“Nothing wrong if married man flirts a little bit!” – Asma Abbas

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Actor discusses her different take on marriage and how a conservative upbringing can shatter the dreams of a girl

Asma Abbas, actor, producer and the second wife of an already married man, aired her unusual views on marriage in a candid conversation with Neo TV host Wasi Shahi on his show Zabardast by insisting there is nothing wrong with a little bit of “minor flirting”. 

“My husband already had a wife when we got married,” she reminded viewers. “I believe there is no harm in a man talking to another woman when you know he is the father of your children and coming back home to you. You shouldn’t suffocate someone so much.”

Conservative upbringing

Asma’s views are a stark contrast to her very strict upbringing, where she and her four sisters were not even allowed to leave the house after dark. Sister of famed comedian and TV veteran Bushra Ansari, Asma recalled how their father, the late writer Ahmed Bashir, was dead against any of his four daughters pursuing a career in showbiz. 

“He was a very conservative man,” remarked Asma. “Our father always tried to stop us from following our aspirations. He loved us very much, but we weren’t even allowed to set foot out of the house after maghrib.”

Asma attributed part of the problem to society’s views on the film and television industry itself. 

“I don’t understand why people can’t respect showbiz the way they respect doctors, teachers, and bankers,” she stated. “No one works as hard as we do. Sometimes we even slog fourteen hours a day! Every profession has the same problems, but people think only our profession is bringing society down.”

Asma rued how her sister Bushra, although now a big name in the TV industry, initially bore the brunt of their strict father, and wasn’t able to spread her wings until she met her husband. According to Asma, Bushra was allowed to act as a child, but their father was by no means happy about her joining the profession as an adult.

“Bushra Api was bursting with talent,” Asma recalled. “She was something else altogether. Why would you try to stop a child like that?”

Asma is adamant that her sister was only able to break free from the shackles of their father’s rules after meeting her husband Iqbal Ansari. 

“You will note that Bushra Api is never known as Bushra Bashir; she has always been known to everyone as Bushra Ansari, because she didn’t start her work until she met her husband,” pointed out Asma. 

Letting your daughters break free

Asma was adamant that her daughter Zara Noor Abbas did not suffer the same way, but unfortunately, Zara, too, initially was the product of a strict father who did not allow her to act in school plays. 

“Why doesn’t our society fulfil the dreams of their daughters?” questioned Asma as she recalled that Zara had to hide her school acting career from her father. Asma illustrated the consequences of that upbringing, as Zara fled to America to rush into a failed marriage twinned with the hopes of starting a film career in her new abode. 

“And we all know what happened then,” remarked Asma, referring to how Zara had to return home when her marriage collapsed shortly thereafter. 

However, Asma is happy that things have turned around for Zara and that she now has been able to follow her dreams and have a successful career.  

“When dealing with children, we shouldn’t use the word permission; we should give advice,” said Asma, and added. “When a woman is financially strong, she can do anything she wants.”

With such strong views on allowing girls and women to find their feet and spread their wings, it is small wonder that Asma has broken free of her strict upbringing and formed new pastures for the next generation to flourish in. 

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