Documentary film on Kashmir screened
KARACHI – Renowned scholar and educationist Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy earned accolades for his well-produced documentary film, titled Crossing the lines – Kashmir, Pakistan, India, which was screened on May 11 by the Pakistan Peace Coalition in collaboration with the Eqbal Ahmed Foundation at the auditorium of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs.
While the movie went down very well with the audience, who mostly shared Dr Hoodbhoy’s ideas about the need for the immediate normalization of relations between India and Pakistan, a few censorious critics said that the documentary film disregarded quite a few aspects of the subcontinent’s history and was not balanced on the whole.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Hoodbhoy said he had learnt a lot from the late Eqbal Ahmed. He said his documentary film on Kashmir gave expression to Mr. Ahmed’s ideas on what was widely regarded as one of the thorniest issues of the world.
The 45-minute documentary film traces the history of the Kashmir issue in a very analytical style. The opening shots show frenzied communal activists on both sides of the border vowing to destroy each other’s countries root and branch.
According to the movie, the 1987 elections in occupied Kashmir, in which the Indian government employed repressive measures to stifle the voice of dissent, became a turning point in the history of the strife-torn valley.
The movie touches on all the important events of the subcontinent’s history – proxy war waged by the Pakistani army in Indian-held Kashmir, beginning of the so-called Jihad, resurgence of militant nationalism in India and Pakistan, the 1965 and 1971 wars, the detonation of nuclear devices by India and Pakistan, the Kargil conflict and ultimate climb-down by the Pakistan army under international pressure, the attack on the Indian parliament and the subsequent eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between the troops on the border, etc.
The movie shows Indian peace activist Tappan Bose, Kashmiri leader Shabbir Shah, human-rights activist I.A. Rahman, VHP leader Praveen Togadia, Indian social activist Varsha Rajan Berry, Pakistan academic Dr Abdul Hameed Nayyar, Air Marshal Asghar Khan and Indian peace activist Gautam Naulakha express their views on the Kashmir dispute.
A.R. Siddiqui, a retired brigadier and defence analyst, said that the movie was not balanced. “For instance, the documentary film shows jubilant Nawaz Sharif crowing about the success of nuclear tests in 1998.
It does not show the reaction of L.K. Advani in India, who was equally delighted about the nuclearization of the subcontinent,” he said. Zubeida Mustafa, a senior journalist, also spoke on the occasion.
Answering a question, Dr. Hoodbhoy said that he procured some footage for the movie from friends in India. He also purchased footage from Doordarshan. He commissioned a few photographers in Indian-held Kashmir who got him evocative shots from the troubled valley.