‘Live’ khalwat raid by TV vigil Aunty [video]
Pakistan TV host and friends harrass young couples in park
For one hour, live on a breakfast TV show on Jan 17, couples sitting and talking in a Karachi park were hounded by TV host Maya Khan, her crew and a group of like-minded women (later dubbed the “vigil aunties” in a newspaper headline). At least one couple was married.
Maya and her moral police vigilantes went around the park intruding upon the couples: asking them what they were doing, whether their parents knew their whereabouts, why they were not meeting at home if they were engaged and, in at least one instance, where was their marriage certificate if married.
Footage of the vigil aunties’ antics enraged a broad cross-section of Pakistan society when this video went online. After 11 days of a media storm, during which she apologised twice, the station sacked her and her crew for refusing to offer an unconditional apology.
Typical of the reaction was this comment: ”What is the difference between this kind of media vigilantism and that demonstrated by the Taliban?” said Mahnaz Rahman, a director at the Aurat Foundation, an organisation that fights for women’s rights in Pakistan quoted by the Dawn newspaper.
More than 5,000 people signed an online petition that criticised Khan’s behavior as ”highly intrusive, invasive and potentially irresponsible”.
The Dawn said Samaa TV’s decision to sack Maya Khan “marked an unusual victory for Pakistan’s beleaguered liberal minority, which has become more marginalized as the country has shifted to the right and whose members have been killed by extremists for standing up for what they believe.”