KARACHI - Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the first Pakistani to win the Oscar for her documentary ‘Saving Face’ which highlighted the plight and miseries of women of acid violence, has called for the retrial of old acid attack cases under the new laws.

Sharmeen, who returned to Pakistan with the Oscar Award, addressing a press conference here on Saturday said her Oscar-winning documentary would be released in Pakistan with Urdu translation soon. She said she had no words to describe the sheer joy when her name was called out as the winner.

She said authorities should take stringent action against acid throwers and also regulate the sale of acid in the country. She also urged the authorities to provide protection to acid victims who identify acid attackers.

She said representing Pakistan at the Oscar Academy Award ceremony in Los Angeles was a great honour for her and her country.

Emotions overwhelmed me as I rose to walk to the stage to receive the award, she added.

SOC films hosted the press conference in which the award-winning Pakistani director gave first-hand account about her feelings while receiving award by the Oscar Academy.

‘Saving Face’ chronicles the work of acclaimed British Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr Mohammad Jawad as he travels to Pakistan and performs reconstructive surgery on survivors of acid violence. Acid violence, an extreme form of physical abuse, is systemically underreported in Pakistan. Official figures state that 150 cases of acid violence are filed every year, though it is estimated that the actual figure is far greater. The prevalence of such attacks stem partly from structural inequalities that make it difficult for women to access the judicial system in addition to longstanding cultural practices that support gender discrimination. Saving Face is an account of such violence told by survivors through their personal journeys of endurance, recovery and reconciliation. It is equally a story about the ways in which women continue to struggle for justice in Pakistan as it is about their resilience and unwavering strength in overcoming difficult circumstances. The observational documentary was filmed entirely in Pakistan and was primarily based in the Seraiki belt in addition to Rawalpindi, Karachi and Islamabad.

Speaking about the documentary Sharmeen said “This is about despair as much as is it is a film about hope – to know that an issue like acid violence is being tackled on the ground by so many people is heartening. Daniel Junge, who directed the film, and I hope this film will spur more support for the victims of acid attack as well as long term measures to prevent future occurrences. I believe that the onus is on all of us to work towards correcting injustices and to work for a better future for Pakistan”.

Sharmeen will be launching an outreach campaign in collaboration with the Acid Survivors Foundation in Pakistan. This campaign will use Saving Face as an educational tool that will spread awareness and promote critical conversation about acid violence. Complete campaign details will be announced later next month when it will be launched.

Saving Face was presented in the USA on the 8th of March by HBO documentary films, Jungefilm and Milkhaus.