Doctor fired after Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy complains for sending FB request to her sister

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News Desk |

A physician who tended to the sister of Emmy award-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid at a Karachi hospital has been fired from his job for “disregarding his ethical values and showing unprofessional behavior”.

Ms. Chinoy posted a tweet on October 23, narrating that her sister went to Aga Khan Hospital, and the doctor who treated her at the emergency section later sent her friend request on Facebook. The filmmaker termed it “harassment” and insisted that she will report it to the relevant authorities. Subsequent sacking of the doctor, by the hospital, has lead to a huge reaction against Oscar winner, Sharmeen. Most internet users (now more than 30 million use Facebook across Pakistan) vehemently reject Sharmeen’s definition that a man merely sending a “Facebook Friends Request” is causing harassment. But they are also infuriated by what they perceive as Sharmeen’s arrogance, class consciousness and her open contempt towards Pakistan.

If Sharmeen’s attitude, reflected in her tweets, was seen as a display of class consciousness, arrogance and contempt for ordinary citizens and Pakistan then her definitions that “Facebook Friends Request” constitutes “rape” made her look to most people like a shallow pseudo-intellectual borrowing latest western terms to show her power.

This post from Sharmeen’s Facebook account read ” it’s a sexual harassment if a male sends another female a friend request. It amounts to rape. How come these men don’t send Facebook requests to fat women? If any male sends a friend request, he is simply taking advantage of your body. Stay safe, women need to stick together.”

Read more: Priyanka supports the “Me Too” campaign against sexual assaults

To many her lines, “how come these men don’t send Facebook requests to fat women?” were symptomatic of her disturbed state of mind; after all, “Who is the fat woman men are not sending ‘Facebook friends request?” Many commenting on Facebook therefore wondered if Sharmeen’s reaction represented a siblings jealousy. After all how old is her sister? and why Sharmeen is acting, like a patriarch, on her behalf. Some wondered if Sharmeen’s attitude and ruthless power display represented a “role reversal”, and she acting like a ‘husband’ and ‘father’, like a traditional patriarch of an eastern society, to her sister.

Sharmeen’s feminist plea to women, “If any male sends a friend request, he is simply taking advantage of your body. Stay safe, women need to stick together.” failed to resonate with young Pakistani women, most of whom were shocked by what they perceived as her self-righteousness, her arrogance and sense of power. Many thought that Sharmeen was trying to seek publicity by fitting herself into the ongoing “me too” campaign launched by feminists across the west.

So to many, it was in fact Sharmeen who did the harassment by abusing her power, her position in the society

Prominent TV Anchor, Moeed Pirzada, who often retweets Sharmeen’s tweets and her news was visibly upset by her attitude:



But if Moeed Pirzada thought that Sharmeen was over reacting, he also hinted subtly, without naming her, in another follow up tweet that in this case “power” lied with Oscar winner, celebrity, Sharmeen and that “harassment” like “rape” is an act of power – not sex.




So to many, it was in fact Sharmeen who did the harassment by abusing her power, her position in the society and exercised that within the context of under developed Pakistan where the poor middle class doctor had no relief against her international aura. Could she demand any action from Facebook against the doctor? Why was her sister running an open Facebook account where any one could send “friends request”?

Notables like Ali Moeen Nawazish posted his message on his Facebook account condemning the famous filmmaker for taking such extreme steps.

While few have supported her actions saying that it is highly unprofessional to have a doctor search one’s files to get data to interact with a patient in personal space – others wondered that how do we know what kind of interaction took place between Sharmeen’s sister and the doctor? And “Facebook Friends Request” does not need much of a confidential information; in most instances names suffice. In any case, “Friends Request” can be turned down, and Facebook has an elaborate system of complaints to deal with issues of harassment – if something is really “harassment” – Why would someone modern and worldly like Sharmeen, not leave the decision on Facebook, why she must act like an eastern patriarch?. Facebook debates resonated with such questions.

Read more: Why ‘Padmavati’ is facing opposition from Rajput Community?

Many have thus commented that it was just a facebook request that could have been easily ignored. However, the twice Academy award winner is yet to comment on this controversy.

Even Waqar Zaka, a much controversial figure jumped in to respond to Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. He promised to get that doctor a much better job.

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