At the behest of country’s superior court, PEMRA has taken on the onerous task of defining what constitutes … wait for it … obscenity. I have previously written about the stupidity of defining obscenity because it is almost impossible to define it. It varies from one culture to another, from one class to another, from one ethnic group to another and from one member of the family to another. I personally think Borat was an obscene film and every time Borat asked a woman ‘How much?’ (That character believed that every woman in USA was for sale) I wanted to go and punch the living daylights out of him. My very religious cousin, on the other hand, thought Borat was hilarious, however he has issues with every girl who appears on local TV channels and TV commercials wearing fitted T shirts and wants to drown them – collectively – in the nearest ocean. I wonder whose version of obscenity would be acceptable to those who are defining what obscenity is.
As expected and directed by the most August Chief Justice of Pakistan, the paragon of virtue, Qibla Mufti-e-Azam Hazrat Maulana Ansar Abbasi sahib has also been invited to the PEMRA deliberations on obscenity. Qibla Ansar Abbasi who is the upholder of morality of millions of his countrymen and women, the mainstay of the sanctity of the family values of misguided Pakistanis and the defender of the piety of all the citizens initially agreed to lend his very virtuous services for the great cause of defining morality but later refused to be part of the proceedings because some women who he think do not represent majority of women were also invited to be define obscenity. His recent abomination that tries to pass as an op-ed berates the inclusion of some women in the PEMRA discussions on obscenity and thinks that inviting liberal women who support Hindu culture (his words, not mine) is tantamount to a joke or a conspiracy (seriously, a journalist who uses the word joke and conspiracy interchangeably should be fired on spot for this offence alone). The women who he thinks do not represent the majority of women in Pakistan are Marvi Sirmed, Farzana Bari, Samina Peerzada, Atiqa Odho, Kishwar Naheed, and Sheema Kirmani among others. The reasons he cited for the unsuitability of their inclusion included their liberal and secular ideology and their preference for Western civilization. He also berated the fact that one of them is a dance teacher while another is the champion of the cause of LGBT people.
He then lists the women who should have been called to represent the women of Pakistan and includes names such as Bano Qudsia, right wing politicians such as Maryam Nawaz Sharif (who does not even tweet without daddy’s permission), Samiya Rahil Qazi of JI, Ghazala Saad Rafiq (whose claim to fame I believe is matrimony to one Khwaja Saad Rafiq), Samina Khawar Hayat (She once supported a bill which encouraged affluent men into polygamy), Justice Nasra Iqbal (CJP’s fangurl) and Dr Farhat Hashmi (who now resides in Mississauga and sports a Canadian passport). If Ansar Abbasi’s logic is followed, women who make a name for themselves by hard work in their respective fields for long cannot represent women of Pakistan and women who are famous because they are married or related to famous and powerful men should represent women of Pakistan. If his logic is followed, then people like Marvi Sirmed or Kishwar Naheed, taxpaying and law abiding citizens of the country cannot represent its women because of their ideological preferences but Dr Farhat Hashmi, a Canadian who lives in the state of Ontario, has every right to represent the women of Pakistan because she dons a burqa.
As if that was not all, he lists the criteria for the women who should represent Pakistan and it includes their views on Namoos-e-Risalat and their acceptance of Ahmadis as non Muslims. For starters, the whole exercise of defining obscenity is stupid, but if it is taking place and the government officials actually wanted some female representation then what has definition of obscenity got anything to do with either Namoos-e-Risalat or Ahmadis being non Muslims? I was quite livid at this idiocy but then I told myself to calm down. After all, it is a column published in Jang, written by Ansar Abbasi and it need neither be coherent nor is it required to make any sense at all.
In the end he endorses Qazi Hussain Ahmed’s suggestion that Council of Islamic Ideology should define what constitute obscenity. I thought the council was supposed to work only on matters related to Islam. As obscenity, astagfirullah, is not at all Islamic, they should be spared the indignity of associating with something like obscenity and stick to things pure and gentle.
PS: Those who want to read Ansar Abbasi in all his glory can read the original text in Urdu below.