Pakistan Television (PTV) on Friday sacked its suspended director of current affairs, Agha Masood Shorish, following allegations of sexual harassment and misuse of authority by multiple staffers at the state-run broadcaster.
A total of five inquiries had been initiated against Shorish, including three for sexual harassment. PTV's 14 producers had also filed a complaint against him in the Islamabad High Court, and the issue was also taken up in the National Assembly.
Shorish, who was suspended three months ago for negligence, had continued to receive his salary and all other benefits during his suspension period. He also officially retired around a decade ago after reaching the age of superannuation.
The executive also reportedly used PTV's legal resources to defend himself in the court even though the organisation was not a party in the case.
The Information Ministry issued a notification for his termination after participants of a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi decided to remove officers who were bringing a bad name to state-owned organisations, were posted even after retirement or had caused financial harm to them, sources said.
Tanzeela Mazhar, a former PTV employee who was among the main complainants against Shorish said in a tweet on Friday: "Finally, [the] darkest chapter of harassment, corruption and nepotism is closed. Thank you everyone who stood by us to make this happen."
She thanked PPP lawmakers Saeed Ghani and Shazia Marri, and multiple TV anchors for their support.
Marri had moved a calling attention notice regarding complaints by Mazhar and her fellow anchor Yashfeen Jamal earlier this year in the NA upon which the State Minister for Information Marriyum Aurangzeb had said that an unbiased committee would investigate the matter.
Mazhar had resigned from PTV later, since she said she could not keep drawing a salary without being given work by the PTV.
“I resigned because the man in question was reinstated," Tanzeela Mazhar had told Dawn.com earlier.
"Even though our contracts were renewed, we were not being given air time. To take a government salary but not work was unacceptable to me,” she had said.
“When I raised my voice, people responded with [degrading] comments about women, and our character and personal lives, without understanding that what we do in our private lives is a private matter,” Mazhar said while speaking of the reprisals to a social media campaign she ran against the man in question.
“I plan to raise awareness about what harassment is, as most people do not take it seriously until a person has been beaten up or raped,” Mazhar added.
Tragedy has struck and the couple is estranged - Verna's latest song is out and it's giving us the jitters.
A far cry from the previous track, 'Khushi Ki Baat' follows the bad blood between Mahira Khan and Haroon Shahid as they cope with their (troubled) situation. Though we don't know what it is that leads to their fallout, but it's grave and it's haunting.
Mahira seems visibly shaken and distressed and you can sense her emotions in the powerful scenes in the music video. Haroon, on the other hand, is seen as more pensive and mournful.
'Khushi Ki Baat' has been written and composed by Shoaib Mansoor and sung by Richie Robinson and Zeb.
Verna comes out on November 17.
Even after the Dangal actor also got positive reviews for her work in Secret Superstar, she has no plans for turning acting into her sole career just yet.
Hindustan Times reports that Zaira, who grew up in Kashmir, says she did not grow up watching Bollywood films and had no desire of becoming an actor.
“I still do not know if I'm going to become an actress in the future as a serious full-timer, but every time when I act, I try to deliver my best. Both the films that I have done offer beautiful stories,” said the 16-year-old..
Zaira still became a real life secret superstar after auditioning for Dangal.
Remembering the experience, Zaira says, "I did not go there with any expectation, but with a curious mind to explore and know what is acting and how they audition. Rest was a process and I think I am one of the luckiest children who got the best opportunity. And then working with AK (Aamir Khan) twice... I am blessed."
Aamir Khan has been in both Dangal and Secret Superstar and Zaira admires how he made sure to never overshadow her performance. But that also means her newfound fame and recognition is 'overwhelming'.
"They look at me with so much love and affection and appreciate me for my work! What could be more overwhelming than this?"
But despite the critical acclaim and success, Zaira doesn't let her celebrity status define who she is.
"Nothing has changed in me, trust me... I can spend the whole day in a room with some good food, and play with my cats. I have three cats -- one is black, one white and a brown kitten. I love them... I keep playing with them."
While we love her grounded approach, we do wish to see her in upcoming films. Here's hoping!
The #UrwaFarhan wedding was a spectacular affair; celebrity bigwigs were part of the occasion, fancy designer clothes were worn and the fairytale wedding was organised to the T with family, fans and the media present. However, many weren't happy with the festivities.
After all the hoopla surrounding the events, Mawra Hocane decided to speak up on behalf of the newly weds and her family. She took to Facebook and shut down trolls for pointing fingers at Urwa and Farhan.
"My sister injured her ankle on the day of her nikkah so much so she could not walk the next day but what do you know about her pain because all you saw was that BIG smile on her face as she greeted each and every fan & every member of the family. We won't tell you and you won't notice because, of course, being a hater gets you attention," wrote Mawra.
