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Grapevine

Iqra Aziz talks about the marital rape scene in ‘Ranjha Ranjha Kardi’

‘Ranjha Ranjha Kardi’ is being talked about for all the good/not so good reasons every single day. People are obsessed with the play that shows emotions wrapped up under lots of dramatic revelations. Iqra Aziz essays the character of Noori, while Imran Ashraf is truly outstanding in the role of Bhola. Bhola is shown to be mentally unstable while Noori is the victim of the society who is married to him.

There is also another hero in the story, Sahir, who is pursuing Noori. However, people have been rooting for Bhola and Noori. Keeping that in mind, something that happened in episode 20 is making people feel offended with the scriptwriting of the drama.

Due to being given wrong medicines by his own relative, Bhola lost his mind even more, and raped Noori. There was no consent in what happened to the helpless girl. However can we blame a mentally challenged guy? No. But what we can totally blame is the poor script. Bhola’s mother normalized the rape saying this means Bhola has some sensations and emotions. But ummm, did the scriptwriter not realize that this was the complete opposite of what should have been done? Marital rape is a major menace in today’s society. A drama as influential as this one, should have condemned it to the max.

Iqra Aziz finally responded to the marital rape aspect of Ranjha Ranjha Kardi (RRK).

“One of the most pressing issues today that we don’t talk about is that we think of marriage as a binding contract to anything and everything. But marriage is based on trust and love and consent.”

She further went on to say, “Consent to live, to breathe, to be able to say no. I hope Noori and Bhola live happily ever after and let’s see how Noori tackles all the problems and Sahir in this situation.”

The Pakistan Penal Code, in section 375, provides a comprehensive definition of rape:

Rape:- A man is said to commit rape who has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the five following descriptions,
(i)   against her will.

(ii)  without her consent

(iii) with her consent, when the consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt,

(iv) with her consent, when the man knows that he is not married to her and that the consent is given because she believes that the man is another person to whom she is or believes herself to be married; or

(v)  With or without her consent when she is under sixteen years of age.

Rape laws in Pakistan carried an exemption for marriage where a husband could not be prosecuted for raping his wife only up till 2006. With the passage of the Women’s Protection Act in December 2006, marital rape could legally be tried as a crime and was brought within the ambit of the law.

To clarify this confusion further, Zaman and Lari [2012] argue that the law previously stated: “A man is said to commit rape who has sexual intercourse with a woman, who is not his wife” The removal of the words “who is not his wife” in 2006 clearly shows that there was a concerted move to include marital rape within the law.

However, due to the weak interpretation of laws by both police officers and the judiciary at large, and cases not being reported, this provision is not part of public knowledge. Secondly, the absence of marital rape from cultural de facto laws stands as a mighty wall between its interpretation.

‘Marital rape’ is a term that cannot be dealt with lightly. Definitely not as lightly as RRK dealt with it.

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