One of the most disturbing themes in Pakistani dramas is about the concept of Love and how possession and abuse are made to seem like they're a part of Love. And oh yes, we're talking about both physical and emotional abuse! I will discuss abuse and control towards women because that is shown and reinforced 99% of the time in our dramas with a romanticisation of the male protagonist who is the "Hero" because he is so intense in his love. Such portrayals feed the already problematic mindset of Pakistani people where abusing and controlling a romantic partner and mentally making her life hell is considered more than normal because the abuser makes up for it by saying "you know I love you" and I'm doing all this only because "main tumhare baghair reh nahi sakta".
An example that I would like to discuss is that of the drama "Ishq Qia" that was aired on Ary Digital last year. The male lead is Hamza (Feroz Khan) who has issues of anger and control and is in "deep love" with his friend, Hamna (Ramsha Khan). When Hamna's father marries her to someone else, Hamza marries Hamna's sister Rumi (Hania Amer) to take revenge from his girlfriend, Hamna. This is all done by Hamza while he claims to be highly in love with Hamna and continuously says "main tumhare liye kisi bhi hudd tak jaa sakta hoon". He finds this way of marrying her sister only so he can be in front of Hamna all the time and give her pain by doing so. He plans the same honeymoon destination where Hamna and her husband are going, just to make her feel pain and how she is actually guilty for not telling her sister that the person her sister is married to is Hamna's ex lover. At this point, I was like wow....all this is fundamentally against the very idea of love...You do not hurt people you love irrespective of the fact that you get to be with them or not!!
Hamza threatens Hamna continously that he will tell about their affair to Hamna's husband who will then just divorce her. Due to this, Hamna starts failing at her marriage and feels depressed and guilty all the time. Hamza shouts at her, harasses her verbally and abuses her by showing her how he is happy in his marriage with Rumi but Hamna is unhappy in marriage with her husband. The problematic part is still there that while doing all of this, Hamza claims to be in love with Hamna. His character depicts the idea that you can love a person so so much that you forget that in all this, your lover has some certain self respect, a life and most importantly "marzi". Crossing all boundaries for "your own" love which you want to win like a trophy is inherently selfish and shows a self centred mindset.
All these acts are not new to the Pakistani drama industry-Showing men to be highly in love and at the same time being abusive, possessive, and wanting to take revenge is something that makes them an intense lover and validates their love to be true. The very simplistic concept of "all is fair in love and war" is reinforced when it comes to a mans love, irrespective of the fact that this may damage the other person's life. Such confused ideas of love, possessiveness and abuse have to stop in our media so that people stop praising and trying to be like such ideals, but instead understand love in its true form which is about respect, empathy, kindness and sometimes letting go.