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The 50-second advertisement stars Mathira, one of the country's most well-known actor-models. — Dawn file photo.
The 50-second advertisement stars Mathira, one of the country's most well-known actor-models. — Dawn file photo.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's media regulator pulled the plug on a contraceptives commercial starring celebrity personality Mathira on Tuesday, calling it “immoral”, after public complaints.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) wrote to broadcasters ordering them to take the advert for Josh condoms off air immediately.

The 50-second advertisement stars Mathira, one of the country's most well-known actor-models, as a newlywed bride who makes a neighbouring couple jealous by pampering her husband.

Finally the neighbour asks the rather nerdy-looking husband how he keeps his glamorous wife so sweet and he replies: “Bring Josh into your life.”

Pemra spokesman Fakharuddin Mughal said the watchdog's letter pointed out that the advertisement was generally being seen as “indecent, immoral and in sheer disregard to our socio-cultural and religious values.”

“Airing of such immoral advertisement on Pakistani channels and that too in the holy month of Ramazan warrants serious action,” he said.

Contraceptive commercials are rare in Pakistan, where fear of backlash from the country’s religious, conservative right usually means advertisers avoid the subject altogether.

The advertisement itself is considered irresponsible, in light of the fact that Pakistan currently faces a massive population explosion problem. By offending sensibilities, it has sabotaged a small window of opportunity to educate people, through mass media, about family planning.

According to the United Nations a third of Pakistanis have no access to birth control and its 180 million population is growing by more than two percent a year.

Around a third of Pakistanis who want birth control have no access to it, according to UN and government statistics.

Josh condoms are marketed in Pakistan by DKT International, a US-based non-profit organisation that works to promote family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention in the developing world.

Comments (157) Closed

Sana Akbar Jul 23, 2013 05:33pm

Can somebody tell foreign channels are on aired in Pak and they show condom commercials and we watch them

Dr. mohammed Jul 23, 2013 05:35pm

Both INDIA and PAKISTAN destroyed their future by population explosion. But rich do not mind SERVANTS having 10 kids. Cheap labour for richs kids and their kids. All uneducated and hungry ? No problem.

Wizard of Oz Jul 23, 2013 05:48pm

Absolutely non sense ad. I was shocked to see the ad on two channels just an hour before Iftar. Its good that they've blocked it from airing. But somebody should be punished for this act as well. The channels which aired the ad i.e. ARY News and Metro TV should apologize and pay huge fine.

Talha Jul 23, 2013 05:51pm

As Pakistan currently faces a massive population explosion problem according to this article, I don't see there is anything wrong in the ad. I have seen people buy it so regardless of this ad, they will still do who is sensible enough!

smj Jul 23, 2013 06:05pm

The daily hate speeches on national TV are alright, but a suggestive contraceptive ad touches nerves !!! Pakistan, the land of bans.

Tariq Jul 23, 2013 06:06pm

There are so many more scenarios that the advertisers can depict without offending our over sensitive religious lot while at the same time get the educational message across to our ever burgeoning, over fertile, reproductive population.

Haider shaikh Jul 23, 2013 06:13pm

Conceptually it is a pathetic ad. I have sympathies with the client that their ad agency mint the money, however, the client didn't get anything out of it. The ad agencies must understand that the forbidden subjects brings challenge and provide an opportunity to come up with an idea that cuts the clutter. i hope our agencies will grow up some day and focus on concepts rather than making ads for the sake of ads.

Hunzai Jul 23, 2013 06:20pm

i do agree with sana you are absolutely right..this ad is just to educate people about demerit of having many children..i just ask PEMRA where were you when Pakistan broke the records of accessing porn websites in 2011-12..if pakistani nation is feeling no immorality watching porn websites than there is no problem with this ad.

Iqra Jul 23, 2013 06:29pm

The point here is not that people don't want to control population, there's always a decent way of propagating a message. Sex appeal in ads has always been the easiest shortcut to sell things. What it requires is creative thought and strategically designed ads to educate people about birth control and not about seduction. That would serve the purpose with lesser side-effects.

Salim Akbani Jul 23, 2013 06:30pm

How dare one talk about sex, condom and birth control during Ramadan? The Mullahs just want more children to serve their ranks, even if they are starving. Some can work as servants and field hands, others can join the military to support our dictators, while a handful chosen ones can go to madrasahs and graduate as suicide bombers.

Osama Sarwar Jul 23, 2013 06:32pm

Mass media should be used to communicate an educational discourse but airing of such visuals/ads is not an appropriate way considering the message being delivered is of pleasure and not birth-control. Education cannot be commercial.

A G Jul 23, 2013 06:34pm

Perhaps the core issue was the TIMING of the ad. Surely after 9 or 10 pm, whatever is considered late night in Pakistan TV, you might have aired it. Granted it is still considered immodest and embarrassing to talk about such issues in public, but lack of awareness also has caused a lot of damage. There can be tonnes of cases sighted as an example, population control being only one of them. There needs to be found a way where both aspects of the divide can handle it responsibly; socio/religious and health/safety.

FarmerDr Jul 23, 2013 06:37pm

@Wizard of Oz: God Forbid that a married woman should have a sex drive her husband is proud of?

Afzal Mir Jul 23, 2013 06:47pm

The advertisement was neither indecent nor immoral. What 'values' Pemra is talking about?

