Dec 10, 2011 - Veena Malik    27 Comments

Wither professionalism?

I never really wanted to get into the whole Veena Malik debate on my blog, but something happened which made me realize that the issue is far greater than just one person and misogynist pricks are found everywhere; not just in Pakistan. 
I was invited by BBC Asian Network to be part of a radio talk show on the why Veena Malik’s father has disinherited her on December 8th. I agreed to be on the show because it gave me opportunity to be on air with Veena Malik, who I find fascinating at so many levels.
The program started with the host Nihal (he is this really slow presenter who puts his listeners to sleep, I wonder why BBC hired him in the first place but I digress)asking Veena Malik how does she feel about being disinherited. She gave an appropriate response about getting her father to see her point of view eventually. He then took a caller, an army officer called Malik from Islamabad, who first refused to say salam (Muslim greetings) to Veena Malik because he thought of her as a vile disgusting creature who has insulted the her country (Pakistan) and her religion (Islam). He then went on to threaten Veena Malik (well indirectly of course) of dire consequences when she comes back. He also said that if his own daughter would have done something like this, he would have given it to her. This guy was given ample opportunity to engage with Veena Malik and they argued back and forth. As if that was not enough, he was allowed by the presenter to repeatedly insult the guest of the show, something I never expected on a BBC show.
Another female guest was allowed to ask Ms. Malik if she was a Muslim. When she said that yes, she is a Muslim and her religiosity is a private matter between her and her Allah, the caller was also allowed to mock Veena Malik.  
In response to Veena Malik’s argument that she is part of entertainment industry and she will continue to do bold shoots to stay in the business, Presenter Nihal asked her a very pointed and leading question. He asked if Veena Malik is a Muslim and if she is asked to select between her religion and entertainment industry, what will she choose?
Now it was a very inappropriate question to ask in normal circumstances, but considering what has happened earlier this year –Salmaan Taseer’s murder – this kind of insensitivity was mind boggling and unprofessional. When the presenter turned to me to seek my opinion on Veena; I decided to point out his super unprofessional attitude and how his leading question can jeopardize his guest’s life. It was against journalism ethics 101 to put someone on spot and ask them to testify about their religiosity in hypothetical situations. Instead of responding to my objection in an adult and rational manner, Presenter Nihal took it as a personal offence and said something to the effect that he was right in raising that question as her Veena’s dad has already disinherited her. Before I could’ve responded to it, he cut me off and went to another person.
For starters,Veena’s dad disinheriting her does not give the present any right to mock and insult his guest in a manner that can put her life in danger. Secondly, his tone was accusatory when he was speaking with his guest and it was all good, but when a caller presented him with a genuine grievance, he cuts her off. That was real mature of him. Lastly, if he had allowed me to speak, I would have said that there should be some difference between him – a BBC presenter with a first world education – and Veena’s dad who, if I recall correctly, is a retired non commissioned officer in Pakistan army. Veena’s dad’s comments could be waived as something which is said in the heat of moment, but the comments of a supposedly responsible journalist who makes his living by talking to people and about people cannot be ignored that lightly.
Dear BBC, 
I know it was a programme targeted towards the Asian Diaspora in UK and is not for your mainstream audience, but please, make an effort, and hire someone who is at least professional and courteous if not more. 

PS: If you want to listen to it, you can do so for five more days here 

Clip to Evernote


  • VM was spot on that it’s between her and Allah. And those who believe in Allah enough to be threatening her, must also keep their beliefs between them and Allah. Wish Pakistanis showed this much zeal towards eliminating corruption from Pakistan instead.

  • agreed in letter and spirit . and thanks for showing another view of picture.

  • Okay, I’ve just listened to barely five minutes of Nihal and I’m already irritated. Having said that, there are many instances where parents/families have declared their daughters outcasts (and worse) because they made a choice about their own love life, or profession, or body. To pose the question whether her father did the right thing in disinheriting her seems silly. They did what they did in anger (and possibly to protect themselves).

    Agreed on the highly irresponsible question of religion vs. profession. Why not both.

    It’s just really unfortunate, this hue and cry over Veena’s nudity, and the threats. Can this anger be directed (constructively) towards those who humiliate women in the name of ghairat, those who threaten and attack those who are non-Muslim? Religion is a manifestation of faith, but faith is something that is personal between a man or woman and God. Not Nihal and Veena, or anyone else for that matter and Veena.

    Of course Nihal could not have cared less. He’s just in it for the sensationalism.

    *deep breath*

  • well written..

    the host was an ass.. I complaint bbc on their official site against the host…

  • What the hell. That was so wrong of the presenter. And having crypto threatening callers on was also wrong.

