Is PEMRA’s Ban of Drama Hadsa Justified?

Hadsa Ban

PEMRA’s ban of Hadsa has come after protests, legal notices, and social media drama. The ideation of Hadsa was a bold step on part of the directors. Showing a crime as traumatic as rape on national television is no mean feat, and the makers deserve praise and adulation for it. However, there were certain aspects where they fell short.

As we process the ban on the drama, it is time that we look at the intricate details of the verdict by PEMRA and understand whether it was in fact justified.

Is The Drama Actually Similar to The Accident?

The drama’s ban also raises questions on whether it was actually meant to be similar to the Motorway incident. Wajahat Rauf, Hadiqa Kiani and other associated members have all denied claims that the drama was based on the said incident.

In fact, if we are to be fair and reasonable, the drama was not at all marketed as a depiction of the incident. None of the cast members spoke of any similarities to the incident, which would in fact have increased ratings if not do anything else.

Also, it is to be noted that no criticism on the lines of the story being based on the motorway debacle was directed towards the drama until Fereeha Idrees made a post on it. Thus, not many viewers were able to comprehend the similarities on first view.

Once the evidence was available, the bandwagon of criticism started and many viewers were able to see the similarities, calling into question the integrity and purpose of the makers.

Was PEMRA’s Verdict Justified?

With all evidence present to us, the leading reason presented by PEMRA for banning the drama was ‘highly inappropriate content that did not depict the true picture of Pakistani society‘.

Elaborating further, the notice reads, “Furthermore, the public is of the opinion 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.”

If we do read between the lines, PEMRA believes that public opinion regarding the drama triggering the victim was one of the reasons. However, emphasis in the statement above is also placed on the country’s image being tarnished because of said depiction.

Our Verdict

Amidst all this, we find ourselves at a crossroad. The primary reason for banning the drama is due to its depiction of Pakistani society. But, since the drama, if based on the Motorway incident, shows true events as they happened, why does PEMRA feel the need to regulate or rather choke the documentation of crime?

We do see documentaries, series, and Netflix content on serial killers in America, rape victims in India and much more, without regulatory authorities worrying about the depiction of said country’s society.

However, we also find it difficult to believe that the makers weren’t aware of what they were doing. The victim should have been contacted during the process of ideation and eventual plans of the drama should have been discussed with them. A signed waiver would have been even better.

In short, we do find ourselves agreeing with PEMRA’s verdict. Perhaps the best course of action was to ban Hadsa. But not for the reasons they have mentioned. The Pakistani society is what it is. It is not perfect. It does have crime. And a depiction of all the good, without spotlighting the evil, will only lead to ignorance; which we already have enough of.


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