A Video By Famous TV Host Reminds Us Why Toxic Online Conversations Need To Change
A few days ago, I came across an extremely disturbing video of well-known VJ-turned-TV host Waqar Zaka. I would like to share the contents of this shocking video and expose the all but outright sexual harassment in it. The following is an exchange between Zaka and a nineteen-year-old girl (who, let us not forget, is barely of legal age).
The unbecoming exchange started with Zaka asking the girl quite blatantly, “Have you had sex?” The girl responds with an embarrassed no, at which Zaka asks, “Aapke parents kidher hain?” When the girl answers, “Sab upar hain,” Zaka makes a comment brimming with sexual innuendo: “Kitna upar hain?”
Afterwards, Zaka complements the girl on her features, adding two MashaAllahs for effect, perhaps to lend legitimacy to his behaviour in the eyes of certain segments of his audience. Or could he have said MashaAllah to convince himself of his decency? Who knows? Anyways (after this show of devoutness), Zaka begins to sing praises to the girl’s lips, and then says, “Aao na kabhi yahan (Karachi) pe zara. Bara mazaa aye ga.” There is hardly a moment that is not overflowing with suggestiveness in all of this exchange.
Then he asks if she has ever kissed an Indian boy as she was from India. To this the girl says no. This leads to Zaka becoming even more excited, and with a mock wide-eyed expression he says the following words to the girl: “Puri seal pack? Ye mobile pura seal pack hai?”
The girl, who is now enjoying the attention, laughingly replies, “With warranty”.
The nature of this exchange, and the conditions which produce it, can hardly be lost on the show’s viewers – even if some choose to extract pleasure from the seemingly harmless “fake” drama. Could someone argue that the prevalent mentality which enables us to easily understand all the barely concealed innuendos in this talk, is anything but disturbing?
Waqar Zaka was still going on after he had likened the (barely adult) girl’s sex to “a seal packed mobile phone”. His following lines hit a new low which I could scarcely expect even until this point. Waqar Zaka asks the girl, and I quote, “Agar kuch kharabi hui tou koi behen wehen hai koi?”
By this time, I wanted to throw up. Many a time, I had to stop the video to calm my nerves before watching the rest of the ‘show’. The girl tells Zaka that she doesn’t have a sister. Instead, she has a “bara bhai”. Never losing an opportunity to show his valour and charm, the man in Mr Zaka exclaims, “Bhai ka bohat bara hai!?”
This dialogue continues for several more cringe-inducing minutes. At some point, Zaka has the girl agree to his being “the first to touch [her]”. He says he hasn’t “done it” with an Indian girl before, the girl responds by saying, “try it”, and he finally concludes the call with a “Tou try karne mein kya mile ga phir?”
I’d like to underscore one particular point from this entire episode: the huge difference in Zaka and the girl’s ages. With the values and sexual “sensibilities” that Pakistanis profess to hold, it would seem almost impossible for such a show and such a person to have the kind of following that he has. Yet he does. I wonder which among our declared love for piety, decency, honor or respect for women is really anything more than a garb we wear to show the world. For I do not think we could produce, much less celebrate, a mind capable of such public display of impropriety, if we actually held any of these qualities as dear. (Or, it could be that I simply missed the exception to the rule: saying MashaAllah and then going on to behave however we please.)
I don’t know what happened after this video. But one thing is for sure: there’s nothing kosher about it, even if the girl was laughing and appearing to enjoy the conversation the whole time. It was a disturbing video to say the least, and YouTube has multiple such videos, in which Waqar Zaka engages in sexually inappropriate conversations with women.
This is the time to think about online conversations and how not to conduct them.
The writer is a philanthropist, content creator and presenter of a YouTube Channel, The Catalyst that deals in burning, taboo issues.