The Hum Awards scheduled to take place in Toronto Saturday have clashed with the general elections taking place on Wednesday in Pakistan. As a result of this, several Pakistani celebrities which include the likes of Mahira Khan, Sajal Aly, Ahad Raza Mir, Mikaal Zulfiqar, Hareem Farooq, Atif Aslam and Yasir Hussain are not present in the country to cast their votes as they flew to Canada earlier in the week for the rehearsals.
This did not go down well with their fans and audiences and many are calling out these stars for not fulfilling their national duties. Amidst all the controversy, Mahira Khan took to social media to express her regret for not being in the country on this momentous occasion.
“As much as I want to be there tomorrow, it is unfortunate that I can not be. There was absolutely no way to delay my work commitment which was scheduled months in advance, I tried my best. And so with a heavy heart, I will not be voting this year. I urge all of you to get out and vote!! May this year bring the change we all have been waiting to see. InshAllah. Pakistan Zindabad!,” read her note which she shared alongside a picture of the Pakistani flag.
As much as I want to be there tomorrow, it is unfortunate that I can not be. There was absolutely no way to delay my work commitment which was scheduled months in advance, I tried my best. And so with a heavy heart I will not be voting this year. I urge all of you to get out and vote!! May this year bring the change we all have been waiting to see. InshAllah. Pakistan zindabad!!! #nayapakistan🇵🇰
However, the actor received a lot of flak for her post which eventually led her to turn off the comments sections. This did not stop her enraged followers from expressing their anger and disappointment, who then began to post their thoughts on her previous pictures.
Hania Amir shared a post similar to Mahira and expressed her sadness for not being in the country on this occasion.
“Words alone cannot begin to describe how I feel on missing the elections this year due to prior commitments. I wish I could have been there to be part of the change myself and play my role in the democratic process as a Pakistani. I urge each and every one of you to go out there and make your voice heard through your vote. I wish the eve of today marks the beginning of a new chapter in Pakistan. InshAllah,” her post read.
Words alone cannot begin to describe how I feel on missing the elections this year due to prior commitments. I wish I could have been there to be part of the change myself and play my role in the democratic process as a Pakistani. I urge each and everyone of you to go out there and make your voice heard through your vote. I wish the eve of today marks the beginning of a new chapter in Pakistan. InshAllah #DoVote #GE18 #PakistanZindabad
Hania also received the same backlash as Mahira as people labelled them “hypocrites.”
On the other hand, actors like Vasay Chaudry and Bilal Khan flew into Pakistan for the elections and to cast their votes, despite their work commitments. Bilal will also be attending the Hum Awards in Toronto but flew back to Pakistan for the elections.
Stood in line this morning in NA-131 polling station to cast my vote – it was extremely hot but duty fulfilled. It wouldn’t be hard to guess who I voted for given “Larho Mujhey” is such a recognized anthem. Please, please, please go out VOTE. It doesn’t matter if it is hot or humid or there are long lines. Take out everyone and make them vote. You only have to do this once in 5 years. Okay time for me to pack and leave for Toronto, flight is in 8 hours. #bilalkhan #pakistanelections #pakistanelections @paperazzimagazine @hellopakistan @dawn_images @divamagazinepakistan @sundaytimes @tribunedit @galaxylollywood @ebuzztoday @therealshowsha
Model-actor Saheefa Jabbar Khattak, who is also currently in Canada, took to social media to defend the celebrities saying that the Hum Awards were announced before the date of the elections was announced.
In a 13-point note, the model elaborated that the awards were scheduled in April, before the election dates were announced. She asked the people to appreciate the fact that the country was going global instead of hating on the actors. Khattak encouraged everyone to go out and vote and concluded her note saying, “Don’t forget the eggs in your breakfast!”
