Veena Malik: Why I love to hate and hate to love her

I’m constantly trying to assess if she is a daring feminist or a glorified porn star? Is she unbelievably smart?

Saba Khalid July 15, 2012
My fascination and repulsion with Veena started while I was working for the Life and Style pages. Our reporters would get the barest whiff of Veena – whether it was a broken meaningless sentence from her or some sleazy pictures that had appeared online - they’d pass it on to us. Sub-editors, like myself, would pad it up (some reluctantly others gladly) and make it into a full blown story. Within just a few seconds of uploading it, it would go viral - much to my dismay!

At the time, it seemed wrong, unethical and a bit like cheap reporting. Six months later, I’m no longer working on the Life and Style pages, but I’m the first one to click on anything Veena on the website. And that’s what Veena does – like a fungus – she grows on you. She worms her way into your mind. She hynotises you into believing that what she says is prolific and has to be heard. She’s even convinced the rest of the world that she is a Pakistani power player. And I have to hand to her – she’s more recognised throughout the world than the Quaid himself. (I can’t believe I made a reference to Quaid Azam in the same article about Veena, he might be rolling in his grave right now)

As you can see the repulsion that I had for her has now turned into a state of confusion, maybe even a dire state of fascination. I’m constantly trying to assess if she is a daring feminist or a glorified porn star? Is she making inroads for Pakistani women or just shackling them as mere objects to be entertained by?  Is she serious or is she laughing at us all for buying into all that she does? Is she unbelievably smart or just plain attention seeking?

And while I’m trying to come up with answers, and thinking think that she might not be able to top herself (pun intended), she turns around and takes it all down with a new stunt. She even knows how to one-up, her one-ups. I’m sure even Ali Gul Pir would agree that she’s the ultimate ‘Saeen’.

In her series of one-upping herself, the latest will be her show on Hero TV.  Not in my wildest imagination did I ever imagine her appearing on TV begging for her sins. Sins she had once proudly proclaimed weren’t sins after all.

But when Veena sells more than the mangoes of the country, it makes you wonder if there is something seriously wrong with our national consciousness. When we barely have time for our jobs, ourselves, our families, how can we have the time to ingest everything she does? When we have enough political and social issues that can be discussed at dinner tables and in drawing rooms, how come we always end up settling on Veena’s latest cover, fight, TV show?

And why, in God’s name, do I keep clicking on every Veena story?!

It seems there’s nothing wrong with Veena – but there’s definitely something wrong with us.

Read more by Saba here.
Saba Khalid A blogger for Rolling Stone magazine, a contributor to Kulturaustauch and Musikexpres, Saba is an Institute for Foreign Affairs (IFA) Cross Culture scholar for the year 2012 who also teaches creative writing to young aspiring writers. She blogs at and can be found on instagram as @thecityalive
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Henna | 11 years ago | Reply There is something went with us
Passive | 11 years ago | Reply I think she knows what sells and knows how to market herself well. And won't stop at anything to get her way. So she's conniving, less smart. We're the ones who are stupid for falling for it all
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