ISLAMABAD: I have lived in Islamabad for the past two decades and have found the city to be serene and beautiful. Yet, in recent months I have been witness to an alarming increase in the practice of defacing of billboards that feature female models.
On my daily commute to the office, at the F-10 roundabout near McDonalds, a couple of billboards had been defaced as they featured female models. However, now this practice has reached alarming proportions. A group of hooligans had the audacity to tear up almost all billboards featuring lawn ads at the Jinnah Avenue on the Blue Area road. As if tearing up the billboards was not enough, the hooligans also left a message in red paint: fahashi, bayhayi band karo. There was nothing on the billboards which could be deemed vulgar, but for our country’s fanatics just having a woman’s picture in a public place is considered vulgar enough.
The authorities concerned need to take notice of this practice and must put a stop to this. The people of Islamabad need to raise their voices too. Also, advertisers must not bow down to the pressure put on them by these obscurantist forces. We cannot allow a bunch of fanatics to take us hostage and spread their message of hate and destruction.
Umayr Sahlan Masud
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2012.