Reluctant Fundamentalist Jul 23, 2013 06:53pm

@Sana Akbar: pity you watch them

Ali Jul 23, 2013 06:53pm

A completely misleading article. The problem is that this advertisement does not highlight the use of condoms as a contraceptive. Rather, it promotes the use of flavoured condoms. This makes it controversial.

FactCheck Jul 23, 2013 06:57pm

Socio-cultural values calls for three wives, excessive reproduction and when you cannot provide for them, divorce the wives and not pay anything for the children.


Muhammad Jul 23, 2013 07:26pm

If these people have so many "morals", the first thing they should do is remove all the people who are politically and morally corrupt out of the government and the society. Wait, sorry, that would mean vacating half of the Pakistani society! There is only one word that describes people from our country: "hypocrites". They think that doing one kind of evil is legit and some other is not. Fasting is a good moral and is perceived as a good deed, whereas people lie all the time from a basic shopkeeper.

In this case, however, it was actually the right thing to do since intercourse is the only thing that goes in the minds of most male Pakistanis who are frustrated with absolutely no sense of right and wrong. They have been groomed since childhood in an abusive culture. First correct yourself and then make changes to laws!

Ghazanfar Jul 23, 2013 07:45pm

The picture accompanying this report is misleading - after reading this news report I actually watched the advertisement on YouTube and there isn't any scene where Mathira is dressed in anything less than full sleeves and a regular neckline. There certainly isn't any scene where any of the characters are wearing spaghetti straps or a backless shirt/blouse - much to my disappointment of course! The advertisement has sexual connotations, but I don't see how the advertising agency could have produced an advertisement that was more sensitized to Pakistan's social culture. Is society in Pakistan opposed to the idea of a condom ad in principle?

Combaticus Jul 23, 2013 08:18pm

This is okay ad and should not have been banned. We are 180+ million in population. Where did these people come from ? One possible explanation is Pakistanis like all other humans like coitus . But somehow we do not want to talk about sex. What is required is open discussion on this issue at least at secondary school level. Sex education should be part of the education. There is a lot of curiosity about sex among young adults in our society and to learn it leads some to dark corners of the internet. It it high time we deal with this issue like a mature society.

Rashid Sultan Jul 23, 2013 08:22pm

Personally I cannot see a problem. People have to open up their minds to reality and accept it.

nouman Jul 23, 2013 08:25pm

I am your typical, devout, Pakistani..

What is a condom?

dushyant Jul 23, 2013 08:31pm

Condoms have nothing to do with religion. It's purely for the joy of love making and responsible parenting.

ali Jul 23, 2013 08:37pm

There is nothing immoral in this ad. What about all the foreign content airing on TV?

F S Jul 23, 2013 08:37pm

@Wizard of Oz: Why 51 dislikes?

Sara Jul 23, 2013 08:43pm

How is family planning unholy? How and why is it related to fasting? Preventing pregnancies is not killing children. Using condoms or other preventives is simply planning for a better lifestyle and a better future. Common sense tells us that it's better to have two healthy, well-educated children than 5 malnutritioned, poorly educated ones. How can that be immoral?

Ahsen Jul 23, 2013 08:44pm

@Sana Akbar: Absolutely right but do we have to watch these commercials? Personally I don't watch commercials(Free hypnosis for motivation to buy). A quick solution is to switch the channel.

Umair Jul 23, 2013 08:54pm


Riaz Jul 23, 2013 08:55pm

If PEMRA has problems with the ad, then why don't they propose a decent ad or ad guidelines for condoms? I understand that PEMRA has a point where this particular ad was marketing pleasure rather than birth control. It there is a genuine concern about birth control in Pakistan, then these condom companies should change the context of the ad to show a couple with 10 kids, where the family keeps on growing, and how they are under debt + other difficulties, something of that sort, then I bet PEMRA wouldn't have any issues with it. However, Josh might not sell that much. Whether the context is pleasure or actual birth control, this question needs to be answered!

Hassan Jul 23, 2013 08:57pm

@Sana: Great point. Moral brigade is at it again not realizing that we have seen similar commercials on foreign channels plus what is to be so immoral about a condom ad and that too during the month of Ramzan. Remember, people are allowed to have intercourse between dawn and dusk, just not during roza.

raji Jul 23, 2013 09:03pm

This is nonsense...Pakistan's population has remained at 180 million since 1998, then why do we need condom and aids advertisements?

Raj Patel Jul 23, 2013 09:12pm

@Wizard of Oz: How vulnerable are you? You can't even stand a 50 second ad. It shows how much control you have over your mind. If you don't like ignore it as simple as that. Those who are getting offended are being hypocritical.

jdshami Jul 23, 2013 09:15pm

@Dr. mohammed: Where does India come in from?

noobguy Jul 23, 2013 09:24pm

Unfortunately I have observed that many times people fight over trivial issues in Pakistan. People in Pakistan scarcely show their concerns about illiteracy in Pakistan, growing boyfriend-girlfriend culture (dating), or our country's economical crisis.

Saima Jul 23, 2013 09:37pm

I am glad that the ad has been aired off .There are better and more decent ways of advertising such things. Especially on NEWS channels which are watched by the whole family kids including and people who don't see foreign channels and want to avoid watching such indecent ads.

DUSHYANT Jul 23, 2013 09:45pm

Condoms have nothing to do with religion. It's purely for the pleasure of love making and responsible parenting.

