Islamabad: Pakistan’s media regulator pulled the plug on a condom commercial starring one of the country’s biggest female stars on Tuesday, calling it “immoral”, after public complaints.
The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) wrote to broadcasters ordering them to take the advert for Josh condoms off air immediately.
The 50-second advertisement stars Pakistani model and actress Mathira, one of the country’s most popular stars, as a newlywed bride who makes a neighbouring couple jealous by pampering her husband.
Finally the neighbour asks the rather nerdy-looking husband how he keeps his glamorous wife so sweet and he replies: “Bring Josh into your life.”
Pemra spokesman Fakhar-ud-Din Mughal said the watchdog’s letter pointed out that the advertisement was generally being seen as “indecent, immoral and in sheer disregard to our socio-cultural and religious values”.
“Airing of such immoral advertisement on Pakistani channels and that too in the holy month of Ramadan warrants serious action,” he said.
Discussing contraception in public is taboo in Pakistan’s deeply conservative Muslim society, though some experts warn the population is growing too fast for the country’s natural resources to support.
According to the United Nations a third of Pakistanis have no access to birth control and its 180 million population is growing by more than two per cent a year.
Around a third of Pakistanis who want birth control have no access to it, according to UN and government statistics.
Josh condoms are marketed in Pakistan by DKT International, a US-based non-profit organisation that works to promote family planning and HIV/Aids prevention in the developing world.