Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has taken decisive action to restrict the broadcast of the TV serial “Hadsa,” which was believed to be centered around the 2020 motorway gang rape case.
The regulatory body for television in the country responded to mounting criticism as the show was perceived to draw inspiration from the harrowing incident that garnered global attention. This tragic event involved the sexual assault of a woman near Lahore by two men in front of her children.
The spark for the regulatory intervention came after advocate Khadija Siddiqi formally lodged a complaint, echoing the sentiments of the outraged public. In response, PEMRA instructed Geo TV to halt the airing of the controversial drama.
The formal complaint was prompted by the public’s outcry against the show, given its thematic resemblance to the distressing real-life occurrence that deeply affected the nation. In a bid to address the issue, the victim of the rape sought legal advice, and her legal representatives subsequently engaged with PEMRA to request the cessation of the broadcast.
PEMRA, in its notice, acknowledged the numerous complaints it received from concerned viewers about the drama’s plot and theme. Criticisms centered around the drama’s apparent resemblance to the actual incident that transpired on the Lahore-Sialkot Motorway.
The general consensus was that depicting such a grave crime not only revives the trauma of the unfortunate victim but also has the potential to damage the country’s international reputation. There were concerns that global audiences might perceive Pakistan as an unsafe environment for women.
PEMRA unequivocally labeled the storyline of “Hadsa” as highly inappropriate and distressing. The regulatory body stated that the portrayal was far from an accurate representation of Pakistani society and promptly banned the show under Section 27 of the Pemra Ordinance, 2002, as amended by the Pemra (Amendment) Act 2007.