Sohail Jul 23, 2013 09:47pm

We should keep multiplying while the resources are running out at an alarming rate. Let alone having any sense of modern economy or quality of life. If we cant provide our kids a fair chance in life, so what. There are always Mardrasas they can go to. Any attempt to educate the masses becomes vulgar. Hypocrisy runs deep in our culture (especially our so-called middle class)

Baluch Jul 23, 2013 09:49pm

Along with unemployment, low literacy, lack of health care, most Pakistanis would agree that high population growth rate is one of the major areas of concern. If how this message is delivered is an area of concern, our creative media can devise a more palatable form of delivery, but by retaining the very charismatic Mathira as the Ambassador for Controlled Population Growth.

Aamina Jul 23, 2013 09:53pm

There's nothing wrong with promoting contraceptives. But there's a way of advertising such products. Instead of showing what was shown in this ad, the advertisers could've highlighted important issues such as family planning and/or increasing population & whatever's related to such issues. Ads don't necessarily have to be frivolous, they can (and should) be informative too. Because the society we live in needs to be aware more than it needs to be entertained.

Ahmed Jul 23, 2013 09:58pm

What is immoral and indecent is the widespread poverty in Pakistan resulting from unchecked population growth. The result of widespread hypocrisy in Pakistan which has crushed attempts to reduce birth rates to match the reduced death rates resulting from the availability of medicine developed in the "evil west".

Saima Jul 23, 2013 10:00pm

Good work Pemra.

Aziz Jul 23, 2013 10:13pm

@Talha: Maybe your parents did not see the ad.

omar Jul 23, 2013 10:33pm

@Wizard of Oz: Do you live in the stone age?

Rosh Jul 23, 2013 10:41pm

Good step keep it up. Such ads make immoral things common resulting in immoral society. All the ads with words like "GIRLFIREND" etc should be banned as well.

Solitar Jul 23, 2013 10:49pm

The poor masses allergic to facts enjoy darkness like Plato

Zain Jul 23, 2013 10:59pm

Please remove this inappropriate picture!

Pankaj Jul 23, 2013 11:01pm

@Wizard of Oz: Hmm. So, what's your piece of advice? Should they be hung for offending religious sentiments?

imran Riaz Jul 23, 2013 11:07pm

Rule of Lunatics in Pakistan

Asim Malik Jul 23, 2013 11:14pm

I just saw the ad on YouTube. Absolutely nothing in it was remotely immoral or offensive. It was done just right for the Pakistani audience. If some were offended, then heavens help us.

S Haider Jul 23, 2013 11:15pm

Oh grow up and step in 21st century.

Ghazi Jul 23, 2013 11:16pm

@Wizard of Oz: Why did you watch the ad then? Maybe you should be punished for watching it too? Instead of realizing the state of affairs in our country when it comes to the high average family size, you would rather rant on about punishing people. Go crawl back into your hole. People like you are a disgrace to this country and are the reason for its stagnation. InshAllah, we will overcome this darkness one day.

SZBR Jul 23, 2013 11:16pm

This ad can only be considered immoral if one feels that birth control is immoral. I think the whole flavored concept is what put them off.

Pakorhay do Jul 23, 2013 11:52pm

@Wizard of Oz: Oh please serve us your Talibani Jingoism.

malik Jul 23, 2013 11:57pm

@Sana Akbar: Pakistan is an Islamic State ... This activity will not be tolerated under any circumstance.

aneeb Jul 24, 2013 12:05am

I agree with PEMRA taking the ad off air, i mean you've got to realise that this is a conservative country (whether you like it or not) with majority of the population that is illiterate. And instead of making an ad that tells the consequences and repercussions of a population time bomb, health of the mother etc this company chose to make an ad that is only sensual and not at all informative!

a-jay Jul 24, 2013 12:30am

@Talha: Please explain how a strawberry flavoured condom would control said population explosion. You must have seen people buying it but I guess you haven't seen the ad. People will still buy condoms with or without this commercial.

hassan Jul 24, 2013 12:39am

@Sana Akbar, You are right foreign channels are around but we usually don't watch those channels at iftar time (when whole family gathered around TV). Furthermore, majority of us feel uncomfortable watching this sort of open ad in the company of our daughters and sisters.

just_someone Jul 24, 2013 01:02am

I don't get what's wrong about the ad? I haven't seen it since I don't live in Pakistan anymore... Someone have a link?

urmi Jul 24, 2013 01:28am

@Dr. mohammed: so true.

ahsan7979 Jul 24, 2013 01:31am

This society is losing moral values by the day. Try to adopt values from the developed countries that have brought them to where they are today like justice, equality, civil rights, education etc. and try to leave the values that are ruining the morals in those societies.

shiraz Jul 24, 2013 01:33am

What an open society! We have more problems that need attention than THIS.

zobia khan Jul 24, 2013 02:00am

@Wizard of Oz: You can always turn the TV off or stop watching. But I guess you need big brother to tell you what you can watch and what you cannot.

Gohar Jul 24, 2013 02:27am

Thats nonsense. Whats immoral about it. Why do you think our population is > 180 million people in a span of just 50 years; we had a population of barely 28 million in 1947. What do you think people are doing in their houses???

There is nothing immoral about this. Its a fact of life. The sooner we become mature about this the better. We dont need to have an unchecked and exploding population.

Pakistan does need better population control in order to increase our standard of living and bring a higher quality of life to the people who are already here. Birth control is an important aspect of this.

