Representation of minorities in the Media: Ahmadis

This film takes a brief look at the issues that have affected the Ahmadi community and examines how constitutional amendments have been used to deny members of this sect the rights of citizenship in Pakistan. It also looks at the production of discourse both by the media and the state to identify how Ahmadis have been treated and presented, showing how Ahmadis have been systematically demonized by the media as well as how their historic contributions towards the state of Pakistan have also been conveniently erased.

Representation of minorities in the Media: The Mandir

This film shows the role of media corporations in inciting hatred towards minorities in Pakistan. It follows the case of the ‘Krishna Mandir’, a new temple that was to be built for the three thousand or more Hindus living in Islamabad, who currently have little or no access to any place of worship. We see the extent to which targeted electronic and social media campaigns are able to mould and manipulate the population at large, and in this case how the government had to reverse its initial decision to allow funds to be provided for construction of the temple complex. The film concludes by saying that the neoliberalisation of the media in Pakistan has reduced news coverage to sensational, unethical reporting.

Representation of minorities in the Media: The Defenders

This film highlights the roles of individual activists in safeguarding the rights of minorities where the state has failed them. Through the contributions of three activists, Mary James Gill, a lawyer and activist, Krishan Sharma, an activist and member of HRCP, and Syed Zafar Abbas Jafri, who spearheads the JDC foundation, we see how these individuals have been working towards the rights of minorities: be it forced conversions, rights of sanitation workers or the welfare of minority communities. Despite threats from extremists, social taboos, and prejudice, they remain steadfast in their dedication to their cause.

Minorities and Social Pariahism

This film shows the pervasiveness of anti-Ahmadi sentiment within Pakistani society. We are introduced to a young man who was recently discovered to be of the Ahmadi faith by his friend. As a result, he tells us of the measures he had to take to protect his own life from danger. In following his story we are made aware of the extent of systematic discrimination members of the Ahmadi community constantly have to face.

Minorities and Section 295-C

The film explores the plight of non-Muslims in Pakistan who have to contend with the misuse of blasphemy laws against them. By focusing on the story of a Christian mechanic who was charged with blasphemy for rightfully demanding money owed from his client, the film highlights how Section 295-C has become a tool for exploitation and oppression of non-Muslim minority groups.

Minorities and Terror Attacks

This film looks at the terror attack in Peshawar’s All Saints Church and its aftermath for those who suffered from it. While adequate surgery would have healed the wounds the Christian community had to bear, the mental trauma of being targeted by that attack still remains fresh for many. The fear that a similar assault may occur once more lingers on, as does the stigma and oppression of being a minority.

The story of Abdul Sattar Edhi

In the early 1950’s Abdul Sattar Edhi opened a free medical dispensary and an ambulance service. He was a pioneer in a movement to establish free and universal healthcare in the newly formed state of Pakistan. This film was inspired by the story of young Edhi and recounts the journey of how this extraordinary man came to be one of Pakistan’s greatest humanitarian figures and that change begins with a celebration of love and tolerance.

Kulsoom Hazara, The Karate Wonder

Kulsoom Hazara was born in Quetta. After the loss of both her parents at the age of 7, Kulsoom began to live with her brother-in-law Sarwar Ali, who trained her to become one of Pakistan’s leading Karate champions. This is her inspiring story of how wanting to prove herself and making her elders proud, drove her to not only go on to become an international Karate champion but also to alter mindsets and become a role model for other Hazara girls.

The Story of Aitzaz Hasan

15-year-old Aitzaz Hasan was on his way to school when he and his friends spotted a man wearing a suicide vest. Intercepting the bomber, Aitzaz saved his friends but lost his life in the process. Based on true events this film highlights the heroic efforts of a young boy who sought to stand up to intolerance and violence, to protect those he loved.

Khalsabad: A story of human unity and coexistence

In 2009 riots swept through the district of Gojra, Punjab. Churches were destroyed and many Christians lost their lives. Told from the perspective of two young best friends, and inspired by true events, this film is about co-existence and unity in the face of adversity. This is the story of how the people of Khalsabad village came together to rebuild their community.

The day she lost everyone

The Christian minority community, in conservative Peshawar-KPK, is still recovering from a destructive bomb attack that claimed the lives of 127 innocent people in September 2013, at Peshawar’s All Saints church.

The story centres on the traumatic loss of a woman and her struggles in the aftermath of the attack. Losing her husband, daughter and son on the same day in the bomb attack changed her life forever, and while still deeply traumatized and still struggling to recover from the psychological effects induced by the devastating attack, she shares fond memories of her family and how the senseless act of terror that September day still haunts her.

A city in fear of mob violence

The story centers in and around the city of Ghotki in Sindh, a city with one of the largest populations of Hindus in Pakistan, where a spell of rioting took place after a 14-year-old Muslim student accused his Hindu headmaster of committing blasphemy by insulting the Prophet Muhammad.

A young businessman and a local shop owner describe the feelings of fear, anger, and uncertainty they feel for their families and community after the riots ended.

The truth behind forced faith

The story centers on forced conversions and marriages of Hindu girls in Sindh. We hear firsthand about Hindu girls who have been abducted and forced to convert to Islam, as well as Hindu community leaders about the phenomenon of forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh and the motivating forces behind these abductions.

The Ahmadi Youth experience

The constitution of Pakistan declares the Ahmadiyya sect non-Muslim and makes an exception by not allowing Ahmadis the right of freedom to practice their religion. This constitutional amendment, made in 1974, incentivized Islamic fundamentalist elements to openly discriminate against Ahmadis, and have their behaviour protected by the law.

Our story focuses on a young 23-year-old student belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect. He describes his lived experience in Pakistan as an Ahmadi student in Lala Musa and how a former friend launched a vicious defamation campaign against him.

He talks about how being targeted in this way affected him, and what kind of prejudices Ahmadis face on a daily basis – from discrimination in the workplace to being denied basic services in markets and shopping centres.

The killing fields of Karachi

Over the past few decades, Shias in Pakistan from all socio-economic backgrounds, have been increasingly victimized and targeted in a succession of attacks and killings.

In this episode, we hear the story of a daughter who tells the tragic story of her father’s brutal killing, a practising doctor in the city of Karachi. The experiences of a Shia family living in Pakistan’s most cosmopolitan city are recounted, as they contemplate an uncertain future in the country.

Legal and Social Aspects of minority discrimination

We speak to veteran Human rights activist, advocate, and journalist, Mr. I.A. Rehman about the various legal and social aspects of minority discrimination in Pakistan. We discuss different minority groups and the different types of discriminatory behaviour they face.

Mr. Rehman helps us to understand the historical contexts of certain legal constraints formulated to treat minorities as second-class citizens and discuss the manifestation of these legalities through discriminatory social behaviours against minorities in Pakistan.

A Hazara poet in Quetta

Ahmadis: Discourse by Media and State

In this episode, we hear from a young boy belonging to the Hazara ethnoreligious community, who lost his father and elder brother in a terrorist attack that targeted a bus full of Shia pilgrims returning from Iraq.

This already marginalized community frequently comes under attack by militants, primarily because of their Shia faith and different appearance, making them an easy target.

While the event changed the boy’s outlook on life in an instant and pushed him into a spiral of depression, he started to channel his emotions by composing poetry signifying the anguish of loss and the experience of living restricted in a ghettoized environment in Quetta, Balochistan.

A young Hazara/Baloch rights activist also shares her personal accounts of the systematic targeting of Hazaras in Quetta, as well as talking about the struggles of the Hazara youth community in the region.