KARACHI: One of the sessions of Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) was extraordinarily lively and vigorous to welcome the the Oscar-winning Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. Sighting her arrival, visitors cheered and clapped in jubilation.
Sharmeen’s session highlighted the issues we face as a country but also highlighted those individuals who are bringing change and are fighting for these causes to make others’ lives easier and this country a better place to live in.
The Jasmine hall was packed with children and adults alike, everyone who was curious to see her work and those people who were genuinely interested in what Sharmeen had been working on.
The session moderated by Bina Shah, showcased two of Sharmeen’s films, Ho Yaqeen: Syeda Fatima and Humaira: The Dreamcatcher.
Humaira: The Dreamcatcher kick-started the session. The film is about Humaira, an aspiring female who in her village hopes to construct a school for children whose parents aren’t educated and they are the first generation in their families to get educated.
After the film ended, Sharmeen told the audience that the school had almost completed construction, a statement that was welcomed with a lot of applause.
Sharmeen mentioned earlier when the session started that she had invited a ‘special guest’. The special guest was Khalida Brohi, a girl from Balochistan who was fighting against honour killings in her village. Sharmeen made a documentary on the problems she faces as she seeks out to fight against this issue.
The trailer for Seeds of Change, the documentary about Khalida was well received by the audience that led to a standing ovation for Khalida. Sharmeen later mentioned that Khalida had traveled to New York with her and met Bill Clinton and Bono from U2.
Khalida laughed and told the audience: “Bono held my hand for an hour (and I didn’t know who he was) so I asked him, ‘What do you do’ and he said ‘I run a charity’. I googled him when I got home from the charity event.”
Sharmeen spoke about how change in our country is a constant struggle and she stressed on how people should talk rather than live in silence.
“Our country does not have an image, so how can it be ruined?” Sharmeen said firmly.
“I find inspiration in the strength of women and their struggle. I believe that women are Pakistan’s most powerful asset.”