Faizan Javed

Documentary about the endangered Himalayan brown bears in the Deosai Plateau of Gilgit-Baltistan was screened at Khayal Festival in the Lower Gallery of Alhamra. The documentary was directed and produced by Nisar Malik of Walkabout Films together with The Give Back Project.’

The short film does not only highlight the untouched beauty of the area, but also highlights various problems faced by the local community, wildlife, flora and fauna along with raising awareness regarding the importance of preserving the ecology of the area. The film also captures some rare and outstanding images of the land and people. In 1993 establishment to protect brown bears was approved for the national park. More than 10,000 brown bears are found in National Park Deosai.

The film underlines the Deosai National Park and the conservation effort for the brown bear found only in the highlands of Gilgit-Baltistan area. It has won the Prize Protection of Nature Award offered by the League of Protection of the Birds, France Nature Environment and Nicolas Hulot Foundation for Nature and Mankind. It creates awareness about the National Parks of Pakistan, their great natural beauty and their conservation challenges.

Talking to this scribe Nisar Malik said lack of funds is the biggest issue of National Park. “They need more resources and government support to promote tourism in Deosai so that the people in Deosai might generate income. Porters charge Rs 40 per head from the foreign tourists. Tourism should be promoted so that these people should earn money and save brown bears properly. Promoting a positive image of Pakistan, and developing public pride in our national heritage is high on our list of priorities. We should encourage screenings of such films which is spreading conservation awareness as widely as possible.”

“Nisar Malik and his team in recent years have worked on projects for BBC Natural History Unit, National Geographic, Adventure One, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Channel 4 along with multinational companies, NGO’s and UN Agencies. Walkabout Films was established after the making of Planet Earth series by BBC in which Nisar Malik recorded the Snow Leopard hunt footage, after which BBC Natural History Unit commissioned for Snow Leopard - Beyond the Myth. This documentary has been aired on BBC and won international film awards in USA, France, Belgium and Canada.”

Gender discrimination &

media role

This session was moderated by Marzi Sirmid and the guests were Meeran Karim and Roshaneh Zafar. In the session Marzi Sirmid highlighted the issues women are facing in society. “Women are usually beaten by men and we told PEMRA not to show such episodes again and again. At a time when awareness of women rights has been growing worldwide, it is paradoxical that violence against women should be on the rise in countries like Pakistan. Studies by several organizations indicate 13 percent increase in violence against women in the year of 2009. In the cities of Pakistan due to rapid economic advancement there is a lot of local women rights activism. At the same time, women in rural areas are on downslide with heinous women hating practices like forced marriages, rape, acid attacks and many more,” she explained.

“I’m lucky with the people and organization I work with. My editor and the whole reporting staff always support me. We really need to educate the crime beat reporters. We should organize different seminars for the Punjab police also. We made a play with Nauman Ijaz. Danish Taimor was the leading actor in the play and he portrayed positive image of men in society. When I started my career as lady crime reporter, I told them to give me challenges. Under the ordinance, women who fail to prove rape claims are charged with committing adultery, a criminal offense. The law seems to punish the victims. Most women do not report the rape because they don’t expect to get justice and she is usually termed as culprit because a sexual act has been performed,” Marvi said. Roshaneh Zafar said there is a difference between perception and reality.

“The recognition has to be given. Women are not isolated. She has the equal rights and power to move in society as compared to men. Discrimination and violence against women in Pakistani society exists largely due to a misogynist mindset prevalent in all classes, sometimes more so among the relatively affluent and educated. Women empowerment is a huge priority because it educates and empowers women, who are homeless with the skills and confidence necessary to secure a job, create a healthy lifestyle, and regain a home for themselves and their children,’’ Roshaneh was of the view.