A recent television commercial (TVC) of a biscuit firm featuring actress Mehwish Hayat on Wednesday came under increased fire on social media after an internet user highlighted that the advertisement featured a Balochi performer dancing with a Kalashnikov-AK-47. The TVC, already controversial for vulgarity, aimed to highlight different cultures across Pakistan.
On Tuesday, the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued an advisory for broadcasters and producers to review the content of the ad, deemed incongruous to the general marketed consumer product. The regulatory body said they issued advisory after receiving several complaints from social media users who described the ad as ‘bizarre’.
Why is the baloch dancer in the background dancing with a Klashinkov? pic.twitter.com/34PDXm2CxY
— Akbar (@BromanEmpyre) October 5, 2020
Because that is how stereotyping works.
— Gulmina Bilal Ahmad (@GulminaBilal) October 7, 2020
The commercial had earlier in the week triggered a debate on social media after conservatives slammed it for promoting indecency and violating the principles of the Islamic faith.
Reacting to the depiction of Balochi culture through the use of an AK-47, social media users on Wednesday slammed the producers of the commercial for reinforcing the stereotypical and regressive concepts about Balochi culture in the mainstream media by associating it with guns and violence.
Neither Hayat nor the producers of the advertisement have responded to the recent controversy.