ISLAMABAD - Kuch Khaas launched short documentaries to show the stories of men who believed in the rights of women and stood up against the customs that give girls as compensation to settle disputes.
The documentaries highlight individual stories from Pannu Aqil, Mianwali, and Dir of men who challenged patriarchal mindsets and stood up for their sisters, daughters and wives. The documentaries have been made by Samar Minallah Khan, an anthropologist and a filmmaker, who has been advocating against the custom of 'Swara,' Vani,' 'Sang Chatti,' and 'Irjaai' for the last decade. She used art, music, poetry and film to highlight the issue.
"These true stories not only bring forth various aspects of 'Swara,' 'Vani,' and 'Sang Chatti' but celebrate the fact that change-makers from within the communities are standing up to challenge such traditions," she said. Swara, Vani and Sang Chatti are ways of settling disputes whereby girls often minor are given as reparation on the orders of Jirgas, Panchayats or Faislos to end disputes. Murderers get away with the crime and a girl has to pay the price for the rest of her life for a crime committed by someone else.
In one of the documentaries, Hafeez from Dir, KP, says, "I have taken it up as my mission to do all that I can to prevent this custom. I have been able to overturn many a jirga decision in favour of Swara, and reach a financial settlement instead. It is my life's goal to bring this practice to an end."
Hafeez's 4-year-old sister was being forced into a 'Swara' marriage. When her father refused the inhuman decision he got murdered for not complying with. Despite the threats, Hafeez not only filed a case against the perpetrator in the High Court but continued to save other Asma's from the custom of Swara.
According to Hafeez, "My father and brother were not only shunned from society and by the jirga for this, but had to pay with their lives. We are not despondent. My father died defending a cause, and in doing so, he set an example that will hopefully rid us of this barbaric practice in years to come."The documentaries were made with the support of UN Women. They are part of a media kit that has been developed for the lawmen of Pakistan.