Twitter has been ablaze this past week with angry celebrities lashing out at stars who have chosen to fly off to Toronto, Canada to attend and perform at the 8th HUM Awards, arguing that they should stay back and help with flood-relief efforts in Pakistan.
The stars are now responding.
This week also marked the visit of Hollywood actor and humanitarian Angelina Jolie who was in town to survey and visit flood-affected regions, with US-based organization, the International Rescue Committee. After a visit to families in Dadu, Sindh, and the National Flood Response Coordination Centre on Wednesday, she stated:
“I am absolutely with you in pushing the international community to do more. I feel like we say that often, we speak of aid appeals and relief and support but this is something very, very [different]. I think this is a real wakeup call to the world about where we are at, that climate change is not only real and it’s not only coming, it’s very much here.”
Earlier this week, politician Sharmila Faruqui sharply rebuked a host of Pakistani celebrities, with a few exceptions, for not doing enough for communities in their region. On Instagram, she posted images of celebrities in Toronto, Canada, juxtaposed with those of Jolie’s visit to interior Sindh. Her scathing note stated,
“Here is Angelina Jolie visiting our worst flood affected district Dadu, spreading love and hope, appealing to the international community to come for our help.
“On the other hand, are our Pakistani shining stars all in Toronto for Hum TV awards, making merry and ready for some scintillating performances,” she wrote, sharing pictures of Hania Aamir and Farhan Saeed, Saboor Aly, Nomi Ansari, Iqra Aziz and Adeel Hussain at the Edge Walk at the CN Tower in Toronto and Urwa Hocane at dance practice.
She left out Hadiqa Kiani, who has been actively campaigning for flood-relief efforts under her charity Vaseela.
Celebrities responded with their own feisty statements, responding how the show is a fundraiser event, where a portion of the ticket sales will be donated.
Ushna Shah issued a statement, saying that a portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated for flood relief efforts with Ahmed Ali Butt, Zhalay Sarhadi, Mariyam Nafees and Nadia Hussain defending those in attendance. They said they are just doing their job, while others argued how they in fact have been raising awareness and campaigning for funds, in their capacities as well.
Earlier on Friday, actor Azfar Rehman withdrew from the Hum Awards as a show of solidarity with flood victims, announcing how he is requesting his ticket be donated.
The CEO of HUM Network appreciated the network’s employees for contributing a day of their salaries to the fund.
Prior to the show, HUM TV also held a fundraising gala in Toronto in order to raise funds for relief and rehabilitation efforts.
In a press release, the network stated that apart from the artists who travelled for the HUM Awards, the gala night was supported by Pakistani designers Shamsha Hashwani, Sana Safinaz, Nilofer Shahid, Faiza Samee, Rizwan Beyg, Sania Maskatiya and more.