  • The question ‘if you are a Muslim or not’ is real bullshit. Because, what would Veena Malik say in public if she’s atheist in her heart of hearts? Would she say “oh i have just quit islam?, i don’t like islam anymore? keep your islam with you?” “Oh yeah i like dancing nude in the rain, it feels so natural” Is she allowed to say so openly in public? No?? Then why ask such questions if she’s left with no choice.
    And guys there’s nothing wrong in being nude. If you have problem with nudity, You are the problem.

  • ullu ka patha. i cant believe BBC allowed this to happen

  • Tazeen,
    It is really disapointing to know that fundos are everywhere, leave alone the media. Media people are even more “Jahil” than ordinary jahils on streets of this land of pures.

  • Mr. Shuja
    It was not in the land of pure, it was in England. A lot of things are bad here but then they are bad elsewhere as well.

  • thanks for sharing.

    sadly they our countrymen 🙁

  • Surprised, but this is the BBC’s agenda to accelerate chaos. And that is why at one place they make hue and cry over honor killings and at the other place they are asking Veena Malik an actress if she is muslim or not.
    Interestingly, acting is unislamic why they don’t ask Shah Rukh Khan if he is muslim or not or Dilip Kumar or Salman and Aamir Khan. Can they ask these persons what their choice will be between religion and profession? No, they won’t.
    Its more than this you are pointing here.
    Before the age of new communication technology these things happened. Reema has performed topless Mujras in Pakistan even Babra Sharif has done this.
    Anyway, Veena appears as a new test of tolerance of Pakistani society and off course media is playing an important role in leading the way.

  • when one puts themselves out there (literally) thes reactions are normal in a society…Veena Malik knows that, and uses it well…

    you made a very good point about the show…and its host…

  • He doesn’t sound like a fundo – just your typical douche. I hope he gets fired – not just because he’s a douche who doesn’t deserve a job at such a highly regarded station but so someone who’s actually talented and sane gets it.

  • You could be asking a singer the same question since it is widely believed that music is haram in Islam. Highly unprofessional and if there’s a fire Nihal petition going round, I did be more than happy to put my name on it.

  • Tazeen:

    Wonderfully written!
    And thank you for standing up for Veena. Everyone needs to focus on their own morality to make this world a better place!

  • I started listening but Nihal was so infuriatingly slow that I decided to quit after hardly 10 minutes. Veena has all the right to express herself in the entertainment industry and his father is taking a typical Pakistani approach to he situation.

  • Agree that Nihal acted unprofessionally, but I feel that the real seeds for potential harm were laid by Veena the moment she did that cover. She must’ve known it was a risk, surely. Yes, the presenter ought to rise above the situation but what is he doing, really, other than playing her at her own game? He asked fairly predictable questions and she was ready with her equally predictable answers.

  • I don’t know I saw soo many men talking about veena’s body (many religious men) and how her body looked older than her age, veena’s legs her this and that and in an instant they would jump on the muslim bandwagon.
    Veena did expose the hypocrisy of our nation though who want to enjoy porn while locking up their wives inside the house, who want to watch dance and music videos while still going to pray. Other

  • Aur bhi gham hai zamanai mai veena kai siwa!!! I wish people in Pakistan and in the world take them rather seriously and talk about genuine issues with the same zest.
    Hypocrisy seems contagious and prevails glibally regardless of culture, religion and boundaries. We often find anchors on international channels, BBC, CNN & Fox more biased and unprofessional than the local fellows. May we are blessed to distinguish between truth and propaganda and use media for making our lives better rather than worse

  • nice information you have shared it. thanks

  • I think Miss Tazeen is not right in accusing Nihal of being unprofessional. I’ve listened to the show and it’s quite apparent if you hear how Nihal has responded to caller Saima. I actually found him quite neutral, towards both the callers and the guest.

  • The Indian Muslim clergy has already disowned SRK, AK and SK and called them non-muslims.

    SRK – he married a hindu.
    AK – he married a hindu – twice
    SK – his mother is a hindu and he celebrates Ganesh festival in Mumbai.

  • GOD what a bigot! Let Veena Malik be! There are gazillion other things that has brought shame to our country. People should just leave her alone!!

  • My first thought when i saw the picture was “much ado about nothing (on)”. Clearly I was right. Never underestimate the damage nude women do to the universe ( :D) And good job Tazeen calling out the “reporter”.

  • Hi Tazeen,

    Strange country. You most certainly need a thick skin to survive among people who sport a medieval mind set. I-pad and i-phone but inside the head it’s deep middle ages.


  • Is there any way of reporting this fellow? Like you, I’m surprised that the BBC hired such a douche. Either BBC is slipping regarding hiring qualified and sensible people or it simply doesn’t care. I sincerely hope it’s the former

  • Hi Tazeen,
    I’m a British-Pak. citizen, in the UK. This is a serious breach of professional etiquette on the presenter’s part – please complain here:

    The insensitivity shown by this compere implies they are no longer fit to represent Asians in Britain. Could you either submit this on your behalf, or post the details of the proceedings on your blog that one may mail them to the BBC? I plan to contact them via phone as well.


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