New York magazine cover story “The Year of the Nepo Baby” broke the internet, providing audiences with an in-depth investigation in to how nepotism thrives within Hollywood. The article explored how young stars with connections within the acting industry because of their famous parents or relatives, were able to quickly cement a career for themselves in comparison to anyone else with limited networking.

The article and it’s implications have now made its way to Pakistani Twitter, where one user decided to ask her followers about Pakistani entertainment figures who were able to break into the industry because of their familial connections. And the numbers are extraordinarily large.

Mira Sethi is the daughter of journalists Najam Sethi and Jugnu Mohsin, and the neice of Moni Mohsin.


Meesha Shafi and Faris Shafi are the children of veteran actress Saba Hameed. In February, Meesha defended her brother against academic Nida Kirmani’s complaints that he was an “elite rapper” by saying that both had been raised by a financially stressed single-mother, and had worked hard to arrive where they are now.

Asim Azhar is the son of veteran actress Gul-e-Rana and musician father , and had spoken in an interview with Dawn Images in 2018 about how nepotism allegations did not take account of how hard he had worked in order to establish his career:

. I have put in a lot of hard work into my career. For about three years, I was just spending money on music that I would put out on the net and earn nothing back from it. And yes, I managed to get popular with a niche, mostly female, crowd but there were many more people who hated me and they were very vocal about it.”

Singer Danyal Zafar is the brother of singer and actor Ali Zafar, and has also addressed nepotism privileges. In an interview with Dawn Images in 2017, he stated that he had a different style from his brother, so he won’t be using his sibling for connections.
“I just feel the shoes are not in the same spot. One thing that he made sure I knew was that my struggle and journey will be my own. I will use my own style to mark my own space in the industry,” Danyal had stated at the time.

Ahad Raza Mir, the son of famed veteran actor Asif Raza Mir, during a talk show with Anas Bukhash, pointed out that no one bats an eye on nepotism in fields like medicine or military, not in the same way everyone criticizes children of actors for following their parents footsteps.
“I was doing well so people said it’s because I’m a star kid. But there are doctors whose kids are doctors, there are generations in the army and generations in politics, no one bats an eye. But as soon as there’s a child of an actor who starts doing well, everyone starts yelling ‘nepotism’,” he said of his critics.

Azaan Sami Khan is the son of acclaimed singer Adnan Sami Khan and famous actress Zeba Bakhtyar. The actor was accused of nepotism when he was cast for the Hum TV drama Ishq-e-Laa with Sajal Aly and Yumna Zaidi. However, the director of the series had addressed the controversy on an interview with Fuchsia magazine, and revealed that Azaan had been cast in the role only after he had passed a screen test.

Haroon Kadwani is the son of actor and founder of Pakistan’s leading production house, 7th Sky Entertainment, _. He was accused of nepotism after he was cast in the drama “Ruposh”. but he rejected these claims in an interview with Fuchsia Magazine, saying that being the child of a star parent means a lot of expectations are placed on you.
“People think it is easy to be a star kid but instead it is very hard for me. Being a star kid has its pros and cons. My father can give me one or two roles but after that it depends on talent. If your audience accepts you then you don’t need to be afraid of anything. However, if you are not talented, your audience will reject you and you will surely be aware of it,” Haroon emphasized.

Soon other users began naming famous celebrities within the Pakistani entertainment industry who have benefited from having famous parents and connections in the industry.

Ammar Khan is the daughter of veteran actress Fariha Jabeen. The actress had been questioned about the existence of nepotism in the industry last month in an interview at the show “Hasna Mana Hai” and simply said she was not a by-product of nepotism.

Zara Noor Abbass is the daughter of powerhouse actor Asma Abbas and is the niece of superstar Bushra Ansari. In the show Time Out with Ahsan Khan, Abbas and her husband Asad Siddiqui discussed the topic of nepotism with the actress sharing that she had stopped asking her aunt from picking her up from school after realizing how famous she was:

“Bushra Ansari was always just my khala to me. It’s only when I grew up that I realized the level of her popularity and would ask her not to pick me up from school. That’s when I really understood,” she said.

Ushna Shah is the daughter of radio and television actress Ismat Tahira, and had previously addressed the pressence of nepotism and the casting couch in the entertainment industry in an interview with The News, stating that she saw a lot of girls exploited in the business. “It is not necessarily by the top level people but the lower tier that these girls have to go through to get to the meetings and auditions,” she revealed, then went on to detail the sexism that actresses have to deal with. “Men like to pass comments that at some point were considered funny by our society. But it is not funny anymore.”

Several musicians like Bilal Maqsood and Jaffer Ziadi also made an appearance on the list. Bilal Maqsood is the son of veteran television scriptwriter and presenter Anwar Maqsood, while Jaffer is the son of lehendary singer Nayyar Noor and actor Shehryar Zaidi.

Nepotism doesn’t define a person’s career as a whole as a Twitter user wrote in reply to the thread that people like Bilal Maqsood and the Shafi siblings had worked hard and created their own career without the press linking them to their famous parent. However, it is also a shocking fact how the demand for connections lead to adults from ordinary families to be pushed to the sides.
Last year, it was actress Saba Bukhari who had shed light on the prevailing discrimination based on family background in the entertainment industry. In an interview with BBC Urdu, the actress revealed instances of bullying she had encountered from actresses who demanded that she leave acting because of her limited connections.
“There are some actors who make film sets a quite difficult place. I remember this accomplished actress was sitting right in front of me and she began insulting my face, and complained ‘where do they even pick up these useless girls from’. She said it directly to my face that I should leave acting, because I will never be able to make it here,” Saba revealed.