Asma Nabeel loses battle with cancer after winning hearts across showbiz
A post made on Asma Nabeel’s Facebook page broke the news of the screenwriter’s passing on Thursday night. It read, “Inna lillahi wa inna illay hay raajaoon. It is with a heavy heart that I have to break this news that my bhabi Asma Nabeel is no longer with us,” followed by funerary details.
Although Asma’s body of work is limited, her impact and popularity are undeniable. The screenwriter worked on the hit show Khaani, as well as several other television serials including Khuda Mera Bhi Hai, Baandi and Surkh Chandni. Asma wrote strong characters who were part of important stories on pertinent topics, with Surkh Chandni depicting the life of an acid attack victim and how she speaks up against the injustice done to her. It also acknowledges and emphasises the legislation of acid and burns crime bills.
Khuda Mera Bhi Hai starred Aisha Khan as Mahgul, who gives birth to an intersex child. The series talks about many important topics such as domestic abuse, how divorce is considered taboo, social pressures, and most importantly, the rights of transgender people and intersex individuals in Pakistani society.
Khaani, starring Feroze Khan and Sana Javed, shot to nationwide fame and propelled the lead actors to greater heights in the showbiz industry.
The writer was also known for her activism with reference to breast cancer awareness. “Keep your faith strong and fight it out; that is the key to success and survival,” she said to those who were fighting the disease.
In a 2016 event report of The Express Tribune, Asma had said that the most important aspect of breast cancer, which is the word ‘breast’ itself, is considered taboo in our society. “Why must we feel ashamed of our body part, why can we not just talk about it normally?” she asked. Asma related her experiences during her visit to universities where she spoke about breasts and caused girls to laugh and boys to smirk. I told them that there is nothing funny about breast cancer and one must not feel shame about his or her body parts, she said.
There is still a lot to do in terms of creating awareness among society about breast cancer, she said. “When people are shy of talking about it, the risk of cancer increases,” she warned.
“Spread awareness among your social circle and ask them to spread it to others so that the message goes out to everyone,” she told her audience.
Tributes poured in as soon as the news of the writer’s death was made public, with prominent members of the film and television industry tweeting in memory of the late writer.