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Seven vertical miles

For Balochistan's coal miners from the Hazara community, life is equally hard both above and below the ground.
Updated Nov 25, 2019 03:05pm

This film by Ali Haider, Ali Baloch, Hassan Zia and Zeeshan Haider won the first prize of Rs500,000 in Dawn.com and Deutsche Welle's video story contest, #ItHappensOnlyinPakistan on the theme #OurDiversePakistan.

The team was also selected by DW Documentary to produce a 12-15 minutes long documentary film and win a prize of Rs330,000. This documentary film will be released on DW Documentary's official YouTube channel later.

Seven Vertical Miles takes the viewers on a journey several miles under the ground, deep into the coal mines in Balochistan. These coal mines are approximately 3,700 ft deep, and the workers travel in and out through manual rail-carts while risking their lives every single day.

For members of the Hazara community working in the mines though, life is equally hard both above and below the ground.

"Just BRILLIANT. WOW." — Filmmaker Jamshed "Jami" Mahmood

"Seven Vertical Miles takes the viewer on an unexpected journey to meet these unique gents who are a part of Pakistan. Truly diverse!" — Filmmaker Babar Sheikh

The film was chosen as a winner out of 200 entries.


It Happens Only In Pakistan is a nationwide video story contest organised by Dawn.com and Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany's international broadcaster. This time, the theme for the contest was sharing stories under the hashtag #OurDiversePakistan, and invited filmmakers from all over Pakistan to submit short documentary-styled videos that captured stories of unsung, unique Pakistani heroes. Jury for the contest included noted Pakistani documentary filmmakers Jami and Babar Sheikh. The contest accepted entries from July 5 to August 25, 2019.