The actor felt it necessary to speak up because the hate had turned ugly.
"I usually don't respond to negativity as it doesn't affect me but this time around it's about my family. While I'm overwhelmed that we are now three public figures in the same family, I want to say we are still human."
But she didn't let the negativity get to her, instead, she ended her note by sending love to all the trolls: "Close your eyes and think for a moment what it is that you lack in your life that you find pleasure in pointing fingers at others. It's probably a void due to the absence of love & compassion. So here's a bucket full of Love for you. Live and let live. We, as a family, wish well for you and hope you do too."
Deconstructing red carpet looks may just be the best guilty pleasure after an award show, and lucky for us the Hum Style Awards red carpet was buzzing!
Some noticeable trends on the red carpet included a focus on brights, specifically fall-friendly colours like red and orange.
In a welcome move away from frilly gowns, power suits and tailoring was spotted on several women.
But to get reallllly specific, how did some looks fare when they faced off against a rival?
We decided to find out.
Ah, the timeless all-black sari. It's not as easy as it sounds. Although it seems like an outfit choice that you just can't go wrong with, that's not exactly true. It's a tricky one to pull off. Exhibit A: Sadaf Kanwal. Although her physique looks killer, we just felt the overall look fell flat. It was a little too plain Jane, coupled with a tight updo and black Bottega clutch. That arm bling also did her no favours.
Sunita Marshall on the other hand is making a great case for lace saris. The drop earrings and bangles kept the look traditional but the halter blouse and lace with silver detailing still made her look foxy.
Winner: Sunita Marshall!
A plain white dress, much like the all-black sari we mentioned above, is like a canvas: you must accessorize the outfit well.
First up we have Sajal Aly in Zaheer Abbas. Sajal didn't style her Zaheer Abbas number nearly enough, not to mention those vertical pleats looked a little awkward.
At the other end of the spectrum Mansha Pasha had a little too much going on: the off-shoulder, the frill, the sash. We also felt the dress was just not red carpet material and better suited for an event at the beach or a daytime affair. Maybe if she had skipped that scarf around her waist and just let her choker be the star accessory.
We love a lady in red. But did both of them hit it out of the park with their crimson ensembles?
It was nice to see Mawra steer away from pastels and light colours and up the oomph factor with heavier eye make-up than usual. That's twice in a row now she's impressed us on the Hum Style Awards red carpet. Personally we would have picked a different clutch but hey, it's not make or break.
Anam Malik's trench coat dress with a slit, coupled with that sleek fringe hairdo and sultry bronze make-up was one of our favourite looks from the night. It was unexpected, sexy and sophisticated.
An unexpected alternative to the good ol' suit, you don't have to be a rapper or a grandpa to rock one of these. Takes a bit more thought than your basic black/blue/grey suit but if you get it right, it's classic and bold all at once.
That being said, we think OB came out on top here; he didn't win Most Stylish Actor (FIlm) for nothing! The actor looked quirky but also quite dapper.
We felt like Shahzad Noor's three-piece suit was a little OTT and it looked like he hadn't put much thought into anything else other than the clothes.
Winner: Osman Khalid Butt, duh.
We called it: borrowed from the boys, pant-suits are back in a big way. They look luxe AND they make you look like you mean business.
We honestly couldn't pick between these two, except maybe we were leaning slightly towards Nausheen Shah's look, because we love a little sparkle and prefer the bootcut.
If one of the biggest award nights of the year doesn't call for a ball gown, we don't know what does!
While both actors brought their A-game, we think Ayesha Omar takes the lead just by a little by channeling that old school glam (after all, retro classy was the theme for the night!).
Winner: Ayesha Omar
Syra and Saheefa went all orange for their looks at the HSAs. We love the change from lady in red and can't help but commend them for taking the challenge of such a bold colour. Seriously, oranges are difficult!
We love the pearls on Syra's suit but that's about it. The suit's asymmetrical style made her whole look appear lopsided and the cut-out was not the most flattering.
Saheefa's look was more put together as she topped off her suit with a blazer over her shoulders. The vibrant orange also looked more solid, probably because of the lack of odd cuts.
If it weren't for the colour, we'd have sworn Shaneira and Saba were twinning!
Both wore dresses from Shehla Chatoor which featured a hip-hugging silhouette dress ending in a flare of ruffles.
Saba's pastel tea-pink dress featured an embroided top with a hint of gold. While the colour is not one of our faves, we loved how Saba was pulling her look off with an air of confidence. Also, the rather tame top made way for the mermaid like finish at the bottom.
Shaneira's dress seemed to be a bit much with a poncho style top full of tassles and glitter. Because the dress was black, the look was saved but that doesn't mean it couldn't have been improved. We don't mind though, Shaneira's smile distracted us anyway!
