Turkish actor Engin Altan (right) who plays Ertugrul in the TV show with Lahore businessman Mian Kashif Zameer | Special arrangement

It seems like a lifetime when Ertugrul was imposed as a bona fide hero by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Pakistan. If it was possible, Ertugrul would have been named the first Pakistani ever. But all the hard work didn’t go to waste after all. Ertugrul Ghazi, the father of the founder of Ottoman dynasty and the destroyer of infidels and stuff like that, landed in Pakistan to rule the hearts and minds of the citizens and even get a gig or two, or not.

When the statue of Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh was being vandalised for the second time at Lahore Fort, Erutgrul’s statues stood tall in a residential community in the city. The man arrested for breaking the arm of Ranjit Singh’s statue was a supporter of hard-line cleric Khadim Hussain Rizvi and was of the view that Singh’s statue shouldn’t have been built at all because he committed atrocities against Muslims during his rule. At least Ertugrul’s statue, carrying a sword and riding a horse, faces no such sudden fury. Not only statues but a Sindhi inspiration of the Turkish show, Dirilis: Ertugrul, an Ertugrul Ghazi chicken shop and even Ertugrul Ghazi family restaurant have popped up in Pakistan.

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Also read: Imran Khan is binge-watching Ertuğrul during Covid, recommending Turkish shows to Pakistanis


The ambassador of a fraud 

Engin Altan aka Ertugrul’s host in Lahore was a blingy TikToker and a local businessman. Mian Kashif Zameer himself is no less than a star, only if Neftlix discovers his talent of making friends in higher places and walking around with four kilograms of gold jewellery and keeping a lion as a pet. He could even get his own version of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Zameer roped in Altan as a global brand ambassador for his Chaudhry Group of Companies, signing a million-dollar deal. The chief minister of Punjab, Usman Buzdar, facilitated the Turkish actor with a House Shield and a rifle. Altan even expressed desire to work in a Pakistani film or drama. Everything was looking up, it seemed as if PM Imran Khan had delivered on his promise of people coming from abroad to find jobs in Naya Pakistan. But then there was a twist in the kahaani.

The gold-laden TikToker turned out to be a wanted felon with as many as eight cases of fraud, robbery, betrayal of trust and car theft against him in Lahore, Toba Tek Singh and Sialkot. On Wednesday, police arrested Zameer in Lahore for threatening a local TV journalist for reporting on his criminal record. This is the Pakistani brand Ertugrul is an ambassador of.

Not only that, news reports suggested that Zameer only paid half of the promised $1 million to his ambassador. But Zameer, in an earlier statement, had said that haters are hating on him because he was the first one to bring Ertugrul to Pakistan and 50 per cent payment was part of the contract. Jealousy was the reason, according to him. However, no official statement has come from the Turkish actor so far.


Also read: Pakistani TV asks if it’s time to accept Israel. The answer is above Imran Khan’s paygrade


You can profit only so much

All good things come to an end, but with such horror? That 4 kg gold is said to be only gold plated, the cars he uses aren’t his, the house he lives in isn’t owned by him. Was his clout of famous and powerful people real? And the pet lion, was it even asli? Zameer is Pakistan’s Bunty and Babli combined. As they say, Ertugrul ko chuna lag gaya. Wonder what the real Ertugrul with his Dirilis Axe would have done? Small mercies this Ertugrul isn’t the real one.

The trend of profiting from Ertugrul actors has continued throughout the year. The lead actress of the show, Esra Bilgic, also known as Halima baji (Halima Sultan) is now the face of a leading Pakistani clothes line, a mobile phone company, a telecommunication company and even a housing society. The same Halima baji whose posts on Instagram weren’t considered “decent enough”. But Ertugrul wasn’t lucky enough to even get a corner plot in Naya Pakistan — so much for the man who is a national hero.

In the past, Pakistani actors have spoken up against the government ignoring the talent at home while celebrating foreign content. In one scathing comment, actor Yasir Hussain had mentioned that local talent is “ghar ki murgi” and even garbage from abroad is considered profitable. Even in the times of coronavirus, when the industry has faced economic challenges, the government support has been missing while the focus remains on promoting Turkish dramas one after the other — that too, at a great diplomatic risk of irking the kingdom of Saudi Arabia by popularising Ertugrul.

The author is a freelance journalist from Pakistan. Her Twitter handle is @nailainayat. Views are personal.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. This so called fraud tiktoker hero story starts when this tiktoker didnt allow a journalist selfi with ertugrul, the entire clan of blackmailers journalists became anti of this tiktoker and now you all know the rest.?

  2. Shame on you for writing such a baseless slanderous article on the host of Engin Altan (Erturul).
    Note that the Turkish actor was invited to Pakistan to sign up for the Contract for modelling, for the hosts company textile products and chain of retail outlets, and there is no question of cheating of the actor as he will make himself available only if the terms of the contract are met.
    Why the haste on your part to give away the Contact amount even before the work is yet to begin ??
    It does no good to you nor to the Print to post such a unverified write ups by amateurs haters.

  3. After Pervez Hoodboy,Naila Inayat stands as one of few good columnists left in Porkistan. Else, most of them are like living in ertugul wonderland. The insecurity they carry is justified given that fact they are Hindus once upon a time converted either forcefully or because of financial reasons(avoid Jizya).

