After facing intense public backlash for several days, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has swiftly prohibited the immediate broadcast and rebroadcast of the television drama series “Hadsa.” This decision comes in the midst of widespread criticism and public outcry over the drama’s alleged portrayal of the Motorway rape case.
The official notice titled “Inappropriate Content/Theme of Drama Serial ‘Hadsa'” was filed after Barrister Khadija Siddiqi, Advocate High Court, submitted a complaint through Barrister Muhammad Ahmed Pansota, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, invoking action under Section 27 of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002.
The drama’s plot, which seemingly drew from the sensitive incident, although refuted by actor Hadiqa Kiani and showrunner Wajahat Rauf, ignited a surge of public discontent. Numerous viewers took to PEMRA’s official Twitter account to voice concerns about the potential of the drama exacerbating the trauma of the victim.
In response to these concerns, PEMRA conducted an assessment of the drama series. The regulatory body noted that the narrative of “Hadsa” was “extremely inappropriate, distressing, and not an accurate representation of Pakistani society.” The notice also stated, “Furthermore, the public believes that depicting such a heinous act will not only retrigger the trauma of the unfortunate victim but will also tarnish the global perception of Pakistan, potentially portraying the country as an unsafe place for women.”
According to the notice released by PEMRA, “The immediate broadcast/rebroadcast of the drama series ‘Hadsa’ is prohibited under Section 27 of the PEMRA Ordinance 2002, as amended by the PEMRA (Amendment) Act 2007. The matter is additionally being referred to the Council of Complaints to provide suitable recommendations to the Authority for a final verdict.”
A translation of a statement issued in Urdu by PEMRA stated, “The ban on ‘Hadsa’ underscores the commitment of authorities to uphold content quality that aligns with Pakistan’s cultural and ethical values. This action also serves as a reminder for broadcasters to maintain content standards and respect public sentiments.”
Moreover, “The decision of the Complaints Council will offer further insight into the fate of the drama series, considering the guidelines outlined in the PEMRA Act and the PEMRA Code of Conduct. This incident highlights the regulatory body’s role in overseeing and safeguarding Pakistan’s media landscape while upholding content standards.”