We need more such commercials and need to grow up and not be so cynical!

hamza Jul 24, 2013 02:37am

The point is that yes Pakistan has a population problem but these ad agencies or companies are further aggravating the problem by making such filthy ads, instead they should promote the product as a solution to the problem I.e birth control and not as a tool to keep beautiful wives....

Ex-pakistani Jul 24, 2013 02:49am

What else you can expect from a directionless country? Open-up your minds, it's the 21st century and world has moved on! Only Pakistan is in reverse gear!

madan Jul 24, 2013 03:08am

Looking to the population explosion in the world, the non-availability of sufficient food to feed every mouth and the morbid state of education, people should realize the importance of population control. It is worth mentioning that soon after the partition of India, PM Nehru popularized the slogan "hum do hamare do" and it worked wonderfully well.The results achieved are there for every body to see. Realize that It is need of the hour.

saleem Jul 24, 2013 03:23am

Population is a serious problem in Pakistan. Those whose blood is boiling should switch off the TV which they should not be watching during Ramazan in the first place

AbbasToronto Jul 24, 2013 04:27am

@Dr. mohammed AOA

It is the rich who claim about the population "explosion". Over 200 years ago Malthus raised alarm about the English poor. His warnings were baseless.

In the agrarian era population is a burden on land. In a trading era a human soul is an asset.

Kazim Jul 24, 2013 04:40am

At least they are promoting family planning, not making bombs. Grow up nation!

RK Jul 24, 2013 05:43am

@Wizard of Oz: Really? Can you explain what so bad in the ad?

rana1 Jul 24, 2013 06:13am

@Dr. mohammed: if only this advert was spread by midwives from one poor household to another and save some embarrassing moments..Perhaps if it could be made mandatory on all medical students to volunteer some hours to poor people on family planning options!

Umair Jul 24, 2013 06:27am

I totally agree with Sana Akbar that far indecent and immoral content from foreign channels is being allowed to air in Pakistan. How come these channels are allowed in Pakistan? - Double standards of PEMRA I suppose!

punter Jul 24, 2013 07:44am

Poorly executed strategy by marketing executives. Good ad but horrible timing. Should have aired this on Eid or day after and during non-prime time hours for initial pilot.

Shubs Jul 24, 2013 07:58am

@Talha: I think any organization seeking to promote health services will tell you that anywhere in the world, it is better to work WITH the population rather than forcing down concepts and practices down people's throats. In that respect, I agree that perhaps in Pakistan, this ad was irresponsible. In a deeply conservative society, promotion of contraceptive use should be done at a grassroots level, with just the amount of public coercion that the population is comfortable with. It will yield much better results, which is ultimately what matters. This ad will be acceptable for the majority of urban dwellers with their more liberal outlook, but are they the target audience? If not, perhaps the campaign needs to be reconsidered. Again, if the ad is by a specialty contraceptives company trying to target the urban consumer, perhaps they have been hard done by.

Danish A. Jul 24, 2013 08:00am

Pakistan is one of the most sexually repressive countries in the world. A society that cannot talk about it will never come to appreciate it. Talking about intercourse is the first and foremost need of a nation that is trying to control its population. Pakistan should start offering sex education from high school onward.

Ali Pakistani Jul 24, 2013 08:24am

There could be a decent way to advertise this product. Morally, socially and from a religious point of view, this indecent add should not have been aired. You can't watch this add while sitting with your family. Moreover, timing of the add i.e. just before Iftar is awful. People supporting this ad need to review their thoughts.

Ahmed Jul 24, 2013 08:35am

Cheap and in bad taste, something I don't want to come across either on my own or when with the family. Definitely the right decision to take it off air. This of humor has shades of grey which clearly DOES NOT reflect the acceptable standards in Pakistan. All those screaming for it to be shown, please grow up!

Asim Jul 24, 2013 09:01am

It was on air on Geo Super at around 11 PM yesterday. Who says it has been taken off-air.

abcd Jul 24, 2013 09:03am

@Talha: I wonder how you stay comfortable watching this ad with your family?

Muhammad Asif Jul 24, 2013 09:04am

I think birth control is not controversial, but how the message is conveyed through this ad, is. this is another point that we do have access to such ads through foreign media. What our social values do not allow, they do not allow.

Fahad Jul 24, 2013 09:09am

So what if it is a contraceptive ad?! We need these to spread the message of family planning to our people. Come out of your shells people, we need to grow up.

This was a really good attempt by the company as there is nothing immoral in the ad. Why are we so shy about sex and family planning when we currently don't have food to feed our population? Wait another 10 years and you will see the horrific results!

Stupid decision by PEMRA! Why don't mothers and fathers educate their children about condoms after marriage? We need to control the massive population!

DAWN should have the decency to use a better image!

Fahad Jul 24, 2013 09:11am

@Sana Akbar: So what is bad about condom ads? They are needed so that people know what they are and why to use them! We need to control the population numbers!

Basim Ali Jul 24, 2013 09:12am

Final Pemra did something right. Ads like these are the parasites that are eating away the innocence and purity of our young generation, especially young girls. I say its about time that PEMRA should start putting heavy fines on the companies that have approve such ads, the production house that made it and the models who have worked in it. Like it or not, we humans don't mostly listen to reason but we do restrain ourselves in fear of penalties.

