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Sharmeen Chinoy launches anti-acid campaign

Published Feb 28, 2012 08:36am


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Saba Obaid smiles along with her daughters during a news conference in Karachi on Monday.—AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan's first Oscar winner launched a campaign on Tuesday, hoping that her documentary about survivors of acid attacks can help eliminate a crime that disfigures hundreds of women each year.

“Saving Face” by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the short documentary category at the Academy Awards on Sunday.

The film follows survivors in their fight to bring their attackers to justice and focuses on the work of British Pakistani plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad, who helped restore their faces and lives.

The team behind the documentary are using their website to launch a campaign designed to raise awareness about acid attacks, which can disfigure around 200 women a year in Pakistan, and to strengthen legislation against the violence.

“The film must be more than an expose of horrendous crimes, it must be a recipe for addressing the problem and a hope for the future,” co-director Daniel Junge says on

Pakistan's parliament last year adopted tougher penalties for acid attacks, increasing the punishment to between 14 years and life, and a minimum fine of one million rupees ($11,000).

Obaid-Chinoy's mother, Saba, told AFP that the campaign was launched formally after her daughter won the Oscar, which had “provided her with a unique opportunity and strength to strive for her goal more effectively”.

“The campaign is mainly aimed at making our society more humane and better to live. It is to help and remedy those who are victims of such brutality and injustice,” she told AFP.

“Saving Face is uniquely positioned to advance awareness, education and prevention efforts,” the website says.

The chairwoman of Acid Survivors Pakistan, which is a partner in the campaign, told AFP that the fight to eliminate the crime had only just started and that the outreach programme was designed to generate “systemic change”.


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Comments (15) Closed

M A Hussain Feb 28, 2012 02:50pm
Isn't it discouraging for those people in Pakistan who are serving humanity day in and day out without publicizing their work and are making real impact on our society?
oldfashioned Feb 28, 2012 03:35pm
Give her a nishan-e-haider for constantly holding hands with a yankee during awards ceremony and this women should learn from Saeeda Warsi of UK how to dress gracefully..
AbdulRehman Feb 28, 2012 04:01pm
Sharmeen has taken on a brave subject and has at the same time sent a message of hope for all the victims. It was more than just a personal achievement. Her message now resonates among millions and she has brought so much awareness! Let us join hands with her to make our society more tolerant and humane. AbdulRehman Mahmood
Karachiite Feb 28, 2012 04:46pm
Mr Oldfashioned, How somebody dresses is none of your business, do something productive instead of telling others what to do.
Sarah Feb 28, 2012 04:49pm
Can people like M A Hussain and oldfashioned get over their own inabilities and let a good thing be. Sharmeen please shine on and continue being an inspiration.
Zubair Feb 28, 2012 04:58pm
Let us encourage all courageous members of society, sung and unsung heroes alike. These are hurtful, embarrassing topics for the nation but we must face them and rid them from our society.
Zarkawi Feb 28, 2012 05:40pm
Don't tell others what to do oldfashioned man.
Shahid Feb 28, 2012 06:07pm
Unfortunately it is people like you, who cannot get their head out of the sand or where the sun doesn't shine, that become obstacles to society. Step aside, please!
Saleem Feb 28, 2012 06:36pm
No. It is not. Rather it is encouraging people to serve humanity.These are the people who are trying to make this society worthy of living in. Why is it that some of us see evil in every thing. For God sake, change your negative thinking...
S. A. Khan Feb 28, 2012 08:54pm
We are PROUD of you Sharmeen. Sharmeen has raised a voice for women and other oppressed minorities in Pakistan against the injust and barbaric acts committed against them in the name of "so-called" Islamic laws like Hudoood Ordinance and Blasphemy laws. SHAME on a society that is diseased and fails to protect the weak and vulnerable.
saman Feb 28, 2012 09:05pm
oh, will this small-mindedness,jealousy and ignorance endemic in Pakistan, which by the way engenders most of this society's ills, never end? if other people serving humanity are so easily discouraged, well, then there's something wrong with them, not with sharmeen obaid chinoy!
saman Feb 28, 2012 09:45pm
...and who appointed YOU the moral authority over everyone else? why SHOULD anyone have to listen to YOU? can you answer that?
Zahid Feb 28, 2012 10:06pm
The whole nation is proud of you Chinoy..we support you all the way! Don't listen to haters (insecure right-wing male chauvenists) is because of them the country is in such a mess right now. Dawn, please advise how we can support Chinoy's campaign.
Imtiaz Faruqui Feb 28, 2012 11:13pm
Acid throwing on some body's face should be punishable by death.
josh Feb 29, 2012 07:38am
well Done,Sharmeen,keep it up