Ushna Shah: our entertainment channels need to stop portraying cousin marriages

Mahnoor Jalal

Mahnoor Jalal


Ushna Shah is one of the few Pakistani actresses who has always advocated for our media channels to progress past the same old sexist, tired stories we have kept watching over and over again. This time, the actress chose to speak out against the depiction of cousin marriages that have been consistently present on our television screens. Some of the top rated television dramas last year like “Chupke Chupke” and “Hum Kahan Kay Sachay Thay” centered around a love affair between two cousins, and like us, Ushna Shah has had enough

The actress tweeted a link to a BBC Urdu article which discussed the  health effects of children who were born from cousin marriages who suffer from learning disabilities and thallassamia.

“As artists & creators we should stop encouraging cousin romances in dramas. Generations of cousin marriages have resulted in countless health issues & birth defects in children such as thallassamia & learning disabilities. Let’s take this seriously.”


Activists and other health professionals have already pointed out that cousin marriages are considered to be the highest in Pakistan among other countries, and are responsible for causing a number of health problems among children. Activist Ammar Rashid discussed the need for more public awareness to be shed on the rise of cousin marriages