that I dont think is required to be mentioned here!!!Recommend

  • Pakistani

    Well again another article trying to point out extremism in Pakistan. Its article that is just there to point out symptoms of problems that are created by us Alas, we put all blame on country rather then correcting ourselves. Carry on with this and you will stay where you are for all your life. Recommend

  • imaan.sheikh

    HAHAHAHA THAT PICTURE HAS ME IN FITS! Good work, Erum Shaikh! :D

    Recommend

  • Thinks for Herself

    @Talal:
    wow! what are you implying?! What a sick mind you have!Recommend

  • Thinks for Herself

    @Nazish:
    Thanks! Its so insulting and rude! Honestly, if it really is such an issue. Put a sign up! Don’t treat people like indecent lepers for something that is perfectly within boundsRecommend

  • billy pilgrim

    I like how the writer emphasized and imagined in his myopic persecution complex liberal mindset that the warning or request to leave was caused by him sitting next to his wife, and threw in the arm around her shoulder as an afterthought. you should be a regular spin doctor on prime time paki news channels instead of writing whinny third rate drivel on tribune.Recommend

  • Bilal

    I go to mcdonalds in lahore and i dont see any such thing imposed by the management. The author made up this fake story to get reads and views of this crappy article. This is an easy way to get noticed – come up with fake stories to malign Islam and country.

    People! dont fall in this trap again. These liars make up lies to get popular. Recommend

  • BRUISED INDIAN

    @Zubair Ali: Not a word about McNuggets PLEASE! :/ They’re always yummy in my tummy… Recommend

  • aliahmad

    a senseless article written with what seems to be an attempt at self-promotion. while i am against people who hound a boy & a girl sitting together in a public place, i am equally, perhaps even more, ticked-off by people who want to be known as the pall bearers of modernity. they will write all sorts of things, including the “non-truth”Recommend

  • Sabih Shad

    This came up as a surprise to me!Recommend

  • Waqas Shah

    Must say to McDonalds management: Foolish bastards!Recommend

  • Rashid Saad Siddiqui

    so, Pakistan can be the first country where jahalat-e-a’aam pushed all married couples in the society to carry photocopies of their nikah nama with them along with their NICs and driving licenses.
    ugh.. freedom..? what’s freedom? sounds jiberish to me!Recommend

  • Sad&depressed

    Wow, another day another story of how this country is digging itself deep into a hole that it will be very hard to get put of.
    I don’t think that McDs has any rule to prevent a couple sitting next to each other. Yes, you shouldn’t be necking in a family restaurant but sitting next to each other, even with an arm round the shoulder should not scare or hurt anyone’s sensibilities.
    I strong.y urge the writer to write to mcdonalds international and do a follow up article on their response or lack thereof.
    Nip this rising tide of extremist thinking before it is too late.Recommend

  • Saleha

    @Waheeda Islam:
    I am glad I have left Pakistan and would be away when you are done with making the Pakistan that would be beacon of extremist Islam. For heaven sake! husband and wife have moments of intimacy, and they should express it by holding hands or putting hands around shoulder. You cant run into bedroom everytime you feel affectionate, can you? It is because of these stupid restrictions in our society that husbands and wives are growing apart from each other and men look for companionship other than their wives. Recommend

  • paul

    @Ahmed:
    nothing would be wrong with that
    It is amazing that violence and bigitory and intolarance is fine but affection is a sin. Sad!!!!!!Recommend

  • gp65

    “akistan is a home to people with different life styles, different people follow religion to different extents, within our culture there is diversity.. in some families girls wear jeans and their parents don’t mind it.. in some families girls wear hijab with their own free will.. but we have to live together and find a common ground right? so that is why we have to respect the feelings of others, respect the laws, and adapt a moderate approach which is acceptable to all”

    No there is no need for a common ground. The person with jeans should be free to wear jeans and person with hijaab.niqab should be free to do so. The idea thare needs to be a common ground acceptable to ALL is a simple invitation for people with a more conservative bent to intimidate and oppress people with different lifestyle.
    @noman,
    Sorry about your experience. I can understand the frustration. Not sure if it is the restaurant at fault or the cultural expectation and associated vigilante justice that is increasing day by day. Wish you luck in trying to take your country back. Looking at 3 separate headlines in the newspaper today, you have your work cut out for you
    – Lal MAsjid cleric acquitted in case of killing Ranger
    – Malli Ishaq granted bail
    – Khatm-E-Naboowat group passes a resolution asking to prevent Ahmadis from worshiping and calling for their social activities to be monitored. Elected MNAs were present and endorsed the decision.Recommend

  • Haider

    Enough of religious/moral policing. Why can’t people mind their own damn business and stop imposing their screwed up notions of Islam and morality on others? Shame on McDonald’s management. Perverts.Recommend

  • gp65

    IT is amazing that so many people think that a man putting his arm around a wife is PDA. More importantly it is something that they have a right to complain about and have their complaints taken seriously.Recommend

  • Asad

    @rahul sinha:

    I wouldn’t consider this as “the basic nature of society”. McDonald’s portray themselves to be a socially responsible corporation, promoting transparency particularly throughout the corporate world. You make them out to be the victims here when they could very well NOT have passed this ‘policy’.

    I doubt this was done in response to government regulation, but was an internal decision. It isn’t asking too much for them to take a stance against one of the most ridiculous postulations in the history of Islam: “It’s un-Islamic to sit besides a girl in public”. Give me a break. Recommend

  • Foji Jawan

    what a load of bullcrap. Now fake journalists are being paid to cause all this hype about Islam. Mind you I would never want Pakistan to walk the western track in promoting free-sex and nudity in public places. Extract the good stuff from the west like their moral values and hard work.Recommend

  • Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

    Hahaha. How is putting an arm around someone considered foreplay or public display of affection? For those who think it is…please come out of the rock you are living under. It’s the 21st century. Firstly…It’s no one’s business if a son is putting his arms around his mother or his sister. Or WIFE for that matter. Secondly…the author and his wife are legally married. If anyone has an objection to that…or can’t bear looking at the couple (who mind you, are not doing ANYTHING wrong), then I suggest they move to a different seat or better yet, leave the restaurant. Live and let others live their lives in peace you radical morons!Recommend

  • Nazish Islam

    @Ahmed: I strongly agree to your views. I scrolled down my cursor and mostly comments are appreciating the unnecessary raised issue of writer. I still don’t think that policy of McDonald’s Pakistan is offensive because They have to follow the society rules in which we are growing. Sitting next to your wife is not shameful or awful at all but there are many renown restaurants where guys and girls (even married) not mention on their faces, sit closely to each other and continuously lost in each other. this situation seems very uncomfortable and odd when you are with your daughter or mother or sister. I think this experience is not happened to writer yet. In my opinion, there is nothing any disgrace to sit parallel and opposite to your female ones. By doing this at least you can’t feel shame when other than your wife and girlfriend with you at that time.Recommend

  • Rabia

    You’ve got to be really sad to be feeling frisky while consuming a big mac and sitting next to Ronald McDonald!Recommend