Fahad Jul 24, 2013 09:12am

@Wizard of Oz: So what was THAT bad in the ad ? A wife pleasing and pampering her husband? how is that immoral? Yeah, I can agree that the rimming is bad but whats wrong with the ad itself is what I don't understand?

Fahad Jul 24, 2013 09:13am

@Wizard of Oz: They are not showing any nudity so why do you find it so immortal? I personally find it quite useful to spread the message of birth control!

Basim Ali Jul 24, 2013 09:13am

Buying contraceptive pills are not immoral but portaying them in a vulgar fashion or making them look "cool" is what makes it immoral.

Muhammad Irfan Jul 24, 2013 09:16am

@Sana Akbar:

Sana, they also should be banned.

Tanha Jul 24, 2013 09:17am

It's pretty unfortunate that a little group of conservatives is much more powerful to impose their corrupt mind views and impede the progressive developments.

Masta J Jul 24, 2013 09:24am

If filth is all inside your head, please abstain from watching. It does serve well for our youth where frustration runs high. Furthermore, it may actually help in steadying the population boost. Lowering the number of unclaimed babies disowned by many a man. And guess what, no more live babies in the grave.

Syed Naveed Iqbal Jul 24, 2013 09:37am

@Talha: People do buy it frequently but not that overtly rather shrouded in feeler of modesty, where as such ads would encourage them to get it from the shops even though a kid just like they get milk from a dairy. Which, consequently, further enlightens the folks of its use and benefits and will contribute to more illegitimate relations in already increasingly depraving society.

malik Jul 24, 2013 09:37am

Yeah, let us make more babies.

Left is Right Jul 24, 2013 09:53am

Looks like Pemra is all set to enforce shariah law in our lives.

Rahim Jan Jul 24, 2013 10:37am

We are bunch of hypocrites. We all love to watch Indian movies, which are full of indecent dances and dialogues, not to mention "item songs" but we are offended by a simple contraceptive Ad. Seriously.

taseer Jul 24, 2013 10:57am

@Rahim Jan : Speak for yourself. There are many of us who don't like to watch Indian movies and dramas.

In the Know Jul 24, 2013 11:11am

Sometimes, it seems that people in Pakistan who read English newspapers live in a world that is absolutely disconnected from the reality of Pakistan. Just a humble reminder: 80% plus of the people of Pakistan live in rural areas. They have no access to drinking water, let alone contraceptives. If an ad on contraceptives has to be aired, it is these people that need to be addressed. Who amongst the viewers can claim that the shot-down ad was addressed to this populace. Furthermore, I am assuming here that using flavored condoms is common amongst all those complaining against the ban, though the connotation is pretty obvious and disgusting, especially to the very people who should be addressed.

Yes, this is a democracy and the rule of the masses will prevail. Those who feel the masses are too illiterate or over-sensitive, must continue to bear with the majority's opinion, however backward it may seem to them.

Rahim Jan Jul 24, 2013 11:26am

@ taseer.i am speaking about the majority,look at the cinemas they are full of people and according to a recent survey Pakistani's are amongst the top viewers of objectional material over the that means our psyche at large is we are comfortable with every thing as far as its behind close doors..

Maher Jul 24, 2013 11:30am

Guys this is so called ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF PAKISTAN, where "indecent, immoral and in sheer disregard to our socio-cultural and religious values comes???

Hamza Jul 24, 2013 11:46am

@Fahad: What you are talking about.What is the definition of nudity?Nudity is even in the news picture

Ali Jul 24, 2013 11:47am

Clearly shows the in-efficiency of the ad agency who made this rubbish ad and the media placement agency for selecting wrong time slot.

Zahid Anwer Jul 24, 2013 12:01pm

@Aamina: well said

Zahid Anwer Jul 24, 2013 12:03pm

@Combaticus: have some sense dear.. please no offence..

Zahid Anwer Jul 24, 2013 12:21pm

The ad actually promoting condom rather to focus on Pop control and family planning, by watching ad it seems dat one shoud use Josh condomn in order to have a good pleasure in sex and doesn

Syed Asghar Hussain Jul 24, 2013 12:21pm

Folks, remember 'Suno Zara Khushi ki Aahat' song? ... It was a decent effort and hardly faced any major backlash. I like contraceptive commercials made across the border. They use wit/humour and end up in good taste. This particular ad takes the same route but completely falls flat in the process. It has 'cheap' written all over its face. The media manager was stupid enough to think Ramazan was a good time to let it be on-air. No matter how great hue and cry we raise, let's admit it - we haven't reached the stage where we could be open about promoting certain products on mainstream media. So why try to go against the tide? Why not play by the rules, be subtle and send the message across without being repulsive? Companies like P&G and Reckitt have been doing a fairly decent job promoting female hygiene products. Why can't others follow suit?

Aamir Jul 24, 2013 12:43pm

Seriously guys .... we have a chronic over population issue. What is wrong in raising awareness. Religion should have nothing to do with this. People who are offended should just look away when the commercial is aired. I support educating our masses. Only this way we can get rid of poverty and help focus on children in a better way (as there will be less of them to deal with and not 10 kids per couple).

Leo Jul 24, 2013 12:54pm

@Left is Right: if you people hate from the word 'Shariah' then why not you get out of this country?

