Dear Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan, Reham Bhabi and Ayyan Ali – Hi!

Published: August 20, 2015
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I decided to write a few of my own, a series of what open letters would seem like in Pakistan.

Open letters are the new ‘in’ thing. Everyone, while not busy taking selfies or engaging in internet wars, is writing them. Unlike personal letters that are addressed to and only read by the person intended, these have a universal appeal. Hence, I decided to write a few of my own, a series of them in fact.

Here is the first one:

To Hamza Ali Abbasi from an Online Jihadi.

Hazrat Hamza Ali Abbasi Sahib,

My heart sank when I saw the trailer of your upcoming movie, Jawani Phir Nahin Ani. And it sank even further to the bottom of the very pool you were seen emerging from, staring lustfully at bikini-clad women, being just as skimpily clothed yourself. Now, before you get any wrong ideas, let me clear the air that I’m not (God forbid) one of those liberals who believe in the shameful idea of living and letting live. My indignation with you stems out of our commonality; I’m just as holier-than-thou, morally superior and self-righteous as you are, and I write this letter to you in good spirit.

All I’m saying is that whatever you do in your personal life is your own business (in stark contrast to Ayesha Omar and Maria Wasti), but just be a little cautious while filming something millions of young, unpolluted minds are going to see.

My other complaint with you lies in your desertion of the police force and joining this ‘dirty’ industry. I mean, you could have easily stayed in the law enforcement agencies and checked nikkah naamahs (marriage contracts) of those engaging in utterly deplorable acts like chatting and sitting together in public spaces, and polluting innocent minds. I bet you’d have loved to give such debauch people a good thrashing! You would have been another Maya Khan in the making, Sir!

But I must confess, you undid some of the damage by starring in Waar and playing a good Muslim and Pakistani. Speaking of Waar, here is another woe – why English? The language of the infidels! And why have a sister who not only dares to leave her home to work alongside men (touches ears) but even dons western clothes?

Also, it would have been a lot better if you were to fight some Indians or Americans in that film in place of killing your fellow Muslims. But then again, your Facebook statuses tell me there’s only so much you can do, and I guess it’s not easy working in an industry filled with sinners that you totally and appropriately hate. There are the gay designers you hate but still have to wear their clothes, the besharam item number girls you hate but still have to romance, the venomous friends you love but who get you to film exposing scenes you hate, the Indian content you hate but your claim-to-fame serial started with an Indian song. How do you manage all this pressure? And hence, my letter of faith to you.

I’m sure you’ll soon start your exalted campaign of cleansing this industry of all the filth. Also, if I may, why don’t you do a programme of your own next Ramazan? What better celebrity than you for this noble cause? With you in the lead, we ought to be hearing good news again!

Regards,

Your brother in faith (and hypocrisy)

To Mahira Khan from a Film Critic

My Dearest Mahira Khan,

I hope this letter finds you in as pink a health as your cheeks in the songs of Bin Roye. Unfolding my grievances, my wait for a pass to Bin Roye’s premiere never saw the sun’s supreme glory and I was brazenly denied entry to the venue. Had this been any other film critic, your film would get a bashing so intense that it would echo in all the Indian cinema halls where your film finally got the green light to be screened. Okay, pardon my sarcasm – I wrote a review for your film for one of the leading English dailies and gave it a whooping five stars, all because of you. I even wrote a review of your upcoming movie Raees and submitted it, only to receive some very cold looks (and words) from my editor, that fat ingrate! I was then told to submit it later since Raees’s release is still about a year away.

Talking about your films, why are you so insistent upon playing love interests of men you can so conveniently play the daughter of? I might not know a lot about film-making, the closest I got to the task was recording my daughter’s birthday on my phone (but the trick in our business is never to leak secrets; when I’m clueless about a film, I just put in a lot of complicated English words that the masses cannot comprehend and usually say something nasty about things like ‘cinematography’ and put in a line or two like ‘the script doesn’t have enough glue to keep it together’), but I know well enough to advise you against working with historical (literally speaking) men.

To be honest, I don’t even watch many films. My landing in this profession was an obscene follow up to my rejection as an investigative journalist. But hey, I’m not complaining. For you see, unlike investigative journalists, I never get any hate mail. Okay, to be honest, I don’t get any mail at all. But that’s alright.

Also, since you’re in touch with Shah Rukh Khan, could you please tell him not to take up roles that depict him as a lover in his 20’s? It’s funny. Also, tell him to never to take off his shirt. That’s funnier.

And next time you’re making a movie, make sure you’re putting in a full dhuaandaar (fiery) item number. That’s all we film critics care about. I gave Bol a sad one and a half star only, simply because of that amateur mujra in the film.

Remember, for when you’re in India, we will be watching you closely. To be honest, that’s about the only time we Pakistani critics do watch our celebrities closely – when they are in India! Also, excuse me as I take my leave and rush off to watch Bajrangi Bhaijaan because, then again, these are the only kinds of films we actually watch and understand!

