Shame on me for championing Veena Malik

Published: August 15, 2012

No, I’m not writing to bash Veena Malik for showing too much cleavage, saying sex before marriage is cool or any of the 20,000 things Pakistanis habitually bash her for. I have actually been a part of ‘Team Veena’ – a big fan of this bold, outspoken woman who seemed (unlike the rest of this nation) to keep it real, even in the face of fame and celebdom.

No more so I am afraid.

If you haven’t watched the clip above, let me narrate what happens in it.


Veena Malik receives a call-in on her show ‘Astaghfaar’ on Hero TV (a call that is about as authentic as the show is classy). The caller is a young woman calling from Karachi who says she is living alone. What a terrible thing, says Veena, who asks for the woman’s age and marital status.

“I’m 24” says the audibly distraught woman.

“And you haven’t married yet?” asks Veena.

The caller goes on to describe a broken home, while Veena nods knowingly until it is revealed that black magic is the cause of the woman’s current distress.

*Cue fake gasp and cross-over to token maulvi*

What we have next is just outrageous. We viewers are moved from fairly run-of-the-mill religious filler by the maulvi to the caller freaking out, screaming and “being possessed by a demon” as the maulvi informs us.

(Controlled) pandemonium breaks loose, with Veena standing up, freaking out and calling on her team to “check” if the caller is okay (rather than say, dropping the call immediately – or say, editing out the entire call so it never airs).

Next we get a mini-episode of The Exorcist, with brave maulvi sahib engaging with the ‘demon’ with such enlightened remarks as:

“Who are you? Are you Muslim or Hindu?”

(To which the demon replies “I’m not Muslim”)

“Leave now, or we will burn you” (burn who? The possessed woman?)

“How dare you as a non-Muslim Hindu try to enter our Muslim sister? Aren’t you ashamed”

“I’ll just call for a stick and break your bones (Whose bones? The woman’s?)

The call drops. Veena sighs – a mixture of relief and fear.

“We’ll be back after the commercial, friends” she says…

Veena, I get it.

You’re in show business, and this is your job. Read the script, play out the role and give it your best. It’s really my fault for assuming you actually stood for things above and beyond your role as an actor.

Forgive me, some of your previous interviews and actions had me fooled.

I assumed you actually found religious dogma that tries to keep women in bondage, nay, beat them under the guise of superstitious nonsense something that is foul and condemnable.

I assumed you were in India as part of a larger gesture to show that you had no beef with a nation’s creed – that ‘Hindu’ was not a foul, demonic, evil thing.

I assumed you were, at some level, keeping an eye on what you would or would not be willing to do in the name of fame and fortune i.e. drop a show, drop a script, or even the much smaller, drop a segment you disagreed with at some fundamental level.

I assumed you would never be sitting across from a jaahil maulvi play-acting to the lowest common denominator in our already befuddled and fearful society. I expect such a display from Baba Welfare (exorcist extraordinaire) or Alim Junaib Bengali, but I guess I can expect the same from you too.

I’d say shame on you, but really, shame on me.

My only request would be: in the future, when a woman is crippled, maimed, raped or murdered in an exorcism ritual (and that happens often) think about the impact of the show you ran. The next time you hear of a violent act against a Hindu family in Pakistan, or that entire families are migrating to India seeking refuge from a nation filled with hate – think about this segment you were a part of, and the message it sent out.

Read more by Jahanzaib here or follow him on Twitter @jhaque_

Jahanzaib Haque

Jahanzaib Haque

News buff and Web Editor, The Express Tribune. Jahanzaib tweets @Jhaque_

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

  • Faisal

    What a recipe!! Veena Malik and Maulana “Zia ul Haq” LOLsRecommend

  • Faraz

    i guess we all have watched the clip from where its taken… for those who havent… here is the link

  • Nandita.

    Fair Points brilliantly made,Jahanzaib Haque!
    Please write more often.Recommend

  • @@

    I don’t exactly remember but there was a similar event some 2-3yrs back on some live show. Maybe Nadia Khan Show or QTV. EXACTLY word to word same !! Anyways, wat can we say. It’s a free country with everyone doing everything, everyone showing everything and everyone seeing everything. No limits, boundaries or decency forget media, religion, cultural codes. Recommend

  • Tina D

    funny you blame poor veena (the anchor) and not the producer or the lakhanis who happen to own the channelRecommend

  • Nandita.

