Despite how it may be portrayed to the world, Pakistan and its television dramas have become increasingly progressive, tackling taboo topics and exploring social issues that were once considered too sensitive to be broadcasted on mainstream television. Dramas have become an important tool for initiating conversations and promoting acceptance and equality, and slowly brought many topics into the limelight, like never before!
From not only been entertaining but also helping spark much-needed conversations about sensitive topics, Diva explores those Pakistani dramas that took social issues head-on…
Khuda Mera Bhi Hai
Airing on ARY Digital in 2016, the drama directed by Shahid Shafaat brought the topic of intersexuality to the mainstream. Exploring the story of a couple who give birth to an intersex child, and narrating the stigma and discrimination faced by intersex individuals in society, the drama gave a much-needed platform to topics of gender – which to this date, are polarising issues. With a cast that included Aisha Khan, Jibran Syed, and Saba Hameed, Khuda Mera Bhi Hai pushed the boundaries of what is considered ‘normal’ and highlighted the importance of acceptance.
One of the biggest sleeper hits of the Pakistani television industry, Ehteshamuddin’s Udaari aired on Hum TV in 2016, and tackled the sensitive topic of child sexual abuse. The drama follows the story of a young girl who becomes a victim of this heinous crime. With a cast that included Bushra Ansari, Farhan Saeed, and Urwa Hocane, Udaari shed light on the struggles that survivors of sexual abuse face, and the importance of speaking out!
A unique mini-series that took a variety of issues faced by women and made it come into the light, Aakhri Station was a successful attempt by ARY Digital in 2018 to expand their horizons. Directed by Sarmad Khoosat, the drama focused on the struggles faced by women in Pakistan, and followed the lives of seven women who are all traveling on a train to their respective destinations with each having an issue to narrate – from HIV to mental health. With a lead cast that included Sanam Saeed, Mikaal Zulfiqar, and Nimra Bucha, Aakhri Station highlighted the issues that women face in a society that often suppresses their voices.
A poignant story that took television by storm, Rubina Ashraf’s Ruswai aired on ARY Digital in 2019 and tackled the issue of rape and its impact on the victim and their family. The drama shed light on the victim-blaming that often takes place in Pakistani society and starred Sana Javed, Mikaal Zulfiqar, and Seemi Raheel. The show proved to be an eye-opener to the world of survivors and how our society tends to treat them.
A drama that we wished had gotten more attention than it did, Sammi aired on Hum TV in 2017 and was directed by Saife Hassan. This drama tackled the issue of vani (forced marriage) in Pakistan – which despite people denying still continues to be a heinous act shrouded in alleged tradition! It followed the story of a young girl who is forced to marry her cousin to settle a family dispute. With a cast that included Mawra Hocane, Adnan Siddiqui, and Sania Saeed, Sammi shed light on the issue of forced marriages and the impact they have on young girls, and truly showed the dark underbelly of Pakistani society.
Which drama with a social message did you like? Tell us in the comment section below.