Regards,

A critic waiting for an invite to Ho Mann Jahaan.

To Reham Khan from an Insafian

Respected Reham Bhabi,

It gives me immense pleasure to write to you since you aren’t only our leader’s impeccable choice, but also the most popular national bhabi of our country – second only to Sania bhabi. I could have written this letter directly to your husband, the great Khan, but he doesn’t really pay heed to others’ words, even (or especially) if they happen to be his voters.

First of all, please congratulate Khan Sahib on winning the 1992 World Cup, for that’s the juncture where we seem to be stuck at – and which serves as a fulcrum for all our political debates. Winning the cup might have been team effort but he, and we, prefer to make it sound like a one-man story. Also congratulate him on the success story of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital which stands as an emblem of all his leadership qualities. Now, haters may say running a hospital and a country are two different things but he, and we, beg to differ. Speaking of haters, it’s so shameful to see those low lives disrespecting a woman and making a pointless deal about your (lack of) degree. We, on the other hand, maintain a more austere code of conduct.

Yes, we might attack a leading politician’s daughter with elopement jokes but that’s solely in national interest. Talking about the nation, the last time I checked, Mr Khan was reiterating his beliefs about a dialogue with the Taliban. Now, haters may say that such statements, especially when the army is carrying out serious operations against them, may be demoralising and destructible but he, and we, think otherwise. But then, what else can you expect from people who can hire fake people to act as fake parents to fake shaheed children while our leader went to Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar? And who also look down upon our revolutionary dharna as being economically damaging? Ask DJ Butt about the economy bit! Our leader (and we) believe the dharna to be nothing less than a French Revolution in the making, only better.

Oh, and the most important thing! Your husband is very knowledgeable, with all those fancy quotes from dead people on Twitter. He, and we, believe him to be Pakistan’s Nelson Mandela, only better.

Also while you’re at it, can you please remind him that a place called Hazara also exists in Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa (K-P)? I’m not complaining, in the spirit of a true ‘Insafian’, but the presence of your husband’s government was only felt in the region when he threatened to throw the doctors out of the hospitals! What a furore it caused amongst those poor things, ha!

Oh, it has just started raining. And when it rains, the very decrepit roads of Abbottabad, the city I hail from, become deep ponds in a matter of minutes. But our leader, and we, believe what happens in K-P, stays in K-P (except for Peshawar’s beautification pictures which go up on Facebook)! What many don’t understand is that rain is a blessing in disguise. All of us just wait for Lahore’s underpasses to fill with water so we can crack Venice jokes!

Anyway, I’m off to post something offensive against some lifafa journalists, all in the name of national interest, of course!

Regards,

Your dewar from Naya Pakistan

To Ayyan Ali from a Senior Journalist

Dear Beauty (Jail) Queen,
Let me start with an honest confession: I don’t really know who you are. You were completely non-existent for me a couple of months ago – before you got caught at the airport and all hell let loose. Yes, even though you did a few mobile company commercials, occasionally throwing your husband around but those did nothing to change your non-existent status. Yes, yes, I’ve heard that you are some top model or something, but what sort of a top model takes selfies with Waqar Zaka? I mean, sure, I have to admit that your selfie gave Komal Rizvi a run for her money, but really?!

Anyway, you might be wondering about the purpose of this open letter. Well, I don’t have any other way to contact you and something’s been piquing me so much that I just had to get it out of my system. It was nauseating to see my community treat you so harshly while you were in jail. A lot of stupid, reckless attention was given to you irrationally – and no one asked you any real questions.

Along the way, there also came reports of a murder associated with your case, but when my community had your attire and Adiala jail’s other inmates’ happiness to talk about, it deserved to be ignored. The social media’s dealing was just as absurd – each hearing of yours invited a number of status updates, drooping even to the level of posting heinous ultrasound pictures. I, as a senior journalist of this country, was overwhelmingly appalled by all this. I’m all for the freedom of the media but nothing is above the upholding of morals and professionalism. And I’m a sucker for accurate reporting – I just have to be direct and clear – no matter how much my questions offend my victim/guest.

Therefore, I write this letter to you to apologise for what my media community did to you. I will write another open letter to a leading film star of this country and his channel for airing your old interview this Eid – these people will do anything for ratings. Also, despite the excessive coverage, not one reporter asked you anything of importance. Not one! But I have one question – please answer honestly:

Are you actually related to Iman Ali?

Surely, the common surname and the rhyming first names cannot just be an uncanny coincidence? Also, may I have her mobile number? Thank you!

Regards,

A senior journalist and analyst, ex-CEO of an obsolete group.

