LAHORE - A photo exhibition titled “Pakistan Behind the Headlines” gave visitors a glimpse into the lives of ordinary tribal people whose land has always been in the news due to conflict and violence.

The exhibition, which opened at Alhamra Art Gallery on Monday, will continue till October 20. The exhibition has been arranged by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council.

“Pakistan Behind the Headlines” explores lives and stories of people of Pakistan, especially rural areas, including FATA, Timergara, Chaman and Dera Murad Jamali.

Saadia Khan said her photographs exhibition included pictures of Bajaur Agency, which was the smallest of the agencies areas wise and largest population wise. “You can see ordinary people laughing, cooking, and children playing in streets. There is life going on in the background of headlines that define Bajaur Agency in the media.

There are pictures of Chaman Border, Balochistan, where patients who enter Pakistan from Afghanistan on a daily basis, are given medical attention. “Women are seen dressed in traditional colourtful burqas. Life is so much colourful and enthralling. People in tribal belt are simple and need our attention,” she said.  MSF provides cure to residents of Machar Colony, Karachi who are affected by hepatitis C. Saadia Khan took photographs of the families living in tiny houses and drinking unhygienic water.  She said that she took these pictures of the Internally Displaced Persons in Kurram Agency. “It was the most fascinating experience to capture a girl in Kurram Agency when there was snow falling and she came out to see what’s going on.”

“I wore warm clothes to avoid the harsh weather but the simple girl came out with traditional shalwar kameez. That was the most unforgettable experience for me,” she said.

Executive Director of the Lahore Arts Council Capt (retd) Atta Muhammad Khan appreciated the MSF efforts and said that it was an honour to collaborate with them to serve the humanity. Saadia Khan said, “Fulfilling my professional commitments with MSF, I went to far-flung areas in Pakistan. I am deeply privileged to have experienced and witnessed first-hand the doctors who work tirelessly in regions otherwise deprived of even the most basic medical facilities.”

MSF Country Representative Catherine Moody told The Nation that purpose of the exhibition was to show the real stories of real people of Pakistan trapped in conflict areas. “Pakistan Beyond the Headlines sheds light on real people -- men, women and children -- that are trying to carry on ordinary daily life despite insecurity and violence in their areas.”

She said that MSF was one of the few international medical associations working in rural areas, especially FATA. “Currently, it has medical activities at seven locations, including Peshawar, Bajaur Agency, Chaman, Dera Murad Jamali, Quetta, Timergara and Karachi. Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, is an international medical association providing emergency medical care in Pakistan to those affected by natural disasters, conflicts or a lack of access to healthcare,” she said.

“The exhibition celebrates their resilience and courage, but also highlights the difficulties they face in accessing such basic needs of healthcare,” she added.