The responsibility of being a famous celebrity in Pakistan

Published: August 31, 2015

Saif Ali Khan’s Phantom (2015) was a sad excuse for a movie, much like Shaan Shahid’s Musalman (2001). Movies that play on the very jingoistic sentiment, which have led us into various wars and thousands of casualties, do nothing but betray their audiences who otherwise wish and need peace in the region.

Pakistan was right to ban the film as a sign of protest. I would expect the same from India but India being a much older democracy has been far more disappointing. Not only did it ban non-political movies and dramas from Pakistan, but our artists like Shakeel Siddiqui and singers like Atif Aslam have also been directly threatened whilst on Indian soil, something no Indian artists has ever faced while visiting Pakistan.

The recent controversy created by Phantom, and subsequent statements made by Saif Ali Khan, got angry responses from known actors like Shaan Shahid and Hamza Ali Abbasi, and anchors like Faisal Qureshi and Shahzad Khan. I can understand their anger and hence, this video is not about defending Phantom or Saif Ali Khan.

Photo: Hamza Ali Abbasi Facebook page

Photo: Hamza Ali Abbasi Facebook page

But I fail to understand the use of sexism to echo one’s point in a patriarchal society (Qureshi), questioning people’s religion and associating one’s morality to their clothes (Abbasi), teasing a man on his wife’s personal life (Shahzad Khan) and demanding ban on another Pakistani Artist, Mawra Hocane, and endangering her career just for having an opposite view about a fictional movie (Shahid). This video is about the references and context we use to express our anger which may be perpetuating prejudices.

These four gentlemen above have done remarkable work for Pakistan in their respective fields and otherwise, and are blessed with the love and support of millions. They are role models who people try to emulate. So, in effect, how they phrase their arguments and address their prejudices matters.

I have also tried to emphasise in this video that regardless of having opposing views, we as people need to learn to engage the other with respect, in the same way we expect it from others.

Pakistan Zindabad!


Jibran Nasir

A lawyer and civil and political rights activist. He is the co-founder of Elaj Trust, Pakistan For All and Never Forget Pakistan. He tweets @MJibranNasir (

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

  • Sami

    Our educated elite are bereft of topics. So now a days they are making mountains out of potholes. Kindly visit some rural areas of Pakistan and there are thousands of topics of socio-political nature there. This is not even an issue to discuss.Recommend


    Unfortunately having wildly polarized opinions is the way to go for gaining an audience on the internet. Qureshi being as mature as a 6 year old on a sugar rush embodies this sentiment perfectly.Recommend

  • Absar Khan

    Lets be honest, Bin roye banned in one of the states of India, Atif Aslam receiving threats about how his concerts will be shit upon if he hosted any, and all that happening, do u think after all that extremist politicians of India threatening our Artists and banning our non political movies, do Indian movies deserve place in our Cinema theatres, do they still have the right to earn money off Pakistani cinemas? On other hand if Mawra was confident enough with her statement and not blindly supporting, why’d she remove her statuses? bringing situations like that into reality, its more like a “Hit and Run” case, hitting the situation and running(deleting the statements on twitter), makes her inconfident in what she says, proves her wrong and god knows for what other reasons she did it.Recommend

  • Fatima Shirin

    Much respect for you, Jibran Nasir. Keep spreading this idea of peace. We love peace, we love Pakistan.Recommend

  • Farhan Jaffry

    This Candle Mafia is all joke, where were you when children were abused in Kasur, what did you do for them, cheap publicity Recommend

  • Parvez

    Let’s be honest ……..Ek Mawra teen bandar se bhari. Recommend

  • S O

    Jibran Bhai: What happened to raising voice for children abused in kasur or for pakistani citizens whose houses were bull dozed in Islamabad and they were left with no home or for those poor people who live in rural areas under wadera/chaurdy shahi and have no access to a decent wage or basic necessities in life. Your intro says you are an activist. It should say ‘selective activist’. The issue should involve india, army or religion & it will turn you into an activist. One has to be clear why one does it. Because of his conscience or because of the recognition (& $) he will get from foreign masters for selective activism.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I have not met Jibran nor have I met you…..but I know of the many good and sometimes brave things that Jibran has done and is doing…… for you Sir, I would be interested to know if you have done anything for the abused children of Kasur or for that matter done anything on any other issue.Recommend

  • Saad Salman Zia

    Where were you or anybody else for that matter? It’s easy to appropriate burden elsewhere.Recommend

  • Nick

    Hi Jibran,
    I am surprised by your first few lines here. I understand that the Pakistani courts have not been able to incriminate Hafiz Saeed. But are you really saying that you actually believe that he is innocent ? Because I know that you for one do not support this good terrorist bad terrorist game. Although my country India has not been able to still deliver justice to the Pakistanis who died in the Samjhauta express blasts, I stand with the victims of the blast. I would very much like to see the perpetrators behind jail. Their nationality does not make their lives any less important in my eyes. I hope the same is true for you. People who died in Mumbai were made of flesh and blood just like you are. I hope you can see the difference in what is in the interest of Mr. Hafiz Saeed and what is in the interest of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Anwaar

    he may not be there for the children of Kasur… BUT he was there when the heatwave hit karachi, he protested against Lal Masjid cleric … and many countless things… he screamed at CM Sindh outside Jinnah Hospital for his incompetency :) ….Recommend

  • mariah

    absolutely agreed to Jibran NasirRecommend

  • zain abedeen

    Spot ON!!! Excellent Blog.Recommend