Pakistani officials displeased at Homeland’s portrayal of Pakistan

Espionage show "Homeland" raised a furore among Pakistani officials who believed it tarnished the image of the country. —Courtesy photo

Receiving much criticism regarding the portrayal of Pakistan from the local audience, Showtime’s espionage show Homeland has now also managed to upset the diplomats who believe that the country has been shown as a "hellhole", reported New York Post.

Pakistan Embassy spokesperson Nadeem Hotiana showed his disapproval by complaining to the directors, who chose to ignore his views.

Starring Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison, the show which ended its Season Four last Sunday was binge-watched by the officials who paid close attention to the details portrayed in the show, making a list of all the loopholes.

Also read: Pakistan in Homeland: Finally, an accurate portrayal!

Speaking to New York Post, Hotiana said, “Maligning a country that has been a close partner and ally of the US... is a disservice not only to the security interests of the US but also to the people of the US.”

The spokesperson was also upset about the depiction of Islamabad, which is known for its lush green landscapes and serene environment.

“Islamabad is a quiet, picturesque city with beautiful mountains and lush greenery,” one source said. “In Homeland, it’s portrayed as a grimy hellhole and war zone where shootouts and bombs go off with dead bodies scattered around. Nothing is further from the truth.”

A known fact, instead of shooting scenes in the capital, Homeland's Islamabad scenes were shot in Cape Town, South Africa.

Along with the landscape, the officials pointed at the producers for tarnishing the language spoken by the locals.

“The Pakistani characters portrayed in the show speak English like Americans would,” a source said. “Also, when the characters in the show speak Urdu, the accent is far from the local accent.

“And the connotations of some of the Urdu words that are used are out of place.”

However the most questionable misrepresentation noticed by the officials was regarding the stance of Pakistan toward democracy and its treatment of terrorists.

“Repeated insinuations that an intelligence agency of Pakistan is complicit in protecting the terrorists at the expense of innocent Pakistani civilians is not only absurd but also an insult to the ultimate sacrifices of the thousands of Pakistani security personnel in the war against terrorism,” a source said.

Also read: Homeland season four to provide glimpse of Pakistan

“Our culture embraces Western society. Pakistan believes in the democratic system of voting in our presidents.”

“Pakistanis never embraced the dictators who, in the past, ruled the country because they took over the presidency through violent means.

Homeland makes it seem that Pakistan has contempt for Americans and its values and principles. That is not true.”

Hotiana said that he wished that producers had given more consideration to the details and more importantly the facts.

“A little research would have gone a long way,” he commented.

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