Gerry D'Cunha Jul 24, 2013 01:14pm

looking at the sensitivity and environment of the country and people where majority are shy watching such ad with family, it could have been advertised in a more educative way

USN Jul 24, 2013 01:33pm

so much for open minded Pakistanis that even a contraceptive Ad. can offend them :)

P r sharma Jul 24, 2013 01:39pm

Is there any institution in Pakistan like censor bard which may certify that particular movie or ad is permitted for airing ? I hope it must be there . Was it approved by for airing? If so where lies the fault?

Ghalib Khan Jul 24, 2013 01:47pm

@In the Know: This is the ad from a private company it is their decision on which viewers ship and market they want to target , so it is not matter of democracy. And their is always a remote which helps you switch channels. Don't you think many people after reading this article will be searching you tube for this ad,

S. Rayhan Ahmed Jul 24, 2013 01:56pm

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. I haven't watched this commercial but given the script, it surely is indecent and cheap. We should not only educate the masses in a more decent way but also provide contraceptive products to the rural areas in Pakistan free of cost. That may serve the business instead of airing such indecent contents.

S. Rayhan Ahmed Jul 24, 2013 01:57pm

It's not what you say, it's how you say it. I haven't watched this commercial but given the script, it surely is indecent and cheap. We should not only educate the masses in a more decent way but also provide contraceptive products to the rural areas in Pakistan free of cost. That may serve the business instead of airing such indecent contents.

kiran Jul 24, 2013 02:35pm

Looks more like a tattoo ad then a contraceptive

kiran Jul 24, 2013 02:38pm

@Danish A.: Ok and then what if the kiddos starting asking follow up questions one after another? Will be comfortable showing the whole process to kids? I have a serious problem with that

SAJJAD Jul 24, 2013 03:03pm

I am against the way the message is convyed in the ad, that is totally vulgar. their can be lots of other ways to pass on the message, has anybody ever made complains about the ads of "saathi condoms"

Those who are against this ad are not against family planning.

shahid Jul 24, 2013 03:19pm

@taseer: I agree with Rahim. Majority of us do like to watch and that's the reason why our theatres are all full of Indian movies and nothing other than that. Just go to any cineplex and cinema and watch our young generation going crazy. Such hypocrite society!

sabeeh omer Jul 24, 2013 03:49pm

Is a disgusting nude back required to deliver the message on condom use? There probably are more decent ways this message could be communicated???

A Sheikh Jul 24, 2013 04:13pm

@In the Know: Couldn't agree more.

A Sheikh Jul 24, 2013 04:17pm

I have lived in Canada for over 16 years and have never come across a condom ad on TV. All the content is rated for viewers. The news or Family channel would not show anything that the family cannot watch. It seems that vulgarity in Islamic Republic of Pakistan is far ahead of the West.

MediaRegulation101 Jul 24, 2013 05:42pm

@Ghalib Khan: A number of countries have media regulations including the UK, which banned an ad starring Pamela Anderson because "it objectified women". Pakistan is not the only country which has a media regulator that orders advertisements off the air due to their explicit nature. Some countries such as Norway, only allow certain ads late at night.

MediaRegulation101 Jul 24, 2013 05:44pm

@USN: The issue was not that the product being advertised was a contraceptive. Infact PTV aired a number of contraceptive ads starting in the early 90's, the issue is the content of the ad. Just to clarify the content for advertisments can be explicit even if the product is a car or a camera.

justforcarp Jul 24, 2013 07:30pm

@A Sheikh: Canada does not need a condom ad. With or without it its population growth is at zero growth rate. But for countries like India and Pakistan it is essential that the people are educated about family planning and contraceptive usage. If people are offended by the ads they can easily turn their TVs off. Another thing I don't understand is that no one seems to know the exact population of Pakistan as no census was conducted in decades. Officially it is supposed to be 183 million but unofficial estimates place it as high as 205 million. So if you do not know how many people are there in Pakistan how can your Government plan anything? .

justforcarp Jul 24, 2013 07:30pm

@sabeeh omer: Why is nude back disgusting?

justforcarp Jul 24, 2013 07:31pm

@kiran: Answer truthfully and you won't have any problems.

Baluch Jul 24, 2013 08:48pm

@Danish A.: You are absolutely right- we suffer from an "ostrich syndrome" when it comes to sex - and the human body itself. Our population needs to play more sports, shed the extra weight that comes from overeating, wear clothing appropriate to the weather, become healthier, depend less on doctors, take control of their lives - and then only will they appreciate the message of the magical Mathira!

Baluch Jul 24, 2013 08:51pm

@AbbasToronto: I can see that Mr. Abbas is missing the presence of souls in the sparsely populated country of Canada?

Ali Bahadur Shar Jul 24, 2013 09:13pm

this is totally fault of pemra and censor board why they allowd this ads airing , it means censor board is not working and its only in files,,,,,,,,,,,what a corrupt people who not only destroy institution but also country and culture,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,shame

Asfar Jul 24, 2013 09:58pm

@sabeeh omer: SO, you have not even watch the ad!!! There is not any nudity on it !!!!, this photo belongs to some other file that took!

Bong Jul 24, 2013 10:01pm

Q. Why has the population of Pakistan stuck at 180Mn. for more than 10 years ?

Ans. Because SEX is a dirty word.

VM Jul 24, 2013 10:06pm

What's wrong with a contraceptive ad, its good for a family if they will do family planning, which is good for country too.

