Famous Pakistani actor Haseeb Pasha, who played Hamoon Jadugar on PTV’s Ainak Wala Jin, recently vented his frustrations to Hafiz Ahmed in a podcast interview about the distribution of the Pride of Performance award.
Haseeb Pasha claimed that the prize, which honours outstanding achievements in the arts, had eluded him for four years in a row, with one year seeing the honour go to the well-known actress Mehwish Hayat. Pasha has subtly questioned the selection process and called for acknowledgement of artists dedicated to children’s programmes in response to this unexpected turn of events, sparking controversy within the artistic world.
When Pasha was asked about receiving an award, he said, “When Ata Ul Haq Qasmi became Chairman of PTV, he had seen my drama three to four times.” He was on the committee that decided I should get the Pride of Performance award, and he said I deserved it for all my hard work. I was taken aback, but delighted, by the news. He stated that he would submit my name for the honour. He officially submitted my name to Islamabad with his signature. The officers gave their stamp of approval, too.
However, Pasha disclosed that once he arrived in Islamabad, his name would be removed from the wanted poster. Telling the host, “I don’t know, but my name was no longer there,” he expressed his confusion. Again the next year, he forwarded my name. My name has been put forward for the Pride of Performance award for the past four years. My award always seemed to go to a long-dead musician or actor right before the announcements were made.
He continued, “I heard that some serial actor named Mehwish Hayat—I don’t know her—was handed my honour.” In my mind, I was thinking, “Fine, the person who has worked for children for forty years, there’s nothing for him. This lady delivered a stunning performance in that one serial, and you awarded it to the kid. Consider this.
Pasha continued to vent his frustration, saying, “I don’t know what kingly jinns are sitting in Islamabad who would keep knocking off my name.” Please check out my resume if you’re still listening. I’ve been doing this kind of work for kids for four decades. And there isn’t any kid-friendly art around here. We’ve played in front of live audiences, on television, and all over the globe; respect even one of those achievements. Adopt the artists who create works for kids. A prize designed for kids would do just fine. After my passing, do you intend to give it Essentially, why bother? It’s important to remember that not every year can produce a winner from the pool of submitted artists’ names.
Pasha is a well-known character in Pakistan’s entertainment business, having spent the past four decades entertaining and teaching young audiences through his work. His dedication to the youth of today through his concerts, TV broadcasts, and international appearances has won him a legion of devoted followers.
He used his memory of meeting Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan in Dubai to demonstrate this point. “I met Shah Rukh,” Pasha said proudly. My young son really enjoyed spending time with him. He had a serious crush on Shah Rukh Khan. I told Khan Sahab, “My son is completely head over heels for you.” “My brother, all of India is crazy about you,” he said to me as he embraced me.
Pasha also reflected on the relevance of his work, noting that current political figures have appreciated his creations ahead of schedule. The first screening of Ainak Wala Jin was reserved for Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his wife, Bakhtawar Bhutto. They would predict that “today this will happen” before heading off to class.
Hayat is well-known in Pakistan’s theatre community and has won critical acclaim for her stellar performances. Before winning the award in 2019, Hayat had appeared in films including Jawani Phir Nahi Ani, Actor in Law, Punjab Nahi Jaungi, Jawani Phir Nahi Ani 2, and Load Wedding. Since then, with her participation in Ms. Marvel, the celebrity has tested the international waters. Therefore, Hayat’s contemporary contributions to television and film are also significant and should not be ignored.
The Tamgha-i-Imtiaz, commonly known as the Medal of Excellence, is a state-sponsored award given to any citizen in Pakistan in recognition of their achievements. Hayat was the recipient of this accolade. Apparently, what Pasha has in mind is Pakistan’s top national literary honour, the Pride of Performance honour, which is given for excellence in a wide variety of professions, including but not limited to the arts, sciences, athletics, and the medical profession. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan awards it to its citizens and may even confer it on non-citizens.