Young model’s arrest
JUST weeks after #Arrest The Couple Made headlines all over social media, one of the ‘Gender Jihad activists’, Zulfiqar Mannan, was reportedly arrested by the Koral Town Islamabad police on 24 August.
The police registered a case under Section 294 which holds that any person guilty of unethical deeds, vulgar words or songs in public is eligible for being levied, incarcerated or both. Paradoxically, checking my Twitter as of late, #FreeZulfi was among the top most-tweeted hashtags in Pakistan.
To recap, the controversial photo shoot that triggered mass censure illustrated two band members from ‘Mystical Shayari’ who stood in an unethical attire upfront Quaid’s portrait, alongside Islamabad Expressway, with the slogans ‘Unity, Faith, Discipline’.
What further inflamed public disapprobation was that the notorious photoshoot was titled ‘unity faith disco’ on Instagram.
Initially on 3 August, the plaintiff, Rashid Malik, filed an FIR accusing the duo for disrespecting the Father of the Nation.
The ‘bold’ photo shoot was exposed to the public after the Islamabad-based journalist, Ansar Abbasi, took on to Twitter and requested Deputy Commissioner (DC), Hamza Shafqaat to arrest the delinquents for promoting “obscenity”.
DC took a swift action as a response. Soon the official page and the accounts of the models were deactivated.
Prior to shutting down, Mystical Shayari addressed the counterblast via online posts. They alleged that they were receiving “hate messages, death threats and transphobic ridicule”.
In their defence, they were the representatives of the minor white segment of the National Flag of Pakistan; as such they had a right of freedom to pay “homage to values” of Pakistan.
They alleged that male patriarchal mindset was the root of all evils that had caused injustices to Noor, Qandeel and transpired various rapes and murders.
Hence, the promo shoot was an attempt to play their part in the fight against masculinity and spiritual decay.
While close friends and associates have disclosed that Zulfiqar has been released on bail and has been advised to go into hiding to avoid public scrutiny, the truth has yet to be confirmed.
Zulfiqar is reportedly a brilliant graduate student of Yale with an English major and interest in gender and arts.
The female model, Casey, however is still not arrested. The aforementioned incident manifested in two opposing camps — those sensitized by unorthodox expression as a national embarrassment, while others promoters of freedom of expression. In my opinion, the matter is too trivial to be at loggerheads with each other.
The nation must ponder whether it is rational to arrest minors on such aberrant behaviours? Although the actions are culturally inappropriate, but is it the right solution to arrest eccentric youngsters instead of guiding them? The need of the hour is for the government to revisit their priorities.
Therefore, the government must shift their focus on empowering the youth to curtail unemployment, illiteracy, crime, drug abuse, mental illness and similar inconveniences.
Undoubtedly, strengthening and educating our youth is the key to a prosperous and developed Pakistan.
—The writer has completed her BSc in Politics and International Relations from University of London.