Mehwish Hayat was notified to receive a high civilian honor by the government of Pakistan, the Tamgha e Imtiaz.
She received backlash from some circles but soon spoke up against the controversy.
In a chat with Masala! Mehwish addressed the issue and said “Why is it that the moment a woman, especially from our industry, wins something or is recognised for her achievements they are overlooked and doubts are cast on her character? I don’t see the men who have been awarded being questioned in the same way? Are women in Pakistan any less capable of contributing to the betterment of the country? I have stood for women empowerment on many platforms and this has shown that we have a long way to go.”
"I am very honoured as a Pakistani that the highest office in the country has bestowed this award upon me at such a young age," she said. "No negativity will take that away from me and I will not allow the sceptics to rain on my parade. However, discuss all you like about whether I should get this award or not - after all we are a democracy and everyone is entitled to their view - but when the discussion is dragged down to the gutter by some media and aspersion is cast on my character then that crosses a line. That I will not allow and will fight till my last breath. It is such a shame that even in 2019, a woman cannot be celebrated for her achievements without her character being bought into disrepute.
"What has been somewhat galling is when people are failing to understand how civil awards are awarded and why. There is a stringent vetting process after the nomination involving at least two separate committees before it is submitted for final approval to the Head of State," said the Punjab Nahin Jaungi actress. "The award is being made in recognition for my contribution to the arts (acting). The award is specifically for those in the arts and thus my award has not deprived anyone from military or any other field from their due as is being quoted by some. I am a little perturbed by the fact that I have delivered five of the biggest hits in Pakistani cinema and am the highest grossing film actress at the box office is being being overlooked in some quarters and focus is being diverted to the frivolous and unnecessary."
Mehwish continued to add, "I am blessed to have fans that have supported me through this amazing journey. When at 3am in the morning after 18 hours on set and with several more to go, it is their love and the thought of not letting them down that keeps me going. The fans reward me each time they dig into their pockets and part with their hard earned cash to buy cinema tickets to see my films - what better testament to their devotion could there be?"
Mehwish will be awarded with the honor on Pakistan Day on March 23. Mehwish was also supported by various people in the industry, including Mahira Khan, Fahad Mustafa and Osman Khalid Butt.
Congratulations, Mehwish - your work speaks for itself. That someone would defame your character for the sake of retweets and gossip is absolutely disgusting. https://t.co/lst5X2gsGm— Osman Khalid Butt (@aClockworkObi) March 15, 2019