Jang carried an ad featuring Nargis Fakhri. Then all hell broke loose
- A Mobilink ad featuring Nargis Fakhri on Pak paper Jang has raised a stink
- Senior Pakistani journalist Ansar Abbasi calls the ad obscene and absurd
- Other Pakistani newspapers refuse to carry the Mobilink advertisement
More in story
- Pakistani actress Veena Malik went nude on the cover of FHM India magazine in 2011
- Pakistani journalist Mehr Tarar wonders why there is selective outrage over this ad
What happens when Nargis Fakhri appears sprawled across the front-page of Pakistan's Urdu newspaper Jang in a figure-hugging long red dress?
The year's most popular emotion, outrage, that's what.
About Islam. About women's rights. About advertising ethics.
Pakistani readers soaked in the Bollywood actor's curves long enough to miss that fully-clothed Fakhri was actually advertising the services of mobile operator Mobilink.
First in the frenzy
The first to scream 'obscene' on social media was Ansar Abbasi, a senior journalist who works for the Jang Group that carried the ad on Sunday morning.
And he took to Outrage Central, Twitter, to vent.
"My strong protest to top Jang group management for this absurd front page ad in today's Jang."
Comments poured in.
Accusing the advertisers of "dirtying the newspaper", making it "look like Playboy", "today they have put Nargis' image. Tomorrow they will show Sunny Leone".
A couple of sane voices defended the ad. Some in jest. Some in right earnest.
Fasi Zaka, Pakistani columnist, tweeted:
Ansar Abbasi looked long, and hard, to determine that Nargis Fakhri was haraam. Bless him, he has looked at the.https://t.co/Ex4Mh3sec5- Fasi Zaka (@fasi_zaka) December 21, 2015
Mehr Tarar, another progressive Pakistani journalist, tweeted:
Object to ALL ads/item numbers/regressive portrayal of women in films/tv. Why this selective outrage over Nargis Fakhri's ad?- Mehr Tarar (@MehrTarar) December 21, 2015
By Monday, most Pakistani newspapers refused to carry the Mobilink advertisement.
"Learnt that Mobilink has been told by different newspapers that they can't take its absurd ad anymore. Alhamdulillah our protest worked," one person said.
The more cynical argued the purpose had been met.
"Woke up to find every 2nd person on my T/L tweeting that Nargis Fakhri front page ad. Offensive or not, advertiser's mission accomplished"
Fakhri, who is half-Pakistani, half-Czech, seemed confused.
"@TariqEllahi just saw this ad and thought what's all the fuss about? It's creative very different."
However, in a later statement she said, "As a model or celebrity, I have always believed in using my persona to help further a brand's communication but never to have it used where I end up being objectified for my looks." "Culturally too, my team and I are aware and respectful of what visuals work for which mediums, markets and audiences and hence, given the brand's firm penetration in the Pakistani market, we left it up to their expertise to use the images appropriately."
She's not the first to find herself the subject of Pak censure.
Pakistani actress Veena Malik, best known for her participation on Indian reality show Bigg Boss, was at the centre of a controversy in 2011 when she featured nude on the cover of FHM India magazine, sporting a tattoo with the words ISI on her arm.
She claimed the picture had been morphed. Nonetheless, she received death threats from the Taliban. Fakhri's, whose father was Pakistani, said in an interview with the BBC that she wanted to travel to Pakistan to gorge on "delicious Pakistani treats".
Public approval certainly won't be one of them.