Winner: Saba Qamar
Saris definitely had their moment at the Hum Style Awards.
Tooba's Umar Sayeed sari-pant featured just the right amount of detailing, enough to keep us interested but not so much that we'd want to look away. She made the smart choice to keep her accessories minimal; with a fairly busy sari who needs bling?
Sonya Hussayn's deconstructed sari ensemble from Studio S was similarly intriguing. The bold slashes of black on the sari could have overpowered Sonya, but paired with a simple blouse and unfussy hair the entire look worked. Oh and bonus points for those killer abs!
Both Mira Sethi and Bilal Abbas' outfits featured colourblocking. Unfortunately, neither had the intended effect.
The awkward length of Mira's dress didn't do justice to her tall frame, and coupled with a zipped neckline and boxy sleeves we felt there was too much going on to let any one element shine.
Bilal Abbas too could have benefitted from a less-is-more approach. Sometimes it's ok to let a suit just be a suit.
The beautiful OST — written by Sabir Zafar, composed by Sahir Ali Bagga and sung by Ayma Baig and Sahir — sets a romantic mood for a rather unusual story that tackles immigration, loneliness of senior family members and workplace harrassment. Shakeel is simply delightful in the role of an endearing senior who meets the Katrina Kaif-lookalike Seher Afzal, playing the angelic Haniya, in the park he frequents. A situation arises whereby he brings her home as a paying guest and an intriguing love triangle develops between her, his son and daughter-in-law (Noman Ijaz and Iffat Omar). On the other hand, Noor-ul-Hassan playing a horrid man who physically and verbally abuses his wife and daughters makes you absolutely hate him. A great cast and Zaifar Mairaj’s absorbing screenplay definitely takes away those Monday blues.
Gumraah | Hum TV, Mon-Tue 9.10pm
Seriously? So now an off-beat American Beauty (1999)-inspired storyline will be presented as family drama genre? The screenplay by Malik Khudabaksh and Faisal Rehman looks rather dishy as daddy Sarmad who falls for his daughter Faryal’s (the gorgeous Komal Aziz Khan) bubbly friend Huma played by young actor Hina Altaf (Zebu of Udaari). She is doing a fabulous job in the challenging role of a gold-digger opposite a seasoned actor such as Faisal Rehman. Complications arise as their relationship progresses and he eventually discovers that Huma’s love is not for him but his wealth and status.
Baaghi | Urdu1, Thursday 8.00pm
If there ever were a role that only Saba Qamar could do justice to, it is the role of Fauzia Batool in Baaghi, loosely based on the life of Qandeel Baloch. With Umera Ahmed’s plausible and realistic screenplay, Farooq Rind’s sensitive direction, Saba as the village belle transforms into a slick fashion model to discover the big, bad world of showbiz. From the tiniest nuances to her effortless Punjabi accent, Saba is consistently outstanding as her role sheds its many layers. Ali Kazmi (as the vicious Abid) and Khalid Malik (Gogi) are superb supports. When will Osman Khalid Butt make his much-awaited appearance in the serial and will he be a lucky charm for Fauzia Batool or just add to the list of evil men hounding her?
Saima Akram Chaudhry’s screenplay may have dragged a wee bit and Fahim Burney’s direction might have had a few flaws (people who shoot themselves in the head do not look as pretty as Hamdan Mustafa did with a red smudge on his temple), but the serial concluded on a strong note. Never before has the message of harassment of women resonated so crystal clear.
In the last episode one of the characters, an NGO worker called Mrs Rehmani, points out to the protagonist Salwa (Sohai Ali Abro) that only a few women know that on January 29, 2011, the Government of Pakistan had amended Article 509 of the constitution, making harassment of women a crime. Abro, by the way, carried off the role of the victim of such harrassment effortlessly. Meanwhile, Azfar Rehman as the villianous Hamdan Mustafa sizzled in his sequences with Ali Josh, the male lead, who yet again proved that he is a promising talent.
Boriyat Busters | Geo TV, Friday 6.30pm
What could be better for Ahsan Khan than hosting an exciting game show for kids, to show his versatility as well as do some repair to his image after his brilliant performance as the much-hated child molester in Udari. With the dearth of local content on TV for kids, Boriyat Busters comes a breath of fresh of air as the first season focuses on kids from Karachi.
The show kicks off with a colourful, larger-than-life set, animation, exciting prizes and lots of energy. There are shades of Legends of the Hidden Temple and Takeshi’s Castle fused together with Khan’s own desi touch. Appearances by Mawra Hocane, Humayun Saeed, Shoaib Malik, Younus Khan, Sajal Ali and Ayesha Omar promise to add glitz to the show. — Fouzia Nasir Ahmad
Published in Dawn, ICON, October 22nd, 2017