Being a celebrity in Pakistan is no easy Islamic cake walk, especially if you’re a very attractive woman tip-toeing through the gaping millennial time warp that dominates this Muslim nation. Veena Malik, a popular Pakistani actress, model, and comedian was fortunate to have found a safe sidestep to media fame and riches despite living on the fault line between the modern and medieval mindsets. But all that changed, however, when Ms. Malik joined the cast of the reality TV series, Big Boss, the Indian version of the US hit, Big Brother.
Malik’s appearance on Big Boss set off a firestorm of condemnation from Pakistani Islamic clerics who accused her of immorality. Such a charge against a woman in Pakistan can be tantamount to a death sentence. But Malik has stood her ground and in this confrontational appearance on Express News, she skewers not only the accusing religious relic but also the talking head journalist who set her up for the slap.
The immorality outcry from the backward bastions came in response to Asian media declaring Malik to be the liberal face of Pakistan for having the courage to take part in the Big Boss series. The whole idea that unmarried, unrelated men and women would live together under the same roof is equivalent to adultery in the eyes of the Islamists. So Malik has violated a big cultural taboo that may very well put her at risk.
The clash of the culture wars, Pakastani style, where the losers can lose their lives. Ms. Veena’s got guts.