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Pakistani society needs to wake up to reality and act, says Saba Qamar

The Hindi Medium actress broke down while recalling the humiliation she had to undergo at an East European airport.

Mayur Lookhar

Saba Qamar, a popular face in the Pakistani entertainment space, made an impressive debut in Hindi cinema last year with the superhit film Hindi Medium opposite Irrfan Khan.

The actress broke down in a video interview with a Pakistani channel recently while recalling her horror at Tbilisi airport in Georgia, one of the erstwhile republics of the Soviet Union.

The incident had occurred when Saba Qamar arrived in the Georgian capital to shoot for a song for Hindi Medium.

The actress was appearing on the A Plus network to express her grief and anger at the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Lahore, Punjab.

She was in tears while talking about the horrific crime and used the occasion to question where Pakistani society and polity are headed. In this context, she pointed out that the world at large has a very poor opinion of Pakistanis.

“We chant Pakistan zindabad, but when we travel abroad the way we are frisked, I can’t tell you," Saba Qamar said. "I feel humiliated when you are... (gestures how she was frisked). I remember, I went to Tbilisi for our shooting. My Indian crew had long left, but I was stopped, my passport was taken, they conducted a thorough investigation, interviewed me at length and only then I was allowed to leave. That day I realized the respect that we [Pakistanis] have abroad.”

Returning to the subject of the rape, the Hindi Medium actress urged women in Pakistan to teach their daughters to defend themselves.

"Tomorrow, if a robber or a rapist enters my house, I will not wait for the police, I will take action," she said. "I’m a fighter. I appeal to all to please wake up. If you sense something wrong is happening around you, act against it. Tomorrow if a man is beating his wife, don’t back away thinking it is their personal matter. I appeal to all mothers to train their daughters, tell them to slap someone who is touching them inappropriately. If we don’t act, all this will never end.”

Watch Saba Qamar’s emotional message below: