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An open letter to Shaista Wahidi

An open letter to Shaista Wahidi

Dear Shaista Wahidi,

Today, I had the good (mis)fortune of catching you on your popular morning show ‘Utho Jaago Pakistan’ on a private entertainment channel. For someone who claims to be a doctor and possess a modicum of intelligence, your absolute lack of the latter coupled with your appalling sense of style was somewhat surprising to me. The subject under discussion on your show was (…wait for it) ‘maasis’ – maids if you will – or the kaam walis who come to our houses every day to dust, clean, mop, sweep  and, if we’re really lucky, sometimes cook as well. The show, supposedly, was a ‘tribute’ to the efforts that these women put into our homes. Instead, it turned out to be a strange, confounding mix of political incorrectness and distaste. Where do I begin, really? Perhaps your choice of wardrobe that was supposed to be an apt representation of the kaam walis with colours ranging from orange to pink and, let us not forget, laced with intricate, expensive embroidery. Or the fact that you chose to wear your eye make-up ’70s style or the painfully obvious (read HUGE) gold nose ring that kaam walis wear all the time.

But this is television and if you want jaw-dropping ratings, then you have to glam it up. So I’m willing to let go of your wardrobe malfunction because, after all, there is no business like show business. What I do have a problem with, however, is the mockery that you chose to make out of the women you were paying homage to. Talking in a distinct Punjabi drawl and acting out your blonde fantasies during the kaam wali ‘role-playing’ that you were engaged in, is not funny. It’s offensive.

Playing coyly with your dupatta and saying things like ‘meri dooty (duty) hai abhi’ does not mean you have a good sense of humour nor is it saluting the effort put in by that particular category of labourers. It just means you are having a few laughs at the expense of a large, underprivileged section of the society – and being politically incorrect. Interspersing the mindless banter conversation that you were having with your guests about the need for a ‘mohalla committee’ spearheaded by your friendly neighbourhood aunties to safeguard the rights of the maids does not mean you’re being profound. If anything, it serves as a flimsy cover-up for your otherwise irreverent take on the subject of maids and the problems that they are faced with. Worse still, is the fact that you invited a maid as a guest on your show and talked about how ‘her kind’ was prone to theft and gossiping, and are inclined to switch jobs/loyalties for a mere 500-rupee increase in their salary. Your condescension and ability to make fun of someone who’s already at the receiving is astounding to me. You are supposed to be a role model, Ms Wahidi – the queen of morning television, as they say. Countless women watch you with breathless anticipation every morning hoping to imbibe your pearls of wisdom into their lives in some way. At least throw them a bone, if not a potential gemstone. And, if you don’t have anything meaningful to say, then please don’t say anything at all.

Snarkily yours,


Samina Wahid Perozani is a freelance journalist.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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221 Responses to “An open letter to Shaista Wahidi”

  1. Laila Khan says:

    Thank God someone else also noticed the mostly juvenile and obnoxious behavior of Ms. Wahidi…I know it’s wrong to judge a person by just a TV Show but she is just ignorant..plain and simple…how in the world did she manage to grab the hosting job at a TV channel is beyond me..though it says a lot about the standard of some of our TV channels…If she has any sense, then she would try to drastically improve everything about herself..and I am not kidding here…she and that copycat brother(Sahir Lodhi) of hers should be banned forever if you ask me…

  2. Madiha says:

    Very well said Samina. I am so glad there are people out there who DO think like this. Shaista wahidi and many other arrogant people like her should realize that every human being deserves respect, no matter what social segment of the society they belong to!

  3. daman says:

    Hello Shaista ji,
    I am an Indian/American and catch your mornig show once in a while. I am a fan of yours inspite
    of being a doctor(professional) you are a very interesting Anchor/Hostess for a TV show. Keep up the
    good work.
    I see you have quite a few TV/Movie personalities on your show you should also invite a few bollywood TV/Movie as it will bring both the countries together.
    Once again all the best and good luck for your show!

  4. Mustafa says:

    If anyone does not like her show, do not watch it. End of your problem. Do not worry with other people’s problems because they could also end the problem by not watching her show.

  5. S. A. M. says:

    It is not easy to choose a new topic everyday. I guess we do not have the live show everyday. If it is like this the hostess should be careful. But again I would say that it is very difficult to be given the task to be a socially sensible person, entertain guest/audiences, raise relevant questions, and talk without a pause. The problems will certainly arise afterall these shows are not sripted. How many times we also regret that we should’nt have said such and such thing.

    If I keep myself in her seat I would say shaista is doing a good job but she is not always perfect. It is very to find flaws in others.

  6. Yawar Shah says:

    We should applaud Dr. Shaista for hosting the morning show, which requires good personality and knowledge on topics of interest to the viewers. She could be more effective if she is natural, just be herself. Also cut down on the gaudy decor, and plates of cakes and pastries put infront of the guests. They can have a party after the show. She should not take viewers comments negatively, but welcome them to make her show more popular. We wish her all the best.

  7. Zulekha says:

    There is one talk show host who carries herself with aplomb and also talks sense and that is Savera Nadeem on Aaj TV. The shows conducted in the past in PTV morning shows should be reviewed as they serve as a good example of how a morning show should be conducted – the lady hosts of those shows researched their topics and spoke sense. All TV channels should review their morning shows and for God’s sake stop the adulatory remarks displayed on flyers on the shows even the cooking shows – aap bahut pyari lagti hain etc etc . Highly disgusting and out of context .

  8. Sana says:

    An excellent ‘punch’ very professionally done. Hats off to you Samina!

  9. i agree with the writer

  10. javeria says:

    I absolutely agree with the writer, thumbs up for writing and taking word from our mouth to show her that she lacks the decency of being a morning show anchor and to represent the true women of Pakistan. I just don’t understand the fact that why in most morning show the anchor has to give away their abaya, designer outfit, and shoes, are the women of Pakistan like their political leaders only need charity……?? why the major emphasis is on designer clothes, and give away item in shows like Shaista Wahidi, morning with hum, and etc. Sana Tariq, the host of morning with hum used to a constructive show, but now she lost her touch as well and following the bandwagon… if they can only read this letter and to take it this criticism in positive manner, and make their shows worth to watch.


  11. Huma says:

    This letter has truly defined the mindlessness of Ms. Wahidis show… although (thank God) that i was fortunate enough to skip this show but unfortunately i was witness to bits and pieces of her other shows… This woman is too far from reality…. In the above letter , the writer mentioned that the maids change their loyalties for a mere 500 rupees…which in fact we would only realize when we put ourselves in their shoes.A 500 rupee note maybe a mac burger meal for us but for these poor workers its a huge amount.. Hats off to the writer and i hope Ms. Wahidi gets banned,just like her counterpart Ms. Nadia khan, from all the t.v channels of Pakistan..

  12. Sidra Kaleem says:

    i think about writing the same thing to these women everyday….uff im soo happy some one wrote this…..hats off…i hope it makes a difference….keep up the good work…

  13. Sidra Kaleem says:

    i think about writing the same thing to these women everyday….uff im soo happy someone wrote this…..hats off…i hope it makes a difference!!!

    keep up the goodwork!

  14. umar hayat khan says:

    I do not watch these shows as most of the morning shows are without any topic or thought. it was a time when tv shows were ethical and linguistic guide for common people. not only wahidi but majority of the ladies for example Ms Aisah Sana host of PTV morning show are with such a strange accent of language which distorts rather to build good accent. these hosts need training as how to speak out in public.

  15. Maryam says:

    someone please make Shaista Wahidi read this letter….
    i hope she takes it positively and acts on the adivces of people…… that we can be saved from her torture……….

  16. Rashid Omer says:

    I used to respect the lady Shaista Wahidi a lot when she was doing a meaningful work, perhaps three four years ago. But now her work has become just a symbol of “ITRANA” So is the brother.

  17. Makhdum Ali says:

    I normally do not see such talk shows due to obvious reasons that such shows usually disgrace the people of Pakistan I mean Punjabis, Sindhies, Baluchs and Pashtuns. On e community who migrated from outside and who received every kind of assistance from Pakistani people and now they think themselves to be owners of this country and others as of some lower status. I strongly object to the behaviour of Dr Shaista in treating Punjabi women working class and the Punjabi language in a derogatory manner. I demand an apology from her for showing insulting and derogatory behaviour to these women, who were her guests at the show. I also appreciate Mohtarma Samina Wahid for highlitening her aweful and hateful attitude.

