In a country where a much-need discussion regarding marital rape and the concept of consent has just started to pick up, it comes as no surprise that people are unaware about the relevant laws.
Iqra Aziz and Imran Ashraf’s Ranjha Ranjha Kardi is being praised for highlighting such tabooed issues.
While Imran’s character, the innocent Bhola, has won quite a few hearts, Iqra as Noor Bano (Noori) is headstrong and willful.But not everyone is happy with that.
Makers of the show have received severe backlash for allegedly normalising marital rape in recent episodes.
“You know what is more disturbing about Ranjha Ranjha Kardi? People coming up with reasons to defend what Bhola is doing to Noori. Like no. There is NO JUSTIFICATION for rape. No girl deserves to live in such a toxic relationship just because her husband is mentally ill,” a user named Aliya tweeted.
“I’m so disappointed with how disgusting Ranjha Ranjha Kardi is right now. A couple of weeks ago, Bhola’s character was so lovable and now, what they are showing is so disturbing. Hats off to Iqra for doing this extremely challenging role but what they’re showing is so wrong,!” added Farah.
“Ranjha Ranjha Kardi is progressing into a new level of awfulness. Are we ever going to find out what is wrong with Bhola? Sahir is a garbage person. Chacha and Chachi are the worst and I’m totally pissed with Bhola’s mum acting like Noori is her son’s new toy to play with,” a disgruntled fan named Farzana commented.
What Iqra has to say:
While there hasn’t been an official statement from the producers, Iqra has finally responded to the uproar on social media. Taking to Instagram, she shared the scene in question and wrote, “One of the most pressing issues today that we don’t talk about is that we think of marriage as a binding contract to anything and everything. But marriage is based on trust and love and consent.”
“Consent to live, to breathe, to be able to say no. I hope Noori and Bhola live happily ever after and let’s see how Noori tackles all the problems and Sahir in this situation.”
In episode 20, Bhola, a mentally impaired person, assaults his wife, Noori, under the influence of heavy medications. While the aforementioned scene concluded with a traumatised Noori, the real problem unfolded later.
Bhola’s mother tries to justify the assault as Bhola returns to ‘normalcy.’
The big question:
What’s left to see is how the writers plan on tackling the situation. While television and film are powerful mediums that can shed light on taboo topics, we hope Ranjha Ranjha Kardi can take on the mammoth task and educate the audience regarding marital rape.
According to Pakistan’s Penal Code 375, rape is defined as, “A man is said to commit rape who has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the five following descriptions:
1. Against her will.
2. Or without her consent
3. With her consent, when the consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt
4. With her consent, when the man knows that he is not married to her and that the consent is given because she believes that the man is another person to whom she is or believes herself to be married; or
5. With or without her consent when she is under sixteen years of age.
However, while talking to The Express Tribune, lawyer Asad Rahim Khan stated that any sort of rape would come under the same context, regardless if a man is married to the woman or not. It would still be tried in the court of law under the same law.
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