Fellow Colleagues & Pakistani's, As i scrolled through my SM feeds today, i noticed people shaming my fellow colleagues (who have flown to Canada for the Awards) as they won't be casting their votes. My response – 1. Election dates were announced in end May and our plans with respect to dates were almost confirmed in April. 2. This also means that preparations for the awards started before April. 3. Appreciate the fact that our industry is going global. 4. All the artists can afford to go to Canada on their own instead of finding an excuse for having a leisure trip. 5. Everyone has a right to choose what their priority is. 6. This does not prove that someone is less patriotic than YOU. 7. Be a PAKISTANI everyday, 365 days a year! 8. Instead of appreciating the fact that they are going international, stop degarding them infront of everyone else giving an impression that they care less about Pakistan. 9. Open your arms and your hearts to accept that people can be busy. 10. Step out and exercise your right to vote. 11. Support eachother. 12. Hope, pray and play your part for a better a tomorrow and a better PAKISTAN for everyone. 13. Don't forget the eggs in your breakfast! #nayapakistannahibalkaynayisoch #love #peace #patience #acceptance #appreciate #support #saheefajabbarkhattak
Acto Yasir Hussain also defended the celebs currently in Toronto. Talking on the same lines as Saheefa, Hussain pointed out that he and his colleagues had already entered into a contract with Hum Awards before the date for the election was finalised. He also spoke about the integrity of work and clarified that they were not “chilling in Canada” as the public perceived them to.
“I have voted twice before and it hasn’t made a difference. Am I not allowed to miss this year’s vote like any other ordinary citizen? Why are young people cursing veteran actors? Are you only taught to vote in your household, what about respect for your elders? If our mistake is a crime, the police can arrest us and file a case. Even we want better law and order in Naya Pakistan, let’s start there,” he wrote.
Assalam u alykum.. Salam is liye k musalman Gali deny se pehly jawab zaroor den.. yeh picture aur aisi bohot si aur jis mai aap ko @saeedhumayun #bushraansari @mikaalzulfiqar @hareemfarooq @thekubism @mahirahkhan @haniaheheofficial @thekubism @atifaslam @ahmedalibutt aur bohot sary aisy log jinhon ne khushi aur gham mai aap sab ka sath dia dikhai de rahy hain. #1 hum sab ka contract for #humawards #election2018 ki date se pehly ho chuka tha.. wesy toh hum sab kehty hain “work is worship” magar hum kaam karen toh “chilling in Canada” ho jata hai.. aisa kyon?? Kyon aap k favourite celebrities har wakt kar baat har galti ki mafi mangty rahen.. hum sab aam insaan hain farishty nah . We work v hard to entertain you all . Kyon Atif Aslam Bushra ansari jesy legends ko hum aik min mai zero kar dety hain? Kyon #mahirakhan ki har baat ko pakarna hum ne apna qomi farz samajh lia hai.. mai ne 2 dafa vote cast kia hai magar kuch fark nahi para .. kya aik aam insaan ki tarha mai is saal ka vote mis nahi kar sakta?? Kya apni commitment ko poora nahi kar sakta ?? Kyon aap 18 se 30 saal k log apny se bary actors ko galiyan dety rehty hain?. Aap k gharon mai kya sirf vote k bary mai bataya jata hai baron ki izzat k bary mai nahi,?? Agar hamari bhool aik jurm hai toh hamary wapas aaty hi police hamen arrest kary aur case chalae.. naye Pakistan mai bhi hum behtar law and order hi chahty hain toh let’s start with that . #respect #peace #pakistanzindabad💚💚💚 Aur han @imranabbas.official agar aap k samny k naye bachy perform kar rahy hain toh dil bara karen aur machis ko pocket mai hi rakhen Shukria 🙏🏼
Meanwhile, some Pakistanis have launched an online petition calling the audiences to boycott Hum TV and the celebrities who failed to vote. The petition requests “PEMRA to take notice of the careless attitude of HUM TV with regards to the General Elections. We would also like all Pakistanis around the world to boycott the HUM Awards and Hum TV channel as well as the celebrities who left without voting. We will unfollow all social media accounts of the celebrities in question and also those of HUM TV.”
The petition also called for a public apology from those who failed to vote and applauded those celebrities who came back especially for the elections.