We highlight some of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s ventures that have been recognised on the global level for their razor sharp coverage of the plight brewing in the heart of Pakistan.
After returning from the US, Obaid-Chinoy noticed that poverty has forced millions of people to send their children to religious schools, which do not inculcate critical thinking and encourage their students to develop a disdain for Western life and ideals and this made her embark on a dangerous journey to track the roots of Talibanisation, reports imow.com. Obaid-Chinoy produced Terror’s Children with New York Times Television in 2002, and this cross-cultural project got her the Overseas Press Club Award, the American Women and Radio and Television Award and the South Asian Journalist Association Award.
Reinventing the Taliban
When Obaid-Chinoy returned to Karachi after graduating from university in the US, she saw the rise of a fundamentalist political party which exerted strict Islamic laws that were gradually eliminating freedom of expression. Reinventing the Taliban followed the documentarian in her travels throughout Pakistan as she exposes inequity and injustice, particularly in regard to women, according to jazba.org. In 2003, Reinventing the Taliban was awarded the Special Jury Award at the BANFF TV festival in Canada, the CINE Golden Eagle Award and the American Women in Radio and Television award.
Women of the Holy Kingdom
Women of the Holy Kingdom revolved around the silent oppression women residing in the rigid domain of Saudi Arabia face in their daily lives. In this film, Obaid-Chinoy is seen meeting with young women who embrace the Islamic traditions that so many in the West can’t understand and won’t tolerate. The documentary takes you on an eye-opening journey across the vast deserts of Saudi Arabia to show you places and faces of the Saudi monarchy and patriarchy, according to mazalien.com. In 2005, Women of the Holy Kingdom won the South Asian Journalist Association Award.
Pakistan: Children of the Taliban
Pakistan: Children of the Taliban explores Taliban recruitment strategies, their effect on youth and their methods to radicalise the country’s young and often dejected populace. The project, which revolved around the lives of children who were brainwashed by the Taliban, earned her an Emmy award in 2010, according to media.crlc.com.
Saving Face is a documentary that tells the stories of two acid-attack survivors: Zakia and Rukhsana, their attempts to bring their assailants to justice and the charitable work of London-based, Pakistani-born plastic surgeon Dr Mohammad Jawad, who strives to help these women put this horrific act behind them and continue living. In 2012, Obaid-Chinoy became the first Pakistani to be nominated and win an Oscar with this documentary.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 28th, 2012.