‘Firaaq’: When the suppressed resort to terrorism
Since the year 2004, Pakistan has seen its North-West tribal agencies recurrently get bombed by American drones. After a total of around 300 drone strikes, about 3000 people have lost their lives. Though the United States proudly claims these attacks to be instrumental in eradicating the terrorist activities in the region, drone strikes still invite the debate as to whether they actually serve this purpose and this purpose only.
More so, a wide majority of Pakistanis─ the tribal population included─ question the casual use of Pakistani air-space by the American military.
Though people complain that these attacks ridicule the sovereignty of Pakistan, there has been a lot said about Pakistani offices’ own involvement in letting the US do as it pleases. The casualties that climax as a result of drones are also something that remains a point of interest. While some organisations hold that the drones only target and kill militants, certain studies, such as the one published by Daniel L Byman of Brookings Institution, reflect the view that for every Taliban or al Qaeda leader killed by drones, “ten or so” civilians also die as collateral damage.
This short film, entitled “Firaaq” (separation, anxiety or a keen desire for something) was made for a multimedia competition held in Ayub Medical College, Abbottabad, where it won the award for best film.
The film neither delves into the details, nor does it intend to pass judgments.
It simply tells the story of an individual, Salman Wazir, from Wana of South Waziristan Agency, and the transformation his life undergoes after his father, a school teacher in the area, is killed in a drone strike, only to be later labelled as a terrorist by the media of his own country.
The film hopes to shed some light on the psychological trauma the innocent victims of the attacks have to face. How the young population feels that the freedom of choice has been taken away from them. How they feel betrayed by their own country when no one stands up for their loss and instead labels the victims as terrorists. It reflects upon the feelings the victim’s family goes through when the injustice against their deceased loved one goes unrecognised.
Firaaq stars Fahmeed Khakwani as the teacher, and the narrator of the story; while the protagonist is played by Zeeshan Rashid.
Both are students of Ayub Medical College. The film was shot in Abbottabad and its surrounding locales. No copyright infringement is intended by the background score, and proper credits have been given at the end.
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