    • Owais says:

      Makhdoom sahab you are creating a wall by saying that “One community who migrated from outside and who received every kind of assistance from Pakistani people and now they think themselves to be owners of this country” . Pakistan is everyone’s country who live here. All of us should change our mentality first before arguing on others..what Ms Shaista did was wrong but stop spreading hate among us… Our religion Islam also teaches us to love and respect everyone irrespect of language and colour.

      Pakistan Zindabad!!

  18. Momina says:

    Very well written. *applause*

    Morning shows have such great potential to reach out to an audience that will readily respond to them, but in Pakistan, the whole opportunity is pretty much boot-kicked out the window.

  19. Ali says:

    All her shows are waste of time. She clearly displays a lack of knowledge of any given subject and to top it all looks cheap.

  20. Yacyr says:

    Provocative read, indeed. Hoping that the recipient undertake the message in true spirits … i hope its not intended to demonize the lady herself, but the way she behaved or behaves particularly. Hoping you make amends in your next shows.


  21. sidra says:

    all the shows r the same now. utter nonsense is the word that comes to my mind.

  22. Mustafa says:

    If the performance of Dr. Shaista Wahidi was not satisfactory, her employers would l not keep her in the show. It is sad than even men are now back-biting women instead of appreciating the performance of a Pakistani Muslimah, your sister and my sister.

    • Nameless says:

      Not backbiting. Its an open letter and we are writing comments so that if she reads the article she will know what the public feels and perhaps she will change for the better.

    • Naushad Shafkat says:

      Sorry Mr. Mustafa but I do not see who you are referring to when you say ‘even men are now…’. Men? Dr. Shaista, some neighborhood aunties, a maasi referred to are all females.

      • Mustafa says:

        I do not mind women throwing mud on Dr. Shaista Wahidi as I know mostly women are very critical of women. But when men start to throw mud on women, it is something very disturbing to most Pakistani men and women with the exception of few.

  23. Salute to SAMINA WAHID PEROZANI, I think wrote exactly what was my mind and in lots of other many viewers. Here I also include her brother. We should speak and write, and convey our message to channels authorities.

  24. Mustafa says:

    Although… I don’t necessarily watch her show for pretty much obvious reasons LOL

    Buh.. I will say that Samina Maashaalah you did give Ms. Wahidi an excellent piece of the pie.. Hopefully, she understands all that you had to share :)

  25. nisaim says:

    samina u hv done a great job ….in fact these shows r nt fr any purpose bt to increase the inferiority complex of already complexed….infact the hosts hv no concern with sense……they r employees to do the assigned job which is waste the time of others.

  26. Akeel says:

    Somehow I hate such morning talk shows and the Wahidi show is also garbage. I instinctively reach for my remote to change the channel if accidently is turned on for this show.

  27. Hafsa says:

    Thank you.

  28. Syed Rafat Ali Jafri says:

    I think all the channels are under the influnece of Indian Media . I think though Shaista may be a doctor , there may have been a serious lacking in her training as an anchor. I think Nadia was worse but she is no better either. Geo and other channels are just money oriented and hence dont care about the quality of the show. I think Shaista should be selective, she should run her show only on weekends not every day as people get bored easily, she should concentrate on one job as here she is co producer, has her own wardrobe besides an anchor.

  29. Sehrish says:

    That was the most artistically and wonderfully crafted letter i’ve ever had my lucky fortune to come across :D i salute u lady, for the time you took out to write ths…and i whole heartedly pray that the person u were refering to gets a chance to read this. Excellent work :)

  30. Erum Khalid says:

    Dear Samina,
    It is refreshing and heartening to know that there are people out there who realise the complete lack of professional and educated presenters in Pakistani television. This is not just about Shaista Wahidi, be it Nadia Khan, Sahir Lodhi or any of the many morning show hosts there are…the bottom line is that they are pandering to the masses who apparentl lap this kind of drivel up!

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