Mohsin Abbas Haider Case: Mahira Khan, Mehwish Hayat, Sajal Aly, Iqra Aziz Condemn Domestic Abuse

Mohsin Abbas Haider Case: Mahira Khan, Mehwish Hayat, Sajal Aly, Iqra Aziz Condemn Domestic Abuse

In the light of Mohsin Abbas Haider abuse case, Mahira Khan, Mehwish Hayat, Sajal Aly and many other industry peers vocalize their opinions by taking to their social media handles. However, the question arises – are industry peers accountable to speak out and to what extent?
Mohsin Abbas Haider Case: Mahira Khan, Mehwish Hayat, Sajal Aly, Iqra Aziz Condemn Domestic Abuse
Mohsin Abbas Haider and Fatema Sohail. Mehwish Hayat, Mahira Khan and Sajal Aly

On July 20, 2019, Fatema Sohail shocked Pakistani drama and film fans by posting a lengthy account of the suffering she has faced at the hands of her husband, actor/singer Mohsin Abbas Haider. A multi-talented man, Mohsin Abbas has acquired an entourage of fans between his work in dramas, films and on Mazaak Raat on Dunya TV.  The country, as well as fans outside of Pakistan, were reeling from the news once it broke, shocked and appalled that a great actor on-screen could be a great actor in real life as well.  Shock quickly turned into rage, as netizens began openly boycotting Mohsin Abbas Haider. It didn’t take long before celebrities started vocalizing their opinions as well.  However, as it tends to happen with Pakistani fans, can a celebrity ever truly do enough to please everyone?  Some celebrities who were quick to comment found themselves being criticized for saying too little.  Other celebrities who allowed themselves time to process found themselves attacked for delaying their response.  What is the right time for a celebrity to react?  What is the right thing for a celebrity to say?  And more importantly, why are celebrities held to such a high standard? 

Mahira Khan's take on domestic violence:

Mahira Khan reacted to the news by taking to her Twitter handle and wrote,

"Sick to my stomach. What gives anybody the right to raise their hand on anyone? Nothing. No excuse. For eons now we have normalised abuse (of all kinds) and for the sake of our children this needs to stop."

Mahira continured, "We need counsellors in schools for children going through issues at home (And truth be told we have all been there). Girls and boys in school should be taught about consent, domestic abuse, sexual abuse etc. These should be subjects as basic as math and science."

Mehwish Hayat's stance on domestic violence:

Mehwish Hayat, who's known to speak her mind, shared on her Twitter handle, "What #MohsinAbbasHaider has done is despicable. Domestic abuse is a crime and perpetrators should face the full wrath of the law. We can’t tolerate this in our society. BUT we are also to blame for turning a blind eye for so long even though we see it happening ... 1/2"

Mehwish continued, "We need to be doing all we can to protect the victims of this hidden menace. Abuse is one thing but his response had me in shivers ... proves that he’s totally unstable. I pray that he gets the help he needs. 2/2 #FatimaSohail #MohsinAbbasHaider #ZulmBandKaro"

Hania Amir's reaction to Mohsin Abbas Haider:

Hania Amir reacted to the Mohsin Abbas Haider story almost instantaneously, calling him out by stating “You know all the fame you get, all the hard work you put into your work, that body you keep working on, those sleepless nights of shooting and working hard don’t pay off when you’re a piece of shit! #TimesUp.”

Hania Amir also took to her Instagram story and wrote,

While most netizens applauded Hania for her straightforward statement, especially considering the time she has spent with Mohsin while working on “Na Maloom Afraad 2,” some continued to criticize Hania for not living up to their standards.  One Twitter user writes:

“#haniaamir so glad you spoke against sexual predator #MohsinAbbasHaider but you didn’t say a single word for #ukhano Isn’t it hypocrisy? Or friendship matters more than anything else @realhaniahehe”

Sajal Aly speaks out for victims of domestic abuse:

Sajal Aly did not reply, rather choosing to wait 24 hours before posting to her insta story.  During that waiting period, however, she was heavily criticized for not making a statement, being called a hypocrite by many. 

“Where social media has its cons, it also has pros.  To see that finally a woman changed her present and  her oppressed life by finally speaking up about on the social media to expose the real face of her partner.  We must unite with all the men and women and children who are a victim of domestic violence.”

To which a fan of Sajal's reacted and wrote,

Osman Khalid Butt, a few hours after the news broke, wrote:

I've been staring at this screen, grappling with the images I saw, trying to form a coherent sentence. ... There is a special place in hell reserved for anyone who would lay so much as a finger on a woman. You cannot justify abuse. It is indefensible. I am sick to my stomach.”

And while his thoughts and the message behind them could not have been clearer, Twitter users criticized him, well, basically for not using the exact words they wanted him to use.  One user insinuated that Osman did not speak about the situation in a forthright manner, because of Mohsin’s association with “Baaji,” the film.

@aClockworkObi you’re probably aware of Mohsin beating his wife? Or you Wont condemn now because that might harm your film?”

To which Osman replied:

”I absolutely condemn any act of violence against women. How revolting that you would insinuate my film is more important than the abuse and betrayal a woman went through.”

The twitter user continued his displeasure by stating:

“Did you literally just turn this on me? Unreal manipulation. Nor i have any personal grudge with you nor am I insinuating anything. I mentioned your film because Mohsin worked with you in that and you looked very close to him in his recent post. Unreal.”

Ushna Shah reacted:

Actress Ushna Shah reacted to the Mohsin Abbas Haider story by posting this on her Instagram handle.

Mawra Hocane reacted as well:

"The oppressed will no longer remain quiet. ThankGod #TimesUp. I hope this is made into an example & not forgotten. NO side of story can explain domestic violence. Serious action must be taken by concerned channels & production houses. Abuser must be shamed out Loud. #MohsinAbbas"

Iqra Aziz speaks up about #Timesup!

Nazish Jahangir had written once on her Instagram story:

Meanwhile, Nazish Jahangir, the woman Mohsin Abbas Haider has allegedly had an affair once wrote on her Instagram story,

As the banter continued, it became evident that fans all around the world now hold their celebrities to a certain standard – and more than that, they believe these celebrities should serve as a mouthpiece for the average citizen.  The problem with this thought process is that celebrities are also human beings with thoughts, families, relationships, jobs and, at the end of the day, it’s their decision as to how they want to conduct themselves.  Celebrities are not accountable for the actions of their industry peers, just as the average person is not accountable for the actions of their co-workers.  More importantly, celebrities do not have to regurgitate the thoughts of every social media user.  Every person has a different way of reacting – while some are reactive and quick to vocalize their thoughts, some speak only after giving it some thought, while others choose not to speak at all.  All three of these options should be acceptable.  In a world where now celebrities are so accessible, it’s difficult to understand where to draw the line between wanting a statement from a favorite and harassing an individual that does not technically owe an explanation.  And while the Mohsin Abbas Haider story continues to gather steam with Mohsin’s press conference and celebrities continue to speak out, it should be understood that they do not owe their audience an explanation for anything that they are not personally accountable for.    

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