The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) has banned a contraceptive advertisement featuring actress Mathira Mohammed citing it too vulgar for the country's conservative outlook.
The commercial tagged 'controversial' and 'indecent' features Mathira as a newlywed with her nerdy husband and another inquisitive couple. There are no traces of nudity and the only message is that of a suggestive gesture.
However, the regulatory body banned the contraceptive advertisement calling it "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," said PREMA in an official statement.
Supermodel Mathira, who is generally known for her unabashed views on sexuality, felt the matter was blown out of proportion.
"It's so sad and so over-hyped," she said, reported NBC News. "We party hard. We drink. We wear little dresses and do all the things people across the world do when they party. But that's all ignored! And here's a positive effort to do something constructive for a country that needs it, and they ban it!"
"I did it (the commercial) because Pakistanis need awareness. Sexual education is compulsory for kids all over the world, but not here. They need it to avoid being harassed," she added.
For the conservative, Islamic nation, the condom advertisement is aimed at overriding the social stigma attached with condom use in the face of the increasing population and to convey HIV awareness.
Juan Enrique Garcia, country director of the condom manufacturer DKT Pakistan, speaking of the commercial's purpose said, "Our ads featuring Mathira are a major step to build contraception demand through mass media and non-traditional communication," reported Herald Online.
"By emphasizing the quality and 'cool factor' of the product, we can reduce the social stigma of condom use and target all socio-economic groups to promote family planning," he added.
The reactions to the advertisement were varied among the masses. Some slammed the commercial as offensive and against Pakistan's culture while a few called the ban unacceptable since the advertisement carried a social message.
According to United Nation's data, Pakistan witnesses an average of 1.8 percent growth per year and holds the sixth largest population tag with 173 million people.