Sohail Jul 24, 2013 10:51pm

@A Sheikh: Are you serious? I have been living in the U.S for over 20 years and the condom ads (and much more) are shown on the TV, and heard over the radio every night (with a special emphasis during the weekend). These ads are provocative and the underlying message is not birth control but safe sex (monogamy is never promoted on these ads). Calling something Vulgar because its association with sex is easier than finding the real cause behind our social, cultural and economic decay. The whole world is laughing at us and we are more concerned about defining "vulgarity". These forums (or any Pakistani gathering of so-called educated middle class) are a microcosm?of what really went wrong with our country (Zia really did a job on our collective psyche). Since our childhoods, we have been programmed to have complete disrespect for other religions and a sense of superiority. Not to mention the holier than thou attitude and the extreme hypocrisy. Anything related to sex automatically becomes vulgar. We have replaced common sense with religious dogma run by beards.

Meet Jul 24, 2013 10:53pm

R u allowed to watch T.V in Ramazan . According to my knowledge its unpardonable.

Ali Pakistani Jul 25, 2013 12:37am

@Masta J: Whatever is reflected in this add, it shows that the marital relationship is only based on the sexual desires, which definitely reflects cheap and superficial mentality with regards to this holy relation. Husband and wife relationship is far far above than mearly sexual intercourse. This holy bond is established with Allah's permission and is based on mutual respect, caring, sharing, sacrifice, family values, social safety and above all Allah's will. This is what our Holy Prophet has taught us. All those supporting this add, please be mature with our human values and societal impacts. There could be more nice way to promote this product, but at least not through this type of cheap add, which conveys wrong message to our youth and which you cannot watch while sitting with your sisters and mother. If in west, such adds are shown freely, just see their human values and societal impacts, where they are heading. They are heading towards a complete soceital catastrophe.

Omer Irfan Kayani Jul 25, 2013 12:41am

Myth No.1:Is there really a population explosion in Pakistan or dead voters being added to show it as in 1990 elections by vested interests? Myth No.2:Even if this ad continues on media channels,how many of our illiterate populace will understand its purpose? Myth No.3:Are Mathira's looks and appeal strong enough stop the so called population explosion? Just consider these points and use your head to figure out this non-issue.When there are no basic facilities like electricity,clean water,sanitation,healthcare and education,will the population explode or it will adjust its level of survival?,think over it.PEMRA ad controversy is just being created to hoodwink you over very real issues of basic facilities being denied to any ordinary Pakistani.plz think over it.

saleem Jul 25, 2013 01:13am

Sir it is still running.

Nadia T Jul 25, 2013 01:46am

@MediaRegulation101: Yep its that simple, you got it all right but don't know why people love to make it an issue of freedom or blame our backwardness. This lady Mathira already famous for her cheap tactics, calling her a super model is a lie coz she is not. One more thing, since in Pakistan the whole family is watching TV together with immature underage kids, the ad company need to be extra cautious, just like in the US, they run such ads after prime time on family channels so that kids are asleep when such ads with adult content go on air.

Rizwan Ahmad Jul 25, 2013 08:52am

All those who are complaining about THIS ad, my humble request is to actually see it. It available on Youtube. Once you do please describe EXACTLY which parts of it do you find objectionable.

Vindoo Jul 25, 2013 09:57am

Decency is a basic human trait that exists across all peoples of the world. Very right step by Pemra in the right direction. Modesty is a sign of civilized living and in public life it is essential for both genders.

sabeeh omer Jul 25, 2013 01:29pm


  1. A nude back may be the most pleasing sight on earth, but certainly not when you are watching TV with your family

  2. Canada and the West more than any other countries encourage the use of condoms (as part of health promotion) because of the frequency of sex in school going children, multiple partners, etc to prevent spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) and HIV.

jamil Jul 25, 2013 01:49pm

"Majority of us do like to watch and that's the reason why our theatres are all full of Indian movies and nothing other than that. Just go to any cineplex and cinema and watch our young generation going crazy. Such hypocrite society"!

In the Know Jul 25, 2013 03:22pm

@Ghalib Khan: My issue is with the complaints being aired here about the backwardness of PEMRA and the populace that are complaining against this ad. We, the majority residents of this country wish such an ad NOT to be aired on TV. The majority asked and PEMRA obliged. For the amount of money spent on this ad, i can provude a much better ad, targeted at the right audience, and not raising any concerns. Furthermore, the company footing the ad bill is an NGO from the USA, where flavored condoms may be a means of entertainment. Fortunately, it is still not so in Pakistan, as yet.

SMAJ Jul 25, 2013 05:36pm

@Omer Irfan Kayani: how many of our illiterate populace will understand its purpose?

O.K. go educate and explain its purpose starting from your children and show them how you use it during your real application.

