Stories about billboards

Why do Muslims play victims of free-speech but make excuses for apostasy and blasphemy?

The Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), as reported by The Express Tribune on September 1, 2015, initiated a nationwide campaign to ‘create awareness about the religion (Islam)’ by displaying billboards that, as ICNA spokesman Nadeem Baig stated, hopes to,“raise awareness about the faith and to dispel myths about the Muslim Americans”. The billboards contain messages such as how Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) supports ‘peace, social justice and women’s rights’. Photo: Islamic Circle of North America Facebook page Yahoo News also covered ICNA’s crusade and the comments section got flooded by anti-Muslim vitriol. Such comments demonstrate that Islam has a poor image in ...

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Do billboards plastered with pretty women cause road accidents?

Billboards have always been a bone of contention amongst the religious in Pakistan. They have resorted to throwing stones and other paraphernalia to register their protest at the image of pretty female models advertising various products from mobile phones to lawn prints. On the other scale, you get celebrities proudly posting images of billboards with their face on them with hashtags on Instagram as a way of showing just how cool they really are. This week, however, a Supreme Court judge in Karachi ruled that female models on billboards are responsible for road accidents. Yes, on roads that are packed with sputtering rickshaws, a never-ending ...

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I guess #Nilofar and Karachi just weren’t meant to be…

Nilofar has been messing with our heads and lives for a week now. It’s coming, it’s not coming. It’s severe, it’s very severe. It has weakened and will not be hitting Pakistan directly. It will rain in Karachi, it will not rain in Karachi. Make up your mind, woman! While Sindh’s fate lay in the hands of a “woman”, we, Karachiites waited anxiously for her to grace us with her presence. This anxiousness is quite disturbing might I add. Generally, citizens of a soon-to-be-affected city start making preparations to stay safe during a natural disaster, but not us. No sir, we will go ...

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Lemon squares with a sprinkle of Ali Zafar please!

Born and bred in good ol’ Lahore, this Lahori munda has done us proud in many fields. His claim to fame is painting, singing, dancing and acting. With his adverts zapped nationwide on billboards and television channels, singing and dancing to his own composition, Ali Zafar goes around painting the town yellow and red. Shuffling between the neighbouring Indian film industry, local adverts and composing albums, he is a busy man, yet he was kind enough to take my call whilst driving back home from his dentist appointment. Given the lack of time and opportunities to meet him, I managed a ‘lightning round’ with him ...

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What if there was a blanket ban on advertisements in Pakistan?

Everywhere we turn, all we see is advertising; on the television, the radio, newspapers, magazines and social media. What with all the hoardings everywhere, buildings are no longer recognisable. Motorists are continuously bombarded with blown up images of different products and photoshopped models, trying to get them to pay attention to what they’re selling instead of what is on the road in front of them. And just when we began to think that the giant, teetering, 3D monstrosities on our billboards were the limit, advertisements started to grow, like mushrooms, on green belts, dividers and roundabouts, and hang like bats from ...

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The dark side of fairness products

It starts with a dark-skinned girl (of course painted with black foundation or something). The girl is depressed and feels hopeless because she can’t achieve anything. Why? Because she has a dark complexion. Then, out of nowhere, this extremely beautiful fair-skinned girl shows up and offers her the magic formula that will transform her life. She applies the magic formula and voila! She turns into a beautiful girl with snow white skin and suddenly achieves everything in life; she becomes successful, gets a dream job and boys suddenly seem interested in her too! In a nutshell, the message that you get ...

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In the land of the pure

As we see the colour red infest the country, we all know that February 14 is a date which has gained massive popularity amongst the masses of Pakistan. But the question remains how and why has Valentine’s Day become so important for our awaam? While some define it as a ‘day for lovers’, others say ‘it’s a day to ‘hate’ those celebrating it’. The trend of girls and guys throwing leaflets in colleges and in car parking against valentines with messages such as ‘this day is for non-Muslims, you will commit a sin if you celebrate this day, if you believe in ...

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This Eid, we have new supermodels in town!

There were days when almost all the billboards on the roadside had either hair shampoo, mobile phones or their packages displayed all over the city. The trend has changed, however, and only one item rules the billboards of Karachi these days. They are young, they are attractive and they are a dream come true. No, I’m not talking about the models and various lawn ads; I’m talking about the cattle farm ads featuring fierce, fat and fine-looking cows and goats for Eid. We are masters at integrating the latest marketing techniques and technologies with religious rituals and making profit there too. ...

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Our dual morality disorder

I was standing on a main road in Islamabad when I saw a big billboard depicting a woman provocatively posing in a nightgown. There, standing right below the billboard, hidden behind a face veil, was a woman who seemed to be a completely different specimen to the model above. Written on this billboard, in bold, was the word ‘Hidden.’ This might have been a brand name – I really don’t know what it stood for. However, to me it highlighted the hidden dual-morality disorder of the virtual and real world that is currently sweeping through our society. Let me explain what I mean ...

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Who wins the lawn war?

Elsewhere in the tropics the cold season is followed by a season of pleasant temperatures before the heat of the summer hits. However, in our part of the world (read Pakistan), temperatures shoot up early in the year as a gazillion brands of lawn engage in a heated battle and try to outdo each other with psychedelic prints and flamboyant campaigns. There are the Icons and the Crescents, the originals and the not-so-originals; there are those who can afford to have Indian celebrities as endorsers and those who get by by hiring local anorexics. For mere spectators like us, this ...

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