Two-time Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy releases the second part from the animated series ‘Shattering The Silence’, a project that intends to encourage meaningful dialogue around issues of child abuse and child labour in the country. Sharmeen doesn’t shy away from covering the truth in its gruesome entirety, without sugarcoating the harsh realities that are often overlooked and ignored by the judicial system.
The film features the story of Reebok Human Rights Award recipient, Iqbal Masih, a young Pakistani boy who was forced to work as a carpet weaver in the 90’s. It explores the arduous conditions from the age of four onwards that encumbered Iqbal. He grew stunted and hopeless, a victim of the system, for whom it seemed impossible to escape. However, this was changed when bonded labour was declared illegal by the Supreme Court and consequently Iqbal was able to pursue his lifelong dream of attending school.
The film features real life stories of child labour cited by victims themselves. The four-part animated series presented in Urdu aims to educate viewers with the legal rights children hold, and steps they can take if they ever find themselves in a situation similar to this. The issue of child abuse is a growing menace in Pakistan, whereby a very tiny percentage and negligible amounts of funds is allocated to children-specific programs and activities. However, the PM’s Special Adviser on Information said that Prime Minister Imran Khan proposed that death penalty be fixed for all those involved in child abuse. This would be a step in the right direction to bringing this epidemic to an end.