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This week began with the International Women’s Day on March 8; women from all walks of life brought up their agendas that mostly focused on equality and gender impartiality, awareness on sexual abuse and domestic violence, the right to education and economic empowerment. Powerful messages rippled across the world. Using Women’s Day as focal point, Academy Award winning director, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy screened her short film Sitara, which also focuses on women’s rights to choosing their own future. The screening was organized in Karachi, Sharmeen’s hometown, and was well-attended. This of course took place before the Corona Virus had been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and public gatherings were not so violently looked down upon. The week ended with the Pakistan Cricket Board deciding and announcing – finally – that the remaining matches would be held behind closed doors. Several players, in lieu of travel advisories, decided to depart and return home.
This young lady, Fatima, made quite a strong statement at the Aurat March held at Frere Hall in Karachi last Sunday. Dressed in a Sindhi ajrak printed tunic, her style was all about the handmade, paper jewellery she was wearing. It gave out messages of Times Up, a global slogan against sexual harassment in the workplace, the need to change the way society stereotyped the role of women, a woman’s right to her personal space (Mera Jism Meri Marzi) and more.
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s Sitara is, for starters, the first Pakistani Animated Film to be released and distributed by NETFLIX USA and was released on March 8 – International Women’s Day – for the message it
sends out. ‘Let Girls Dream’ being the catchphrase, the short animation revolves around the lives of two young sisters, the elder of whom dreams of growing up to be a pilot. The screening was well-attended by people, media and film fraternity.
“Children are going everywhere but school” and “If public gathering are risky then why isn’t PSL packing up?” are just some of the strong concerns people rightfully raised when schools across the country shut down, but cricket matches continued to play to packed stadiums. Finally, after much deliberation, the Sindh government took a sensible step and not only announced school closure for several months but more importantly, that the remaining PSL matches be taken behind closed doors. People who had bought tickets would be reimbursed and the matches would of coursed be televised for viewers who could watch at home.