The much awaited drama serial Sang e Mah released its first episode on Sunday and the internet could not stop raving about it. The drama had been the talk of the town since it marked the debut of Pakistan’s star singer Atif Aslam with the Saifee Hassan directorial returning with the famous and familiar star cast including Nauman Ijaz, Sania Saeed, Samiya Mumtaz, Kubra Khan and Haniya Aamir. The drama opened to massive viewership as fans could not wait to see Atif Aslam show his acting skill and to much surprise, the Doori singer took on his role as such a pro, we did not realize it was his debut role.
However, another reason why the drama has attracted eye balls is due to the social taboo that it takes on right from the first episode. The drama revolves around the concept of “Ghag” and encompasses the enactment of law to combat this illegal tradition in the Pashtun culture. It is an old custom which is mostly prevalent in some parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
Ghag, a pashto word translates into a proclamation or announcement, an illegal tradition through which marriage is enforced by firing at a girl’s home declaring her as the man’s property from there after. In more humane settings, a messenger is sent to her house to inform that a particular man has decided to marry her. The woman is engaged and from there on no one else shall send her a marriage proposal. This act is carried out without the consent of the girl or her parents and in some cases it is carried out as a revenge wherein the woman remains single for life. The man in question does not even feel obliged to marrying the girl.
In 2013, the then provincial government enacted the KP Elimination of the Custom of Ghag Act 2013 on the directives of the high court and declared it an offence. However, the tradition still continues to negatively impact the lives of Pakhtun girls and women to date simply for the reason that there is a lack of mass awareness in those areas. Women and families are scared to break away from the traditions and remain unaware of legislations and legal help that could be of help to them.