To live in a digital era and come out on the top of controversies is not a no man’s land in Pakistan. The social media was introduced as the absolute power for every individual whereas it has become a forbidden fruit of the Garden of Eden which arouses temptation but actually results in expulsion. Hareem Shah, another girl who is riding on the waves of popularity all across Pakistan and beyond the borders for her obstinate and histrionic behavior, is turning into another promising media star of Pakistan. Does it ring a bell about someone who also rose above the mainstream Pakistani society but ended up dead? Yes, Qandeel Baloch.
Qandeel Baloch was highlighted for her ‘illustrious sins’ in the revolutionizing era of social media in Pakistan when she sparked controversies in the conserved and deep culturally-rooted society. Sadly, Qandeel was asphyxiated in her sleep by her own blood for the sake of honor, and till date, it still raises a question that where is the honor in killing a human being? The staple ground of her murder was actually shadowed under the debate about feminism, honor killing and her bold-cum-courageous personality, sliding aside the mentality of this society which perceives the whole nine yards as they see fit.
Hareem Shah posing as an indistinguishable and evolving manifestation of Qandeel Baloch is walking on not exact but similar kind of path in the dark abyss of our hidebound-community. Hareem has been in the spotlight since her viral and controversial TikTok video in one of the elite governmental offices which raised a plethora of questions on credibility of the nerve centre of diplomatic activities, Foreign Ministry, which is a separate debate on its own. Holding the FO liable of ‘media star’ intrusion, the media of this country has been riding Hareem on the horizon ever since. From calling her on number of TV shows to underlining her every little and personal activity; whether it’s aerial firing or hanging around with the politicians like Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed and Punjab’s Minister for Colonies Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chohan.
People start digging into the past and related performances when someone becomes the center of attention with such controversial and I-own-the-room attitude. It is just the start where Hareem Shah’s fooling around the swimming pool and firing shots wearing a ‘culturally-vulgarized’ top is garnering prominence all over the media, and that day is not far when she will be seen featuring into an official show, movie or a music video for her hyped up aura which will start the dawn of another Qandeel Baloch.
In the ever-developing media industry of Pakistan, each and every one of the star or star-in-making, be it a man or woman, is challenging the restrained traditional values of the society and quite frankly, majority of this nation is not prepared to welcome the change with open arms. As tempting as the easy and serene route seems, an intensified plight will be bestowed upon a person.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many are those who enter by it.”
Baloch also chose to ramble on the wide and broad gate of stardom which eventually led to her destruction as same is the case with Hareem Shah who is inadvertently savoring the propagandized adoration.
Could Shah’s fiery pace on this winding and dangerous path be the pretext of her downfall? The real question arises here is that if it really is the ‘bold’ and ‘vulgar’ school of thoughts of a Pakistani woman or is it the psyche of our society which result in the honor killing and shaming of our women.