Renowned writer Khalil ur Rehman Qamar, who has penned a number of hit drama serials for Pakistani television, is under the spotlight for more than one reason lately. After the roaring success of drama serial Meray Paas Tum Ho which is his brainchild, the writer/director has also been in the news for his directorial debut Kaaf Kangana, which has garnered its fair share of criticism.
Now, KRQ seems to have landed himself in hot waters following a certain interview that has managed to go viral, owing to the explosive remarks made by him during the conversation. From declaring himself the biggest feminist in Pakistan to mansplaining the entire concept of equality, KRQ did not leave any stone unturned to ruffle some (read many) feathers.
Naturally, people are reacting on social media and it’s interesting, to say the least, to see the contrast in judgement and criticism being leveled at him. While some are calling him out for his problematic views, others are intent on rallying for his cause and presenting justifications and lengthy explanations for his tirade.
Here are some of the reactions off of Twitter and Facebook for context…
Khalil ur Rehman dude think before you open that mouth of yours. Your dialogues and writing might be deep but your mindset is disgusting af.#KhalilurRehmanQamar
— حمنہ? (@Kajolispyaar) October 31, 2019
"Man in Pakistan misses the point of feminism" Khalil Ur Rehman Qamar, writer of the most misogynistic scripts on Pakistani TV labels himself a feminist but only of "good women". WTH
— Akhwandk (@akhwandk) October 31, 2019
Khalil ur Rehman truly believes he is a progressive in Lollywood. ??♀️ #KhalilurRehmanQamar
— jami (@jamiazaad) November 1, 2019
Bhai kabi drama dekha hai khalil ur rehman sb ka?us me kbi lrki ka role dekha hai??un k hr drama me lrki ko strong dikhaya hai…us ne apni ik raye di hai bs…weli awam ab is k peechay pr gai hai
— Sheraz Tahir (@IkkTahir) November 1, 2019
Just listened khalil ur rehman’s interview.. ??????
— میثم (@meesumzafar) October 30, 2019
Now on to the interview and its fallacy itself…
“A man cannot say no. He just can’t. A good woman can.”
Yes, this is an actual statement by KRQ. No, he wasn’t being sarcastic. Yes, we’re just as taken aback and confused. Is he essentially saying that there are no good or bad men, even if they have no concept of consent or respect? And that a woman is ultimately responsible for bearing the burden of a man’s indiscretion?
Perhaps the biggest faux-pas of the interview was when he insinuated that if women want equality so bad, they should try and match up with men by kidnapping them, looting banks, and gang-raping men.
Although we’re shocked to no end by this statement, the only thing we love about it is how he effortlessly managed to convey that men, in fact are the root of these evils in our society at this moment. If these are the precedents that women must reach to be equal to men, let us just clarify that we’re better off without conquering them, thank you very much.
The writer also made many other questionable statements about women being the guardians of men’s love, loyalty and honor; women being confident when they cheat and men being hesitant/coy while doing the same; how only haya [modesty] and wafa [loyalty] make a woman beautiful and absolves a female of being a ‘woman’ if she is missing those traits, and so on…
Thanks to this interview, KRQ has revealed how most people in our society think; and the bigger question remains as to why this thinking still prevails, specially in an industry which is apparently vying to be progressive. And why do we still put such people on pedestals and refuse to hold them accountable?
Which reminds us of how KRQ knows that the most women can do about his views is tweet a 100 times, which will not affect him in any way. Yes, he says so himself in the same interview. “The most these feminist groups can do is chant slogans against me, tweet a few thousand tweets but that’s it! Women can’t do anything else,” he says, and we can’t fathom how he really sat there and thought it was okay in any way to be saying all these things, all at the same time.
One other interesting thing to note is the almost absolute silence from the industry itself (save a handful). Not long ago, veteran actor Firdous Jamal was demonized to no end by the industry for his ageist comments on Mahira Khan and her acting. While his views were problematic as well, the direct reaction from individuals in the industry took Mahira herself by surprise, so why is everyone choosing to stay quiet this time when KRQ’s comments are way more dangerous and damaging to not just the cause of women, but society at large?
People remarked, ‘He is a great writer, an asset to the industry’, yes, and that is supposed to absolve him of insinuating women to rape men in order to match up to them? Someone said: ‘He was probably drunk or high in the video, it seems’, and how is turning up to a scheduled interview like that okay in any way?
It is a sad time for the industry, and a sad time for society as a whole that people with such thoughts are in positions from where they can influence the entire population.