Once again, wherever Sharia experiences a resurgence or increases its encroachment upon a society, tolerance decreases, and harassment increases. Indeed, as also seen in Tunisia, a sense of entitlement to harass and mind others’ business emerges, even short of the formal establishment of morality police. “‘Are you married?’: Pakistani TV host dubbed the ‘vigil-auntie’ sacked after haranguing couples for ‘immoral behaviour’ in parks,” by Daniel Miller for the Daily Mail, January 30:
A Pakistani TV host has been sacked after an episode of her morning TV programme showed her ambushing young couples and demanding to know whether they were involved in immoral behavior.
Samaa TV host Maya Khan was filmed charging around a park in Lahore, Pakistan, asking youngsters what they were up to, whether they were married or engaged and if their parents knew where they were.
In one particularly cringeworthy scene the 31-year-old host – who has been dubbed the ‘vigil-auntie’ – demanded to see a couple’s wedding certificate after they told her they were married.
The show sparked outrage with viewers branded it – a ‘witch hunt’ and taking to the internet in their thousands to register their disgust.
Within hours of the broadcast on January 17th, several online petitions had sprung up demanding that Khan be sacked.
At first the controversial host remained defiant describing her critics as ‘an elite class that don’t even watch my show,.’
But the following day Samaa TV showed a clip of her sitting on a bed in which she seemed to apologise saying: ‘I never intended to make you teary-eyed or hurt you.’
According to the station, Khan, along with members of her production team, were sacked after refusing to give an unconditional apology.
The host later blamed “˜a vicious media campaign by rival groups” for her sacking.
Now four non-governmental organisations have announced they are filing a civil suit against Samaa TV in Pakistan’s supreme court.
Adnan Rehmat of Intermedia, a media development organization who were behind one of the petitions, said: ‘Journalists don’t have the right to become moral police.
‘We need to draw a line.’
Some viewers claimed the show brought back bad memories of 1980s when Pakistan was ruled by the Islamist dictator Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq and police could demand to see a couple’s wedding papers under threat of imprisonment.
Others accused Khan and her team of picking on poor Pakistanis while ignoring the rich and powerful whose western lifestyles are potentially far more morally dubious.