It is not every day that we see stars showing up on the streets in the city to show their support towards social causes. Although it is not something new for celebrities to be brave in the public domain, it certainly feels like the turnout has seen an uptick over the recent years.
While some celebrities offer relatively empty seeming gestures, with social media certainly making it easy for them to offer their thoughts and prayers regarding any tragedy, others have shown more practical ways to show their support for certain causes. The physical presence of celebrities in any real-life protests meaningfully contributes and offers much more to the cause than their carefully vetted PR sanctioned social media posts.
Here are some of the causes which had the celebrities showing up personally to show their support towards.
Karachi rain disaster protest
The recent record-breaking rain lashed the metropolis and the resulting damages caused to the infrastructure of the city affected all civilians of the city. Many celebrities who call the city of lights their home slammed the authorities for the mishandling of the flood crisis. Showbiz stars Feroze Khan, Sarwat Gilani, Fahad Mirza, Yasir Hussain, Frieha Altaf, and Maheen Khan gathered in the gardens of Frere Hall for a peaceful protest demanding to restore the basic amenities and facilities for the city’s residents.
The brutal case of rape and murder of innocent Zainab struck a raw nerve and incited widespread protests and outrage in 2018. Popular celebrities among the protestors were Mahira Khan, Hina Bayat, and Sanam Saeed who had gathered at the Karachi press club and held placards to demand justice and measures to end child abuse. The nationwide public outrage at the case led to the passing of Pakistan’s first national child abuse law as the ‘Zainab Alert Bill’ directing that any individual found guilty of child abuse would face a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
Yet another bold step by Pakistani celebrities as they stood outside the country’s top court to demanding a ban on Indian content in 2018. The protest was initiated by UPA’s (United Producer’s Association) tweet stating that the Cheif Justice of Pakistan should take notice of the excessive foreign content being aired on Pakistani channels. They further proposed that only 10% of foreign content shall be allowed to be broadcast. Many prominent film and drama artists such as Faysal Qureshi, Aijaz Aslam, Wajahat Rauf, Adnan Siddiqui, Samina Ahmed, Noman Masood, and many others stepped forward to support the stance.
Pakistan has been listed as the seventh most endangered country to be affected by climate change. Our celebrities addressed the climate emergency and gathered together for the citizen-led first-ever Climate March of Pakistan in 2019. Celebrities like Sanam Saeed, Shahzad Roy, Shaniera Akram, Ali Rehman, Saboor Aly, and many others took to Frere Hall and raised their concerns about the deteriorating climate change.
Celebrities honored PM Imran Khan’s initiative to take part in ‘Kashmir Hour’ to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people against Indian oppression and curfew in 2019. Stars like Hareem Farooq, Faysal Qureshi, Fakhr-e-Alam, Bilal Ashraf, Shahid Afridi, and Ahmed Shahzad came out in support at different landmarks in their respective cities. They also encouraged fans and followers on social media to raise their voice against injustice.
In spite of having a large social media following, celebrities are stepping out and participating in protests and that surely sends out a positive message all across. Being in the limelight fetches great outcomes when celebrities turn activists and take the cause a step ahead.