Pemra prohibits broadcasting the Geo drama ‘Hadsa’ following criticism over similarities to the 2020 motorway rape case.
On Wednesday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) prohibited the broadcast of the Geo TV drama ‘Hadsa’ on a complaint by lawyer Khadija Siddiqi, following criticism that the show was based on the 2020 motorway gang rape case.
In September 2020, a French woman of Pakistani origin was gang raped on the Lahore-Sialkot motorway in front of her children while waiting for help after calling the motorway police’s helpline 130 when her car developed a fault. The incident shook the country and drew strong reactions as protests were held in major cities.
On August 21 — nearly three years after the incident — Geo TV began airing ‘Hadsa,’ drawing criticism for similarities between the 2020 rape case and the story’s plot, allegedly not taking the rape survivor’s consent and the show’s treatment of sexual assault and its graphic portrayal.
However, the show’s makers have denied that the drama is based on the incident.
Today, lawyer Muhammad Ahmad Pansota said the rape survivor had consulted him, and he and another lawyer, Siddiqi, approached Pemra.
According to Pemra’s notice, the complaint was filed by Pansota on Siddiqi’s behalf.
The notice, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said Pemra had received complaints about the drama other than Siddiqi’s.
“Pemra has also received numerous complaints from viewers with regards to the plot/ theme of the drama” on X, the notice said, adding that viewers were criticizing the show for it being “based on a real incident that took place at the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway.”
“Furthermore, the public thinks that portrayal of such heinous act will not only trigger the trauma of that unfortunate victim but would also tarnish the country’s image globally and viewers abroad would perceive Pakistan as an unsafe place for women,” the notice read.
It added that the serial was subsequently monitored based on the complaints, and “it is observed that storyline/ plot of the said drama serial is highly inappropriate, disturbing and not depicting true picture of Pakistani society.”
The notice said the drama had created an “uproar” on social media and society, with Pemra being criticized for not taking appropriate action.
Hence, “the broadcast/ re-broadcast of ‘Hadsa’ is immediately prohibited under Section 27 of the Pemra Ordinance, 2002 as amended by Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007”.
The notice added that the matter was further referred to the Council of Complaints for appropriate recommendations to Pemra for a final decision.
Following Pemra’s notice, Pansota said the other party could appeal the decision and “we will, of course, defend it tooth and nail.”
Source: Geo News