After Hadiqa Kiani, the writer behind the controversial drama ‘Hadsa’ has come forward to address allegations that the script is based on the horrific motorway rape case, in which a woman was gang-raped in 2020 in front of her young children. Episode 5 of the drama shows the female lead, Taskeen, and her son driving down a highway at night when their car suddenly stops. Soon after, a group of men arrive who subject the female lead to torture and rape. Journalist Fereeha Idrees called the story a serious violation of privacy, and demanded that PEMRA shut down the show for exploiting a survivor’s trauma for ratings, without her or her family’s approval.

Now, in a conversation with BBC Urdu, the writer has denied these allegations, pointing out that every woman, regardless of her background, can suffer from rape:

“The similarity is just a coincidence. Every woman who goes through this incident, whether she is rich or poor, or whether she comes from an educated family or not, will get affected. Our dramas speak about our sufferings and our situations.”

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‘When you fight this war, you’re also getting your catharsis,” he said.

Zanjabeel went on to discuss writing on other topics like child sexual abuse and said that sometimes, drama scripts can bear resemblance to real life cases.

“I have shown a young son who was getting married. We often say that a woman is going out alone, but she would still be helpless even if her husband went with her.”

Since the allegations by Idrees went viral, on X, formerly Twitter, the hashtag #banhadsa began trending, with social media users criticing the cast and crew behind for violating the privacy of the rape survivor, and called for PEMRA to ban the drama. To which, Zanjabeel had responded:

“PEMRA had banned my drama ‘Pyaar Ke Sadqaay’ too. But does this mean girls are not abused inside their homes? PEMRA had annoyed even Bee Gul so much over her drama ‘Darr Si Jaati Hai’. If they keep doing this, then should we only make dramas about saas-bahu conflicts? If we can’t make dramas about sensitive topics, then should we only make romance dramas,” he asked.

Hadiqa Kiani released a statement on her social media account, saying that when she first read the script there were similarities with the motorway rape case, but after discussions with the writer and team, she understood that the drama was entirely different.

Her statement was slammed by social media users, who demanded that she stop gaslighting survivors of rape and trauma.