    Fair points brilliantly made but you still need to support people like veena malik.Like you said,she does keep it real.She may have slipped in this case but in many ways she represents what the youth is the world over.Its important to have people like her in the pakistani society so that people come to terms with the fact that it takes all kinds to make the world.People need to learn to live and let live,they need to learn to accept the fact that a society should not and cannot be homogeneous.She is kinda like a reality check,isnt she?She lives life as she deems
    fit and that is a slap in the face for every self righteous pompous a** who has opinions about what women should or should not be.So long live Ms Malik!
    I understand and agree with every single concern you’ve shared and where u’re coming from but well,for the reasons i’ve stated above,i do hope sensible people like you continue to stand behind her.
    Look forward to more from you, Jahanzaib Haque!Recommend

  • for the love of god

    wah! the best blog i have read in a long long time. the ending was right on the money. Jay keep them toons coming. we need space Recommend

  • ali

    i enjoyed every bit of the clip…too funny hahahahRecommend

  • Hala

    i agree with this so much
    im so thoroughly disappointed by her
    and i used to defend her vehemently
    now i feel like a foolRecommend

  • Hala

    @Tina D:
    the producer and channel owners are to blame to
    but veena can’t be absolved she had a choice to do this show
    and she chose to do it this way instead of something honest and real
    i don’t condemn her
    but i won’t watch this show
    and she has made it difficult for me to take her seriously in the futureRecommend

  • patriot

    She is an actress who does things for money and cheap fame like many other actresses around the globe. She always have, she always will. She is no authority over religion nor is she some kinda representative of pakistani women, she never was. If anything, she can represent the clan of the likes of Paris Hilton or Raakhi. The wanta-bees so-called pakistani liberals have been blowing her actions out of proportion making an icon out of a woman who is not worth a thing. Opposing the zia ideology rampant in the society is one thing, making heroes out of cheapsters is another. Next time, choose your iconic figures carefully.Recommend

  • asadshaikh

    hats off to maulana sahab …i think he acted way much better then veena herself!Recommend

  • Lubna

    Funny it took the writer so long to grasp the reality. For me a woman of real substance would never resort to going nude, publicly her idea about premarital sex n all the other trash veena has been upto. I guess you need to reset your standards for judging people, you won’t be making this kinda mistake again! Morality, values, traditions n foremost religion: running away from these is not gonna get us anywhere, just gonna make more pseudos like veena!Recommend

  • http://a umarz

    sorry dude this article is not even worth reading like veenaRecommend

  • Huma Hameed

    The article is written very well and the points highlighted are very valid.The clip which I just saw just goes to show how “cheap and misleading our channels are” and we call other country’s channels “fahashi”(Pemras words). I think these kind of programs/channels should be given a censorship certificate before they are aired as we are feeding more crap to our already illiterate nation.Recommend

  • Farwa

    When I heard her interview on BBC Urdu where she went on about how the show was different I agreed with her when she said that the reaction to the show’s promos was outrageous and unreasonable. Even though I don’t agree with her ‘principles’ and ‘moral values’ I still admired her for standing up for what she thought was right despite the opposition. After watching this show…I think the outrage was justified this show should never had been aired. It is far from a religious and instructive show. Such drama. Good job Jahanzaib.Recommend

  • Another Engineer

    By the way.. black magic exists..just read quran.. you ignorant ** !Recommend

  • Kiran Bashir Ahmad

    Your final points are spot on . It is unfortunate indeed that instead of focussing on an issue prevalent in our society , a mockery was made by the immature, dramatic and ridiculous way in which it was handled.

    There is already a debate going on in some circles about the ‘naughtiness’ of muslim versus hindu jinni and this will
    only add to the fuel.

