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Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar is cancelled again

The playwright has made several problematic comments about women

SAMAA | - Posted: Mar 4, 2020 | Last Updated: 12 months ago
Posted: Mar 4, 2020 | Last Updated: 12 months ago
Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar is cancelled again

Photo: Screengrab

Scriptwriter Khalil-ur-Rehman Qamar has done it again. In a live talk show on NEO NEWS, he used abusive language while talking to journalist Marvi Sirmed.

It started when Qamar called the Aurat March slogan Mera Jism, Meri Marzi vulgar. He said he was shocked by Marvi’s comments which led her shout Mera Jism, Meri Marzi repeatedly. An annoyed Qamar told Marvi to shut up and let him speak.

Marvi shouted the slogan even louder.

The host of the show Rabia Ehtesham tried to get her guests to remain calm but no one was in a mood to back down. Qamar also made personal attacks about Sirmed’s body.

Ehtesham tweeted an apology the following day and said that she was sorry for the state of affairs. She said that she was taken aback and did not think things would get so rough and abusive. She clarified that none of it was intentional.

Her boss, Nasrullah Malik who is the executive director of the channel, tweeted at Sirmed and apologised. He said that as the head of the channel he condemned Qamar’s behavior and strict action would be taken.

Within minutes, this clip of the show went viral. It prompted celebrities, politicians, activists and women to call out Qamar’s misogynistic views and the media which gave him the space to air his opinions.

After the show, Sirmed took to Twitter and said that had Qamar been a playwright in a civilized media industry, he would have been boycotted, not welcomed by every media house.

Qamar recently signed a deal with GEO Entertainment to write four TV plays plus a feature film. The first project in this series is called God is Great.

He has written a number of scripts for films such as Kaaf KanagaPunjab Nahi Jaungi and more recently, London Nahi Jaunga.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman commented on Sirmed’s post and said that Qamar should be boycotted. MQM’s Wasay Jalil said this was unacceptable and that Qamar should not be given any time on air.

Rehman tweeted that she would not go on the show until the anchor apologized and Qamar was boycotted.

Singer Shehzad Roy said that he failed to understand people’s issue with Mera Jism, Meri Marzi. “My body is mine is a critical component of the life skills based education classes we teach to help children protect themselves from abuse and harassment.”

PTI minister Shireen Mazari’s daughter, lawyer Imaan Zainab Mazari-Hazir, said that the slogan itself was logical as it stems from experiences of women whose bodily integrity has been violated.

Son of the late Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz, said: “On behalf of every man except Amir Liaqat, I apologise for #khalilurrehmanqamar And not apologise for his actions but his entire being and pathetic existence.”

Lawyer Ayesha Ijaz Khan called out NEO News for wanted drama instead of a discussion on women’s rights.

Actor Mahira Khan said that she was shocked at what she heard. “Sick to the core. This same man who abused a woman on TV is revered and given project after project because of what? We are as much to blame if not more for perpetuating this thinking!”

Academic Nida Kirmani said the slogan “MeraJismMeriMarzi means opposing: rape sexual harassment child marriage physical abuse lack of healthcare domestic violence human trafficking bonded labour/slavery Opposing this statement means perpetuating a culture that produces all of the above.”

MNA Nafisa Shah that it was nauseating to see Qamar hurl abuse at Sirmed on television. “This is unacceptable and must not go unpunished & channels commissioning his generally misogynistic, woman hating scripts must be put on the spot.”

Filmmaker Sarmad Khoosat tweeted that what KRQ did/said and has been saying/writing over all these years are not isolated actions, they reflect what lies beneath the shoddy structure of our so called industry that includes our consumers too, the viewers (the reviewers too).

“We are to be blamed, all of us. And what needs to be done to rectify or re-mould this will have to be beyong and much more than just us typing away our anger on our keyboards,” he said.

Author Ayesha Siddiqa said that Qamar’s abusive behaviour towards Sirmed was condemnable but “it underscores an attitude that apes that of those who have planted a seed like Qamar. It signifies an arrogance of the institution that patronised him in the first place”.

The Aurat March official Twitter account also responded and said that Qamar made his living by disrespecting women and “we’re tired of providing both capital platform to misogynists. Boycott anyone who disrespects women & nonbinary persons on national TV”.

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