  4. how pathetic of this author to write this. seems like u come from an upper class family who looks for nothing but shame nudity and drama. u sounded like crap. u r journalism license shud be taken away

  5. Shame on both Indians and Pakistanis. Both have no solid platform to be proud. Had they been only Indians and Pakistanis with character, they would have been best neighbours, economically independent and not dependent on foreign support and help. Though India has succeeded in economic and educational fields but lacks so much in coexistence and controversial policies at home that it has ruined its successes in other fields. On the other side, Pakistan has not done anything to boast around except religious extremism, uneducated population and plundering the national wealth.
    Atom bombs or ridiculing each other is not the solution for both. Both have put their future generations on the path with dead ends and failures. Both side need to get rid of yellow journalism, corrupt leaders and religious bigotry for some better future!

    • Is it necessary to drag India into a controversy which is purely an internal paki bullshit? This is the mentality that pulled down the neighborly relationship between the two countries where the smaller one is in constant conflict ridden comparison with the bigger neifubour and wants to pull the latter down with it.

  6. Did expected THE PRINT to write something so wrongly .as if its written by some illiterate Indian supporter who has all hate for Pakistan
    Very bad

    • Naila Inayat is a very good journalist from a illiterate country. Looks like surrender army still hasn’t got to her.

  7. It is important for Pakistanis to be able to get some happiness in their lives in the Naya Pakistan project which is taking their economy into a difficult zone. Their problem is not temporary or a structural one. It currently has no real solution. In such a crisis, if using foreign heroes to motivate yourself is practised, we should welcome it. At least they are feeling positive and happy . A happy nation hopefully stops hating neighbours.

  8. As a Pakistani I loved watching Ertugrul, as I’ve watched US and Indian dramas but Ertugrul created a religious and cultural and linguistic affinity, looking forward to binge watching of Kirilus Usman. As for the writers frustration who cares when this series has been the most viewed in 0akistans history. I do hope this pushes PTV to produce a series on the Delhi sultanate and the Mughal empire. As for the writer who is a self hating imbecile,, she would most.probably prefer some crap from the US or India to be aired instead. Kudos to PM IK for getting this drama aired on PTV, the more our people move away from watching bollywood crap and thereby Indian culture the better.

  9. Actually there is nothing interesting going on in the neighborhood. Hence all the eyes on Pakistan and its Nation.

    Bytheway, in India such con’s and crimes are much higher and record breaking. Remind you of bunty aur babli.

  10. There are some rumors floating around that this author was created as a fictional identity by Shekhar Gupta. Is that true, Mr. Gupta?

  11. The author as well as publisher of this article is so frustrated by drama series “Ertugrul” to write and publish such kind of pathetic and ugly article. You people are showing your ethics and moral values that you learned by your parents. Try to raise your level and character in order to gain fame. You can’t get fame by criticizing someone until your death.

    • You people consider invaders(those who commited atrocities on your ancestors (especially the Punjabis and Sindhis)) as your heroes and the people who fought for your ancestors against those invaders like Maharaja Ranjit Singh are considered as villains in Pakistan. That’s what this article tries to convey.

      • Well said. Most Pakistanis are probably aware of History only from 1947 and hence take pride in appropriating Turkish heroes.

  12. They are a race filled with servile hatred for India. But they themselves can do nothing, not even make good movies. They are ever ready to call Arabs, Turks, Uzbeks, even Muslims from Chechniya only to get a validation for their existence. They have no self-respect.

  13. If only Pakistanis remain Pakistanis, they can prosper and stand on its two feet.
    But NO, they need foreign icons to instill some pride in themselves.
    That is how much self respect they LACK.

  14. Pakistan has ertugral founder of the ottoman empire a its hero and India has Sunny Leone. this says it all.

    • Indian use Leon in their own way and Altan uses Pakistanis in its own way.
      That is the difference, if you could understand.

    • Actually Pakistan has osama bin laden as hero while India has Gandhi and Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. This says it all.

    • There isn’t an iota of doubt that Sunny Leone is more popular in Pakistan than all the actors of this fictional series combined.

      • who says it is fictional series open your eyes read and search in google then you will know about turkish history why dragging ertrugrul and history unnecessarily in this matter this is not fictional or mythological so plz search before reply

      • While Indians masses draw their motivation from Savarkar, Golwaker and Nuremberg Race laws, Pakistani people drawing their enthusiasm and passion from a muslim turkish leader should not be a problem. You see Pakistanis find it inspiration that a local fighter from a small tribe laid foundation of an empire that ruled parts of three continents over 600 years, just like you Hindus find inspiration in how Nazi party worked at creating a unified Aryan block. The only difference being, pakistani goverment has not start acting on the legend or we would be seeing hordes of Muslim men invading India and expanding Pakistan,However Mr. Modi is actually working on his Nazi / sangh inspiration, which can be seen in recent legislations like CAA, anti-interfaith marriage act, farmers laws and operations like Gau rakhsha and Love jihad.
        Before Indians start commenting on pakistan better look at yourself.

        • Indians do not and have never supported Nazi party. We have our own national icons from Chhatrapati Shivaji, Akbar the great and Mahatma Gandhi. But pakistani people do not have an iota of self respect that is why they at first claimed arab descent and now claiming turkish descent. As for hordes of muslims attacking India, we have already kicked your army-the army which has a state but never own a war. As for farmer law it is supported by many economists. CAA came because of your misdeeds and the anti-interfaith law is to stop forced conversions. But pakistanis killed a mentally ill man in court, are killing innocent people with those stupid blasphemy laws. We made a replacement mosque in Ayodhya. You stopped building of Krishna temple.

        • These kind of over exaggerated opinions will never wake you up from the maulana times kinda news….. Get a lif dumb ass

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