Abdullah Hussain Jul 25, 2013 06:17pm

The producer of such explicit and immoral adds should know the limit of their wondering. They should understand well that Pakistan & its culture will never appreciate such vulgarism in our society specially through TV as this is a medium enjoyed within a family atmosphere. Severe penalty with a no repeat warning should be issued to one and all to refrain from such ventures in the future

mirsad Jul 25, 2013 06:36pm

Since Mathira has started to appear on local channels I have found her involving in Vulgar activities. My request to all channels and Pemra to put restriction on her ,

Karen McFly Jul 25, 2013 08:41pm

Unfortunately the photo that accompanies the article is misleading. Maybe it is an older photo of the main actress who is starring in the video. But the people in the video are very modestly dressed. There is nothing 'Western' about this commercial unlike what some people have said on the facebook website for this article. This is the most Pakistani commercial that I have ever seen. Admittedly I can't understand what they are saying as I have only recently begun to learn Urdu. Whether it is of great artistic value is debatable but I have seen worse advertisements. Why does nobody ban the huge Cadbury billboards on the motorway in Karachi that distract from driving and hide the complete landscape? A house sized poster proclaiming the benefits of fruit and nut chocolate must appear really obscene to a lot of people who go to bed hungry everyday. Likewise my Pakistani friend told me a bout a cooking show on tv that was called 'Islamic Cuisine', but there is no such thing as Islamic cuisine. Instead Islam asks you to make sure that everyone has enough to eat. It is very indecent to call a show that shows elaborate meals that most of the population can't afford and call it Islamic cuisine. I am against banning anything because it's much more useful to switch off the tv if you don't like something, but if you are looking for unIslamic content on tv, then that show should be first in line.

Karen McFly Jul 25, 2013 09:12pm

@sabeeh omer: 1. there is no nude back in the commercial. 2. which 'West' are you talking about? 3. Condoms are only promoted to stop HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Not because of the frequency of sex in school children and also not because of polygamy, which is not very common in any country where condoms are promoted. Maybe that's what you have read in The Sun, The Daily Mail or The Mirror, but these are not newspapers. They print fiction and are produced for people whose attention span is too short to read a novel.

Karen McFly Jul 25, 2013 09:15pm

@SMAJ: Do you also show your children the use of a car during the real application? I work with children and I can assure you that they do understand the difference of things which are for adults and things which are for children.

Karen McFly Jul 25, 2013 09:25pm

@Nadia T: Media Regulation 101: in Germany ads on the motorway are forbidden as they divert people from concentrating on the traffic and lead to accidents. In Karachi you can hardly see anything from all these house size billboards everywhere, especially on the motorway they pose a real danger. Why nobody is asking for their removal is beyond me. (Actually I know why, because Cadbury and such multinational companies pay a lot of money which obviously the non for profit company was not able to do. At the end of the day it all comes down to economics. What do human lives mean as compared to Mammon? Small Pakistani businesses are destroyed because they multinationals are promoted everywhere!

As for children watching this ad. I work with children a lot and they are not stupid. They understand the difference between things which are for adults and things which are for children. You surely take them in the car. Are you not afraid that they might get a sudden desire to drive the car themselves??? If you are not, then you should likewise not be afraid of them wanting to try out the condoms. Just tell them that they are for adults.

Karen McFly Jul 25, 2013 09:31pm

@SAJJAD: those who have asked to ban this ad have wasted time and energy that they could have used to tackle the real societal issues in Pakistan. That is shameful. Turn off the tv if you don't like something and then go out and create something better instead of using all your energy to destroy something.

Danish A. Jul 25, 2013 10:24pm

@kiran: First of all, you don't think 16-18 year old kids already know the entire process? I'm guess you were not a curious 17 year old. Also, we shouldn't inflict the same societal wrongs that were inflicted on us just because we are afraid to talk to young adults about sex. As I said, a society that does not understand and respect sex will never appreciate it. It's a wonderful thing, we need to not stigmatize it any longer but respect all the good and terrible things that come with it.

ahmad Jul 25, 2013 10:42pm

@Rizwan Ahmad: The part where you are watching 9 o' clock news with your father and sometimes your sister as well.. and this ad appears on TV.

Zak Jul 26, 2013 12:51am

@Rahim Jan : Best post. Rahim so much Bollywood garbage is being watched that I was shocked one day talking with a child who spoke better hindi than Urdu. The child was oblivious to the fact that she was not speaking Urdu.

Usman Jul 26, 2013 03:12am

@Rizwan Ahmad: I actually youtubed the ad and saw it. Did not see anything indecent in the ad. The picture on this article is misleading since in the actual ad, there is no indecent clothing. In my humble opinion, our countrymen need to start using contraceptives sooner than later, otherwise in the next 25 years our population will grow over 300M people. Our country's resources, area, etc. are not growing at that pace, so we will have a huge resource and area problem... It is unfortunate that our countrymen have such short term and microscopic thinking.

Ali Jul 26, 2013 05:04am

@Ali Pakistani: Have you been "to the West?" Clearly not, based on your misinformed opinion.

Ali Jul 26, 2013 05:12am

@sabeeh omer: What is disgusting about a nude back? Btw this is not from the ad. It seems those most riled up about the in-appropriateness of the ad have not seen it at all. No surprise there...

Abdul Ghafoor Jul 26, 2013 11:32am

Its is good to see this and PEMRA taking action against the said add. and please MR Editor don't mentioned the said lady as a well Known Actress- Model as her acts in her shows are completely against Islamic ethics and culture and i am 100% sure that people dont see her cause of her acting talent .. as you displayed a pic of her in this news i wonder how such a half naked picture can be displayed in a Islamic Country . Please remove this pic

Yousaf Jul 26, 2013 12:50pm

Why don't you in Pakistan change the channel if you find something vulgar?

haroon Jul 26, 2013 02:12pm

I have seen this add there is nothing wrong in this add. Whatever is written in this article is seems to me overexageration. ONE THING I want to say if people demand banning this add the I think they should also demand for banning all those cheap dramas like BULBULAY as well .. As they talk more cheapness and vulgar things