    It is ironic to say the least that this episode has triggered a debate about hindu vs muslims, jinni versus exorcism … and not a word about the plight of girls who are living alone in this society, the trials they face, the idea of jinni and black magic being the root cause of all troubles is as old as the hills but the way it has been handled or rather mishandled here, will create complications for all the sheep ready to follow all that is shown on the telly. Perhaps it is just as well that it IS Veena who is hosting this farce. Any other may have rendered it dangerously palatable to say the least. Recommend

  • san

    She is more or less Katie Price (British model and tabloid favorite)..They both came in same category..A flop celebrity with loads of media attention. Media will give them so much attention regardless people hate them so much. Recommend

  • Asok

    @@, free country? FREE COUNTRY?


    It will be a free country is a Hindu has the freedom to go on TV and demonize Islam the same way Veena decided to demonize Hindus in this show?

    Do the Hindus of Pakistan have that freedom?Recommend

  • Syme

    Why are you fuming brother? she is showing what others are televising since ages.I am OK with her program at least she doesn’t have a beard and a pot belly.Recommend

  • Waiting

    Oh please. The woman’s an actor being paid to do a role. She wasn’t an icon of liberal belief when she told off the mufti and she’s not a demon now.Recommend

  • Talat Haque

    Great – great reading! Recommend

  • abcd

    I don’t know why people even liked Veena malik in the first place? Whatever she did was for publicity. She used the FHM scandal for publicity, she did that drama of her disappearence for publicity. She wanted to make her place in bollywood and she wouldn’t have done it as easily since there’s a lot of competition there and nobody cares about pakistani actors in there. So she decided to use shortcuts to boost her career.
    And about confronting that molana (for which she was highly appreciated), any other actress would have done the same thing if she was at her place. Big deal?
    Call me a conspiracy theorist but that’s what it looks like. Also take a look at big boss, she seems so desperate to show her skin there too, so what does that tell you?Recommend

  • Raw is War

    veena rocks.Recommend

  • FDR

    Welcome back to reality JayRecommend

  • MAD

    Shouldnt the channel and its owners share the blame.Recommend

  • Samar

    Seriously, were you looking for political correctness on Veena’s show? This show is a timely satirical reminder for ‘Team Veena’ and ‘Team Laakh-Laanat’ to wake up to reality and stop taking strippers and televangelists too seriously. The self-proclamied enlightened left was so naive, so much so that they took veena’s publicity stunts as endorsements of their leftist values; here their “goddess”(as she’s dubbed) repents on tv for some greenbacks.
    BTW, was that a jinn or a dinosaur?Recommend

  • Eesha Muneeb

    I would kinda expect that if Veena Malik is to do a Ramzan show, this would be within the range of ‘material’ offered.

    The only thing really appalling to me is that the Maulvi asked the supposed Jinn “Muslim OR HINDU?” which is like, what? So Non-muslim only translates to Hindu?

    In the US, or here in Singapore for example, the show would get called to court so quickly for that, that the maulvi wouldn’t even have time to say Astaghfirullah

    The pretend Jinn, in answering ‘”I’m not Muslim” actually had more sense it seems. Recommend

  • FDR

    And that you thought for a second that Veena was capable of educated independent wisdom regarding something as infinitely complicated as religious dogma and the cultural biases that it forms around in different societies, is really a let down of yourself by yourself.Recommend

  • Rabbahs

    As you can see the talk about the Exorsim is more often aired on TV nowaday,

    Its all because of sahir lodhi show “10 tak kay baad”Recommend

  • mr. righty rightist

    What did you expect from a country of 180 million jahils.

    I cannot believe that TV shows can be so lowly. Disgusting.Recommend

  • Former Veena Malik Fan

    I swear I don’t even want to live on this planet anymore! Seriously? why on Earth would someone even let this hideous s**t be aired live on tv! Do you think that all these 180 million people are drunk or mentally incapable? Well, after this I’m ashamed of calling myself a Pakistan teenager.At first, I opposed all the oppression against this show and I thought, why not give her a chance? I regret my opinion.
    Dear author, you just spoke my heart! You Rock!Recommend

  • Shahid

    I don’t understand. The show is produced by Hero TV which is part of the Express Media Group. Isn’t it hypocrisy to for an employee of the same media group to bash the show?Recommend


