What’s so obscene about QMobile’s ad, Pakistan?

Published: June 23, 2016

QMobile recently made an ad that has everyone in Pakistan talking about it. Strangely enough, mostly for good reasons this time. The ad is about a girl called Sara who wishes to pursue her dreams of playing cricket. Like many in our society who feel a girl’s place should be at home, Sara’s father refuses to support her and says “ladkiyan cricket nahin khelti” (girls don’t play cricket) making it clear that cricket is a “man’s” sport.

To this day, potential in-laws look for an educated girl to wed their son, so that she can be domesticated as a homemaker. No sorry, it is still housewife in their minds. She can be a doctor who stays home, makes babies and also round chapatis. There is nothing wrong with being a homemaker, but forcing one to give up their dreams to stay in the kitchen, is wrong.

So this ad was breaking barriers for sure, even more so because the daughter still goes ahead with just her mother’s blessings, defying her father.

Pakistan’s women cricket team recently played and won not only major matches but our hearts as well. Many of the players had similar stories to tell as that of Sara.

At the end of the advertisement, Sara gets selected in the official team to represent Pakistan and even wins player of the match. With all the congratulations pouring in, her father finally melts and accepts her victory as his own and embraces her wishes.

It was a very touching moment and certainly a lesson for all of us to learn from. We should be allowed to pursue our dreams and make something of ourselves. Daughters should be respected as individual identities too.

And then reality came knocking. People started making comments like,

“Shameful ad, it is teaching others to defy parents.”

“Now every girl will run away from home”

“Propaganda video”

“Women want to take the place of a man?”

And then the final blow from a particularly popular person, Orya Maqbool Jaan,

“The ad is obscene. Did you see the way she was running?”

No, Sir, we did not, but you certainly seemed to have been looking… really really hard to have seen what was not even there.

Why is everything positive forced to take a negative turn?

Why is everything good strung up on the moral compass and then declared obscene by people? And that too just for the sake of it?

There was nothing obscene or negative in the ad. It had a good message. Sometimes things should be accepted as they are. Sometimes there really are no hidden conspiracies out there to ruin our youth.

It is a wonderful ad that we should all learn from. The world is changing and we need to move ahead with it, not go backwards.

Shamila Ghyas

Shamila Ghyas

The writer is the author of the Aoife and Demon series. She also writes for Khabaristan Times, The Nation, Express Tribune, Dawn and other publications. She can be reached at @ShamilaGhyas (twitter.com/ShamilaGhyas) and www.facebook.com/shamilaghyas

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