TikTok star terms ban move to divert public attention from issues

Published October 11, 2020
TikTok artist Hareem Shah speaking at a press conference. — Fahim Siddiqui / White Star
TikTok artist Hareem Shah speaking at a press conference. — Fahim Siddiqui / White Star

KARACHI: In sharp reaction to the government’s decision of banning TikTok, a video-sharing social networking service, social media celebrity Hareem Shah on Saturday slammed the restriction and called it a move to divert the public’s attention from real issues, such as wheat flour crisis.

“As you all know that TikTok has been banned and the reason that’s been given for it is behaya’i (vulgarity or indecent content). I think that’s not a solid reason. It’s an entertainment app. If there’s criminal content on it then the administrators [those who run it] of the app block it themselves,” the popular TikToker said.

“Instead of banning it, they [the government] should identify those who are involved in criminal or vulgar acts so that they could be punished and behaya’i is eliminated. In the US they banned the app by giving a solid reason, which was their national security. If there is a national security issue in Pakistan, then it’s right. But vulgarity is not a reason. I will give you an example: when your fingernails grow big you cut your nails, not the entire hand,” she maintained.

Calls for imposition of Islamic system if vulgarity needs to be controlled

Ms Shah received a volley of questions from journalists and answered all of them with poise and understanding at a press conference on Saturday held at the Karachi Press Club to elicit her opinion on the government’s ban on TikTok app.

“There are different institutions such as the Censor Board in Pakistan who can do this job well. You will find people with a positive attitude to life as well as those with a negative one everywhere. If you look at it, then there is material on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram too which is not good for the country’s reputation. India and the US had issues with China so they banned the app. If you are out to put an end to vulgarity you need to enforce the Islamic system (Islami qanoon nafiz karein) in the country.”

In reply to a question, she said TikTok brought out talents of people; how could one snatch that from them. According to her, behaya’i is something that makes a person move away from imaan. Behaya’i contains many things.

Answering a question, she said behaya’i committed by man or woman, either way, was condemnable. Women compared to men have become the focus of attention more if something bad happens. “Who is raping women? Men. This is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and [yet] a woman can’t go out with her children. Why can’t you talk about that? What recently happened on Motorway, when a woman was raped, was done by men.”

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2020

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