Dating in Pakistan has remained a very problematic taboo – riding the wave of a more progressive culture has always been turbulent for a Pakistani pining for a taste of the dating culture fruit. While it has at most remained a primarily western slice, dating has slowly seeped its juices into Pakistani turf – and it’s mostly down to young Pakistani celebrities who have normalized it.
While the concept of a ‘first date’ and engaging in the usual bucket of PDA might be the norm in most societies, in Pakistan for many it’s tantamount to impossible.
Rules are stringent, most couples cannot be seen together in public – be it family related reasons or simply because you have a very high chance of getting named and shamed by our crass police – thereby ‘closet-dating’ is on the rise. If you consider yourself even remotely ‘liberal’ (a highly negative term, unfortunately, if you live in Pakistan), then it’s painful trying to digress from such a suffocating, uncompromising way of life – you either sit back and let rigid doctrines dictate everything down to the way you breathe, or you do what most do… you rebel and live zindagi the way you want to.
Pakistani celebrities like Hania Aamir and Asim Azhar have helped tear down walls, bringing us all closer to comfortable dating culture.
The two haven’t directly disclosed they’re together, but their social media in this new millennial age has softened the controversy surrounding dating. In a time where we live online more than off, celebrities that have an avid fan following really do help stimulate change and catalyze buttered up revolutions around embedded taboos.
Hania and Asim are joined at the hip and have been documenting their time together on their insta stories.
The meaning of being in a relationship has been redefined by the two, because while the concept from a Western lens is ambiguous (you can be in live-in relationships, you can be married, you can spend your entire life together not getting married, what have you may), in Pakistan the traditional connotation is nikaah for most.
They’ve already been on holiday together, cooking breakfast at 4 a.m., and spend every waking second together – you could say they’re practically in a live-in relationship WHICH I AM HERE FOR.
It’s been an overwhelming breath of relief to see two influential personalities remold the definition of dating in Pakistan – the couple is relishing at the moment, enjoying their wooly relationship with seemingly no set-rules as such.
Their support for each other in their respective work is phenomenal to witness; Hania has become Asim’s backbone and he her’s.
You’ll always see Hania backstage at an Asim concert, swaying to his songs and supporting him on his national tours. Asim too is never shy from expressing his love for Hania’s dramas, more recently how he’s always making it very clear how big of a fan of ‘Anaa’ he is.
It’s not just unmarried couples who are changing the game. Even married celebrities like Aiman Khan and Muneeb Butt have also helped normalize dating in Pakistan.
There was a time not too long ago you’d barely have any Pakistani celebrity dish so openly about their private life. Yet now, entertainment power-couples like Aiman and Muneeb are very comfortable about divulging intimate details about their life – even before they got married.
Aiman revealed in an interview with Samina Peerzada about how she and Muneeb began dating and was wonderfully very open about it all.
She talked about how she met Muneeb, and how they began dating after going out multiple times in groups – even candidly revealing she would hide her relationship from her sister Minal because she wasn’t even sure if she and Muneeb had a future. She even responded to criticism for having so many shaadi functions, and said she paid no heed to haters; it hurt her at first but she quickly (and rightfully) realized that it’s her special day and she can do whatever she wants.
It’s in moments like these you can’t help but thank them because you might not know it but they really are helping ease dating in Pakistan for us hopeless fools.