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Mahira Khan was recently seen in some photos online casually taking a smoke break with Ranbir Kapoor. The photos are from when she was in New York City. It is important to note here that these pictures were originally taken in July, when Ranbir Kapoor was filming for Sanjay Dutt biopic; but shit hit the fan in Pakistan these past few days when they finally came to light.

Mahira Ranbir White Dress

The pictures didn’t sit too well with Mahira’s large fan-base, much of whom still associates her actual personality with her on-screen character Khirad, from the serial Humsafar, which came out years ago. She was made the brunt of some very cruel trolling, with people actually asking if she was Muslim or not.

Now, let’s get a few points straight: firstly, Muslims in Pakistan love to question other people’s religiosity. Why don’t you bother taking a look in the mirror and questioning your own actions first? What makes you think you are an angel that walks this planet? The girl was taking a smoke break, for god’s sake! You know how many women smoke in Pakistan? No, you probably don’t because you most likely live under a rock and think all girls are either the Pakistani Muslim version of sati-savitri, or are the Non-Muslim version of Silk Smita. It’s very important to make this distinction for our Pakistani populace, by the way – Muslim vs Non-Muslim. For some reason, Pakistanis just cannot understand that Muslims around the world vary by and large with regards to their social life, how they interact with people, their lifestyle  – and that most of them actually go to parties, might do drugs occasionally, might even drink and smoke socially… because we’ve put ourselves on such a pedestal it’s hard to get off and impossible to stay on!

Let me bring this to your attention, because clearly most of you seem to have forgotten what her occupation is: Mahira Khan is an actress. An actor is someone who, by definition, pretends to be other characters/people for the purposes of entertainment and money! 

What she was wearing was her costume because she is playing a part in a movie. But that simple fact didn’t faze our audience one bit, because they went straight from worshiping Mahira’s fair feet to reviling her and abusing her for her disdain of our “culture, heritage and religion.” Funny, you all never seem to care about either of those things when you’re out there having the time of your lives! You will go to Rave parties and concerts, have nice “get-togethers” at the beach with your “friends”, but god forbid a random girl wears something slightly shorter than you think is permissible and is seen with a cigarette in her hand and the world will go into flame.

It is hilarious how truly messed up Pakistan’s priorities are, because we are literally in a state of war right now (a young Lt. Arsalan was martyred by a terrorist attack from inside Afghanistan while he was posted in Rajgal valley near the border on 23 Sept 2017 – pretty much around the same time the Mahira Khan controversy exploded), and all we can think about is what kind of dress a female actor was wearing while taking a smoke break. Get real, guys!

Here are some of the very real meltdowns that took place on twitter soon after the pictures were viral:

Some of the fans even went so far as to point out that marks on Mahira’s back, blaming Ranbir Kapoor (without any solid evidence). This disgusting and vicious gossip mill didn’t end soon, with most even predicting the end of her career. What most of these shocked fans don’t realize or care to remember, is that Mahira is an actor – which means she dresses the part of the characters she plays. Also, why is a girl smoking such a big deal? Lot’s of people do it all the time. Why is it that we only remember religion and social boundaries when we find actors doing things we find “uncultured” but would never dare to say the same for our friends and social circle?

The Glamour Industry (in both countries) decided to band together and support Mahira for the uncalled-for trolling the poor woman received., as did many other celebrities. Here are some of the awesome ways they banded together:

Political campaigner, Malaika Raza, was quick to point out that the issue was not the smoking,but rather that a woman had dared to be independent.

Actor Hamza Ali Abbasi defended Mahira from online critics and abuse by tweeting in support of the actress.

Ali Zafar wrote a poem in solidarity with Mahira, declaring that women have the right to make their own choices, just like men do. We couldn’t agree more, Ali!

Osman Khalid Butt, the Islamabad-based actor who became a sensation due to his hilarious YouTube videos, posted a picture of himself smoking with a male colleague, challenging the double standards that are so rampant in Pakistani society. The duo even copied the fashion choices of the original picture, with Butt smoking like Mahira, with his hand splayed out wide open, daring audiences to judge him.

Even American comedian Jeremy McLellan, who recently visited Pakistan, chimed in with some serious advice for  the morality brigade:


 And many others responded in solidarity of the actress: 

Even Ranbir Kapoor had to finally step in in her defense:

 And here is how Mahira herself reacted to the situation: classy and elegant. Preach, girl!

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