TV anchor draws flak for saying 'women can play harassment card as they like'

'Unfortunate to see a senior anchor trivialise a serious issue, mock complainants like this,' Reema Omar pointed out

Entertainment Desk May 28, 2019

Pakistani talk shows often come under scrutiny for their questionable ways. Whether it is a morning show snafu or a heated political debate, statements that caught the attention of the audience for all the wrong reasons are a common occurrence in the industry.

While people have called out several talk show hosts for various reasons before, the most recent journalist to irk them is Kashif Abbasi. His show, Off The Record, recently hosted PPP Leader Shazia Marri and the panel was engaged in a discussion about the leaked tapes of NAB Chairman.

Marri pointed out that the leaked tapes could indicate harassment, prompting Abbasi to claim "women can cause hue and cry and call everything harassment."

"Shor nahi daaltay hum harassment ka, harassment hoti hai (We don't just make a commotion about harassment, harassment actually happens). For God's sake, I thought you're a sensitised man but I'm having my doubts today," Marri responded.

But that didn't stop Abbasi. "You women always play the victim card."

"We play the 'victim card' because we are victimised. To be very honest, we're living in a society, in fact a world, where women are more vulnerable," the PPP leader added.

This statement has upset many.

"Kashif Abbasi’s response to Shazia Marri’s point that NAB chairman’s video could show harassment: “Aap auraton ke liye bohot aasaan hai shor daalna (it's very easy for women to cause havoc) Harassment! harassment! harassment!” Unfortunate to see a senior anchor trivialise a serious issue, mock complainants like this," legal adviser Reema Omar pointed out.

Another journalist, Haseem shared Reema's stance and commented, "On one hand, we've anchors like Shahzeb Khanzada, who understands consent and calls out misogynistic comments. On the other hand, we have Kashif Abbasi, who thinks harassment claims are fake and women just "scream 'harassment, harassment, harassment'!"

Author Bina Shah added, "You're really expecting respect and compassion from Kashif Abbasi?"

A Twitter user, Aaliya Javed shared, "In a society where even a slight sound only leads to character assassination of a woman and misery, it's not asaan but extremely difficult to come forward and thus, the majority never does. Thanks to Kashif Abbasi and the likes it only actually becomes asaan for men to harass."

Another user commented, "Kashif Abbasi's continuous rant is evidence of the fact that even the most educated and so-called liberals can be harassers. Harassment is real and it happens everywhere, be it parliament or in the market."

"Kashif Abbasi in another show refused to talk on the issue calling it a 'personal matter'. I wonder what's his definition of sexual misconduct really is?" asked a user named Aadil.

"Men are scared. They can't wrap their heads around the fact that women are speaking up and harassers are being exposed. Wonder why Kashif Abbasi is terrified though. Did you also harass someone?" wrote journalist Sindhu Abbasi.

In a country where the legal system is still struggling to figure out harassment laws, such statements by a reputed public figure only adds unnecessary fire to the fuel. Here's hoping better narrative prevails.

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