Video blog: Stepping into the slums

Published: September 9, 2011

With her grandmother by her side, an innocent girl, Zakia, stared at me. The one-year-old had lost her mother shortly after she was born. She didn’t know of any life aside from that of the filthy slum she was born in, just outside of Johor town in Lahore.

As her grandmother described the ordeal that she had to go through just to get milk for the little girl, a rare occasion in a household such as this one, I couldn’t help feeling fortunate and guilty at the same time.

Zakia and her grandmother, regrettably, are not the only people struggling to make ends meet. A staggering 40 per cent of Pakistan’s population, in fact, lives under $2 a day, according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Thus, approximately 67 million people in Pakistan are deprived of the basic necessities of life.

The sanitary conditions in these slums are appalling. People have dug trenches outside of their homes which are used as disposal grounds. In addition to being a breeding ground for diseases, these trenches emit a constant pungent odour. Moreover, it is common for a family of nine people to live under a tin roof in the meager space of 120 square feet.

As I talked to the resident of these slums, the failure of the government’s urban planning and lack of political will was a recurring theme in our conversations. It was blatantly evident that the youth of the slums, tiring of their desperate conditions, was turning to drugs, crime and alcohol as a means of escapism.

It is high time that the government realize that they cannot ignore the conditions of the people living in these slums any more. These issues must be urgently tackled at a national level, as no human being deserves to live like these people do.

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Sufyan Alvi

The author is a self taught amateur filmmaker who grew up in Lahore. He has been experimenting with film making since he was in Prep School, Aitchison College. His fictional work mostly comprises of thrillers and dramas while in his documentaries he explores social issues and politics. He is currently working on another documentary/short film.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Thesweetkhan

    Found your video very appealing. Direction, script, and most importantly your topic is incredible. Recommend

  • Ahmad Agha

    absolutely loving the photography and camera movementsRecommend

  • Sana Alam

    are you sure youre an amature ?
    great work tho.
    looking forward to your next short film.Recommend

  • Fatima.B

    Amazing work! Looking forward to see some more videos! Best of Luck!Recommend

  • saad

    Good stuff!Recommend

  • Atta ur Rahman

    well done bro….
    stay blessed …. hope we all can stand as one and fight for less fortunate ..Recommend

  • Mustafa

    Very very impressive. It might just be only 4 minutes long but that’s all the time you needed to establish a connection between the viewer and people in the film. This is easily one of the best examples of short film making i have seen in quite a while. Props to you sir and hope we get to see more of your work.Recommend

  • Ejaz Hassan

    Wow, loved it.. Imran Khan is the only hope we have left amongst these degenerates we are forced to call our leaders.Recommend

  • Marryam Khan

    For the breadth of the film, it was raw and poignant. It is so unfortunate what these people have to go to through just to feed their kids a meal and the worst part is no one seems to care.Recommend

  • Ayesha Alam

    Very interesting, loving it:)
    Show us some more stuff.Recommend

  • Haroon Raja

    Imran to bring REVOLUTION !!!!!!!!!! Great video .