    Just goes on to show that even the crew of a channel can be not far behind in castigating a faith (Hinduism). Padhi Likhi Jahaalat and disgusting to the core! And despite all that, Veena Malik is still welcomed in India ~ thats the beauty of my country. Recommend

  • Ex-Muslim

    @Another Engineer:
    Everything the Quran says is fact! Final and no arguments…..LOL!Recommend

  • t


  • kaalchakra

    I am shocked at this display of disbelief by the readers of site. Did the voice of the jinn not seem to come from out of this world? And who among you is ok with a Hindu jinn occupying the body of a Muslim sister? Or have you lost faith so completely that you have abandoned ginns (and perhaps the rest of the Holy Quan) altogether?!!

    May Allah show all of you the right path.Recommend

  • Anam

    LOLs. Thumbs up for Veena. She showed her acting skills in a HORRIBLE GOOD way. the fact is …for this clip she would be having millions views.Recommend


    Shame on you for doing it again.Recommend

  • Sidewinder

    Lol…..was it a comedy show?if yes then the Moulavi shahab took all the credit.Veena couldnt prove her mettle,even the bhoot(voice)played her part better than her.come on Veena you can do better.if it was a serious attempt meant to be taken seriously,than Pakistan ka to allah hi hafiz..Recommend

  • Anam

    What surprised me most is that an educated man like yourself Mr Jay , you actually were on the bandwagon of Veena. All her previous stupidity did not boither you ( yea very liberal, woman of substance; yea right ) and now this hidious clip suddenly made your whole belief change. Funny how liberal minds tend to work. Nudity and trash is always called being ‘ Liberal ‘. You should support woman who have jobs, who handle life in a decent manner, and Raise their kids with utmost good values and make them know how to respect people .
    Unfortunately those kind of woman never make it to the front pages or sit correctly with liberal minds but stupid bimbos like veena gather fans rather quickly. And yes its not veena’s fault its the man who made this dum show. Using religion in a negative way and spreading hate should never be accepted. And please veena is known for drama, tomorrow when she sheds her croc tears, I bet people will take her back in their fan club. We live in a very frustrated society. Recommend

  • Anam

    @patriot: Very well said. Recommend

  • Waiting

    Education and intelligence are two separate thingsRecommend

  • Saad Durrani

    Well well well, isn’t this a case of ‘people who live in glass houses’ or ‘the pot called the kettle’? Mr. Haque, Hero TV is a sister concern of this sensational Express Group. Recommend

  • sanya

    I loved her, I wrote a furious blog defending her and it’s something that I’ve always done. I’ve always admired her for standing up to the maulvis – and I think it was wrong of me to assume that she was any better than them. I’m sorry I supported her in the first place.Recommend

  • Shadytr33

    Well she is a real person alright. She shows that real people like her can be bought easily and made to do just anything. She got paid 11 million Rupees to do this. I bet if we pay her some little bit more, we can make her the holiest person on earth or the most evil person too. We just have to know whats her price. She has taught us – Even humans sell too.Recommend

  • GKT

    It is sad to see that there is soo much ignorance
    in our society today even among the educated!! thank you Jay for shedding
    light on this issue—-who are we to insult hindus when
    we as muslims are killing muslims in this country!Recommend

  • Anum


    Who in their right mind would call on VEENA MALIK’s show with such a serious problem? Oh right, the woman wasn’t in her right mind. She was “possessed”.Recommend

  • ann

    where is black magic mentioned in the Quran? i want to research please help?Recommend

  • Ali Kazmi

    Veena Malik isn’t someone who should be lauded as a liberal hero. She’s so not on a par with great people like Asma Jahangir and Salmaan Taseer. She has done commendable things in the past, but also some things not befitting a hero, like appearing nude on the cover of a magazine. No doubt everyone has the right to appear nude on the cover of a magazine, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. Liberals too often confuse rights with virtue.Recommend

  • Mujtaba

    Loved the way the camera focused on the anchor at 2:15 (The intention behind that was definitely not to create drama).Recommend

  • Hammad Atta!

    I just cant stop laughing reading those comments under the video on youtube!

    “Veena to veena, veena ka maulvi bhi veena” :DRecommend