Veena Malik: Thank you so much. I am so happy to be talking to you. I am speaking to you from Bombay today.
Gabrielle Reilly: Wonderful. I was out at dinner the out other night in America and you were the main topic of conversation. In fact many people are talking about your Frontline interview and how well you defended yourself against the verbal attacks. You're such a great ambassador for Pakistan. How did you come to have such a strong and independent voice?
Veena Malik: I would say being a woman. When I started my career for the first time as a school girl I have been facing such people who attacked me for just being a woman. I belong to a society where it is a male dominant society. They call A woman a bad name for doing the same thing as a man. I did not know there was a trap set by that TV anchor in the interview. I did not know there was going to be a Mullah on the show. I went there to clear a few misunderstandings which people of Pakistan had about my show. But the Frontline interview only went like that because of the silly allegations that were made against me. I could not take that. I had to defend myself and I did that.
Gabrielle Reilly: Well it was a fascinating interview that has gone viral around the world. I have the greatest respect for traditions of all countries but I can't understand the culture of honor killings. In most wealthy countries around the world, honor is earned, AND CANNOT BE FORCED. It is earned by acting honestly and not being corrupt, by treating people kindly and with respect, and by cherishing and protecting your family even when they have fallen down or having a bad time. This is what helps the family, the community and the country prosper. It is the secret to wealth and happiness that many families and countries enjoy around the world.
So how does such a kind loving Pakistani like you feel about honor killings?
Veena Malik: Even if you look into recent times people kill their daughters. If Pakistan even today, if a woman does not bring a dowry they burn those women to death. If a man is being a useless husband he is left untouched. They do not give him any punishment. As a woman this is the social double standard that I have been facing all of my life. Even on the Frontline interview, there is so many silly accusations about me from the Cleric who did not even watch my entire show. America and Europe are far better societies for the woman. Where I am living I am facing these problems from the very beginning. Sadly, unfortunately, all those things are still there... honor killings and all the miseries of the society against women. Even in today's world all those things people read about are still there.
Gabrielle Reilly: Honor is handled differently by men around the world. As an example, look at the US Presidential candidates (whether you like them or not) on how they can attack each other throughout the campaign and then are friends after the elections. The Presidents recognize that half of the people will love them and half of the people will hate them before they even open there mouths. It is the job of their opponent to show there faults so they don't take it personally; they just recognize that is how the world works so they can just laugh it off and personally flourish. In fact this is one of the secrets that make leaders so successful. If they were stuck in revenge thinking they could not prosper.
I actually have empathy for the men who are raised in a culture where there honor and self worth is dependent on their women. Nor is honor ever worth killing for. Could Mothers perhaps educate their sons that they should not have to depend on any woman for their honor?
Veena Malik: The women of Pakistan need to have trust in themselves. When I was on the show, it was just a reality show and I am just an entertainer doing my job. When I went back to Pakistan the people were criticizing me. They are only satisfying their own self, feeling like they are the better people and the person they are criticizing is the worst person. On the show I knew that I was the only person supporting me, I'm the only person supporting myself. So I decided that no matter the consequences or what the results are from being a woman, I have my prestige and my fan base so I had to stand up and I did that. Even now there are girls that are praising me and appreciating me. The one suggestion I have for them is instead of praising me and appreciating me they should stand up in society. I have lots of experience with that. When I was a little girl I have seen all those things, my Dad hitting my Mum, I could see all those bruises when I was just a little kid. He would hit her without any reason. This is the misery of our society. I have to pay a price being a woman. It is so unfair.