Miniseries ‘Aakhri Station’ is the only constant in Pakistani television these days. Despite a plethora of dramas premiering on telly, ‘Aakhri Station’ has barely fluctuated in content, only progressing with each episode and tragically keying in on social taboos in Pakistani society. From HIV to prostitution and marital abuse, the Sarmad Khoosat production is simply brilliant in all entirety and essence. The first episode of ‘Aakhri Station’ starred Pakistani model Eman Suleman who played Yasmin, a woman forced into prostitution by her alcoholic husband.
The actress took to Instagram to talk about her character Yasmin, and defend her from criticism for being a prostitute
We are quick to blame women who are prostitutes, failing to understand them and make them human. We alienate them and subject them to tremendous belittling. The actress responded to criticism she has been receiving for Yasmin. Her character was ‘coerced into prostitution,’ and Eman emphasized that the problem doesn’t lie in sex trafficking; rather the women who are ‘forced into it and born into it.’ She went on to say ‘the ones who do it of their own volition, circumstances have led them there, circumstances we cannot fathom.’ Eman dissected our patriarchal society, expressing oppression faced by ‘women and gender minorities.’
Read her full statement
“I’ve been reading the reviews for Aakhri Station, and I would like to thank you all for the positive feedback; however, I’ve noticed that a lot of them are talking about Yasmin. Yasmin as a wife, as a mother, as someone who has been coerced into prostitution. The problem being highlighted is, prostitution. That is not the problem. We are not recognising the issue, thus overlooking the subject matter. We always victimise or demonise the woman, in this case, sex workers and refuse to understand the dynamics. We lambaste them, we demarcate them, separating them from the society ( i.e. heera mandi) when they’re very much a part of it. We need to understand that a lot of these sex workers are forced into it, and many are born into it. The ones who do it of their own volition, circumstances have led them there, circumstances we cannot fathom (so let’s not try to). Hum hotay kaun hain kuch kehnay walay, we are far too privileged. Most of all, what are the ones who can help, doing for those that need it? Nothing. We don’t do anything except criticise.
Evidently, we live in a patriarchal society, where women and other gender minorities are oppressed by men (not all men lulz) and yet, we don’t talk about them. None of the reviews talk, in detail, about Waqar, the husband’s character, the root of the problem. What about those men, who pay for sex? Why don’t we ever talk about them? I mean, after all, prostitution almost, only exists to serve them. #aakhristation”
Users took to the post to commend Eman’s statement
With many agreeing that is is our society that is the root of problems
The drama ‘Aakhri Station’ was lauded for its crisp and bitter portrayal of prostitutes, stripped raw of any romanticism
What are your thoughts on Eman’s comments regarding the societal position of sex workers?