She has also alleged she was unaware of the abduction charges, since she “was on vacation in Dubai,” and only received whatever information she had about the case through YouTube vlogs, which included Dua and Zaheer’s interviews.
On Monday, after Dua had been placed in a child protection centre in Karachi, Hira wrote on her Instagram Stories, “I want Dua and Zaheer to never separate. I am sure Allah will listen to my prayer.” Her ignorant remark sparked furor as social media as users began calling her out for passing her opinions without doing her research. In response to the criticism, the Meray Paas Tum Ho actor went on to blatantly defend herself. “I am not politically right but emotionally correct. That is why I am Hira Mani,” she shared.
Now, in her video message, Hira has acknowledged, “Two days ago, I shared a story in which I had written in favour of Dua and Zaheer. I was unaware that this was a case of kidnapping and Dua is underage. I was on vacations in Dubai and I had some time on my hands so I watched a couple of videos on YouTube about them, including their interviews with YouTubers and formed an opinion, which was wrong.”
Asserting that “there is nothing wrong in apologising,” the Yaqeen Ka Safar actor continued, “Sorry karne se koi bara chota nahi hojata. I have a lot of fans who love and support me and it is because of these fans that I’m a star. And I don’t know how to upset my fans. So, I’m sorry if you were hurt by what I said, even I am hurt by what I said.”
Hira credited her husband, Mani, for sitting her down and imparting his knowledge which led to her change of heart and mind. “It wasn’t until Mani sat me down and explained to me how complex the Dua Zehra case really is, that I came to realise how terrified her parents must’ve been. And I’m a daughter myself, I know how upset my dad would get seeing me upset, I know how upset he would be right now.”
She said that a lot of people had been discouraging her from making an apology video but because she is a “natural person,” she wanted to speak with her audience one on one, as well as the people she personally knows and offended. “They told me I shouldn’t have written what I wrote because I hadn’t read up on it and they were right. You all have the right to say whatever you want to me but I will apologise. Anyone who’s in the wrong should apologise, no matter their status. I would also like to apologise to Dua Zehra’s parents because the pain they must’ve felt, I have only come to understand it. It was my mistake, my lack of knowledge, my jazbaat (emotions). I’m an actor, at the end of the day, so I am very emotional,” she held.
“But one needs to put their emotions to good use, which I mostly do.” Hira took a moment to remind her followers about all the good she’s done. “You guys are witnesses to it, whether its charity or helping someone out, you all know I’ve always been there. During Covid, I have done a lot of such social work, I am that kind of a person; emotional and sensitive. So, I made a mistake. Before being a celebrity, mother, daughter, sister, I am human. And I am in the wrong so I don’t feel ashamed to apologise at all. I apologise, truly.”
As for those criticising her for “condoning child marriage and kidnapping,” the actor added, “I am not in the favour of child marriage and definitely not in the favour of kidnapping. But seeing how some people are blowing my statement out of proportion has hurt me too. I was in the wrong and I admit that. It’s a shame that after Aamir Liaquat, I have to be the one making a video to explain myself like this. And truly I am upset since two days now. I landed back in Karachi and I did not meet anyone. Everyone in my family and friends circle advised me to talk to the public. So here I am, praying that God protects Dua Zehra and her family and every girl out there.”
On April 16, Dua Zehra went missing from her house in Karachi and was later recovered from Lahore where she had “eloped” to, as per reports. Forced into marriage with Zaheer Abbas, provided that a DNA test has confirmed she is not old enough to consent to marriage, the police has declared Zaheer involved in the “abduction” of his now “wife” and everyone has their eyes on the case, for which the jury has been out since months.
With the whole country on its toes awaiting a just verdict that would not endanger Dua’s life nor condone the child marriage, actor Hira Mani had wished otherwise. And while it is great to see she has taken her words back, one should take a lesson from what transpired, especially celebrities, and refrain from passing comments on social media about issues one hasn’t read up on.
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Originally published at tribune.com.pk