Nargis Fakhri, the fetching Pakistani-Czech model-actress has been Mobilink’s brand ambassador since some time now. But her TV ads didn’t manage to achieve quite the stir that her recent newsprint ad did.

Nargis

Lying suggestively (as opposed to not lying suggestively?), the model’s form was sprawled out across the paper’s bottom-half across the national editions of Jang.

The sultry image led to a lot of protests, most of it from the predictable quarters. The moral brigade, for instance. The Jang Group’s resident moralist, Ansar Abbasi, took to Twitter to register his complaint with his employer.

Some within the feminist community expressed their distaste of the use of women as eroticised puppets being used to sell products.

There was also a bit of support from completely unexpected quarters. Express‘ Ahmed Qureshi, being Ahmed Qureshi, actually appreciated the ad because it featured a Pakistani model as opposed to the Indian sirens that have been gracing our ads of late.

Curiously, for some reason, presumably the wishes of the client, the ad was not printed in the Quetta edition of the paper. This led to some quips online about the usual discrimination against Balochistan.

The former national bhabhi also weighed in on the issue on her programme, where — barring the spiel about how decent and reflective of our values older Lollywood fare was — she raised some solid points about how the ad was only as racy (perhaps less?) than the current movies produced by the national film industry. Why the hullabaloo?


Iam Happy To See This Photo-Ahmed Qureshi by zemtv

One understands the liberals’ point of view. That it is telling how, given all the problems that we face, we manage to get outraged by a risqué image of a woman instead of the more outrage-worthy content seen on the news. Images of leaders of banned outfits going about their business as if they were newly-elected nazims don’t seem to have quite the effect.

But, there is another point of view. Everyone places themselves at some particular point on the spectrum of social conservatism-liberalism. All over the world. Yes, there might be libertarians who would be socially conservative in their private lives but might say this position shouldn’t have any bearing on others’ lives.

True. But if they were to be asked nevertheless, as citizens, about whether or not they felt comfortable with something appearing on the media, their answers should not offend anyone. And citizens, liberals included, should not be too shy of expressing said discomfort.

That there are extremists on both ends of the liberal-conservative divide is a lazy thing to say. The liberals certainly aren’t going about killing people for the liberal cause. And the sort of people who could be rationally categorised as socially liberal extremists, even by our tepid standards, are fewer in number. But this much is true: the way conservatives are holier than thou, upping the ante of piety in an all-or-nothing sense, those on the other side of the spectrum would also withhold the title of a liberal from anyone who don’t subscribe to Scandinavian levels of liberal values.

Don’t get this wrong. Ms Fakhri’s ad is certainly not as scandalous as some of our local content, what to speak of the western media. Just that discourse on these matters should be respectful of others’ views.

Not a revelation, this. Since it applies to all discourse.