Asif Nawaz

Asif Nawaz

Asif Nawaz is a doctor from Abbottabad who's either traveling or writing while not procrastinating. He tweets as @asifnz (twitter.com/asifnz)

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

  • Parvez

    There are times when it absolutely not necessary that ET puts a blurb at the bottom saying ‘ this is satire ‘ …… and when its necessary ET remains silent.Recommend

  • Schze.

    Morality does not start or end with material aspects, and neither is it emphasized through the tangible. It is always about the intangible.
    I say that only for Hamza Ali Abbasi, Mahira Khan and the respectable Reham Khan.

    Ayan Ali is by all means corrupt. Recommend

  • Zohaib Mushtaq

    great read…maza aagayaaaRecommend

  • shabi

    new scholar in making, saying too much but lives abroad. Rescuing own future and criticizing people in Pakistan taunting blogs and showing (self believed) greatness ..Feel sorry for this Asif NawazRecommend

  • A.kiyani

    Sarcasm at best.. keep up the good work.. loved every bit of it.Recommend

  • A.kiyani

    a well balanced critique. Every body should be vocal. Pakistan needs a lot of critical thinkers to put it on right track.Recommend

  • Ems

    I don’t remember when I last read so much crap in the same blog. However enjoyed the letter to ayan ali esp the bit about Iman ali. What’s disappointing is that you’ve put her in the same league as the rest. Recommend

  • Rabia Amjad Bajwah

    about time . pitch perfect for everybody :) it is like my thoughts got a word. i hope they get to read these open letters. :)Recommend

  • ameeabbasi

    They are dummy Muslims they don’t know that vulgarity linked to increasing rape culture in any Country.What they people are giving message to young generation??what will we get out of leaving behind our values and picking up westren values???Our actors and actresses feel that they must show their bodies in order to show the world how modern they are but alasssssss they don’t know if showing body is an indication of being modern then animals should consider the most modern.They just blindly follow the indian culture because they just desire to compete with them.Recommend

  • QB

    Hey!! Are you that guy who used to wrote for US (Magazine for youth)?
    Loved it!! Every word, every piece of advice goes for thumbs up. You nailed it *_*Recommend

  • Abeer Kasiri

    awesome I loved reham bhabhi one the reason is pretty much clear :DRecommend

  • Shahzad Ali

    But he is based in Abottabad not USRecommend

  • Mohammed Hairs

    Well the review was quiet good and enjoyed reading it! While loved reading about “Reham Bhabhi”, good criticism on Hamza Ali Abbasi (but still like him) and the new Professor Model Dollar Girl and a Jail Queen “Ayyan Ali” (y)

    But reading about “Mahira Khan”, i was just like “What’s this ——” (i hope the people would have understood while sorry for that :P), well i would have liked more about the film critic if she would have also given her views over “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” for which she ran and rushed in the cinema to watch . . . But for what reason????? To support Indian Cause over Pakistan????? Ooooooooo Wowwwwww great (y) Clap pings for the film critic while i would advise her view over “Wrong Number” as i think “Yasir Nawaz” had seen this film critic and then got the idea to make it lolx :P

    Waiting for comments (of all types) :DRecommend

  • Muhammad Asif Nawaz

    Haha. I’m quite a big fan of Mahira Khan. The letter to her showcased the critic’s lack of sane judgement instead of Mahira Khan’s.Recommend

  • Muhammad Asif Nawaz

    Yes, I’m the same guy. Still write for Us occasionally. Thanks for remembering! :)Recommend

  • Muhammad Asif Nawaz

    Thank you for all the feedback. I just hope you guys realize that the joke here is as much on the letter writers as the ones they’re addressed to. Or as in the case of Mahira Khan, the joke is all on the writer. This piece is more of a commentary on the practice of ‘open letters’ than anything else!Recommend

  • syed & syed

    Even this correct woman was invited by corrupt so called sudents in the Karachi University and heard a speechRecommend

  • Saad

    Report an actual news rather pass judgments on whoever you want. Do some good with the free time you have rather than dissecting others.

    Recommend

  • usman niazi

    sarcasm is the crappiest form of wannabee intellectualism… as personified here…Recommend

  • Dania Sajid

    Very well served… It isn’t everyday that the hypocrisy of Pakistan’s most idolised people is brought to the spotlight… Commendable
    Recommend

  • Alinawasi Wasim

    You really make me laugh-Thank You
    From a depressed Soul.Recommend

  • Maria Khan

    Hahaha! Nicely peppered with biting sarcasm!Recommend

  • Muhammad Asif Nawaz

    The pleasure’s all mine! :)Recommend

  • Muhammad Asif Nawaz

    Thank you!Recommend

  • Sana Rubab

    Simply amazing, wow wow and just wow. Finally someone is able to write the critique in a best possible way. Good LuckRecommend

  • Humanoids

    Beautifully written!Recommend

  • Sara Zeeshan

    Worth reading with sarcasm at its best Recommend