FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

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Is there even a fine line to consider?

There’s a fine line between someone exercising their freedom of expression and being downright vulgar. And one of the most controversial Pakistani writers ‘Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar’ is back at it again, making headlines for once more showing his disrespect towards the female gender.

This time, bearing the brunt was a female journalist Ailia Zehra who was part of a live panel discussion with the man behind the major drama serial ‘Meray Paas Tum Ho’. What was supposed to be a smooth discussion with panelists providing their points of view, quickly escalated towards a major rage war where Khalil-ur-Rehman did not let loose. The agitated writer without sugarcoating anything, unleashed a spring of misogynist and sexist remarks onto the journalist before taking his mic off and speeding out of the studio of the major news channel.

It was not long before Twitter went abuzz with complete agitation and criticism on why was the writer invited to the interview in the first place. The writer behind major drama serials including Sadqey Tumharay and Pyaaray Afzal had made news not quite long ago when he was found mansplaining what is a woman to human rights activist ‘Marvi Sirmed’ which again led to a fumed exchange of words where Khalil’s absurd comments regarding how women’s exercise to equal rights to men would justify their equality to also gang rape men if need be.

His disturbing and regressive comments reflected his absurd thought process and perspective towards women’s right and standing in society. What should have probably been a major point in time for the entertainment industry to join hands and speak against the atrocity and demand a retraction and public apology however it was pretty clear how the bigwigs of the industry knew the fraternity needs good writing to keep the TRPs for the dramas on a steep inclination. With just a few known faces speaking against the sexism and derogatory stance of the writer, there wasn’t much noise much said or done.

Two years forward and we are rocking the same boat again. This time though the journalist in question didn’t need to wait for anyone else’s sympathy but took a stern stand herself. Soon after the incident, she turned to Twitter and shared the clip, narrating her ‘horrible’ experience of sharing the panel with Qamar. “Just had a horrible encounter with toxic masculinity. Khalil ur Rehman Qamar lost his marbles during a talk show when I called him out over his hateful rhetoric. He left the show while yelling at the top of his lungs. Called me a RAW agent and spewed sexist slurs,” she wrote on Twitter.

Only time will tell how this time how many would be able to take a stand and call spade a spade, speaking out against the spewed slurs and demanding an action against this ‘inhumane’ depiction of free will. For there is definitely downright need to be expressive but the expressions which demean others and stoop you towards the inconsistency of a smooth society run, would require a major and thorough check.

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