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Mohsin Abbas outside Malala's school in Swat.–Photo by Minhaj Uddin ,Frontline Media Canada

Pakistan-Canadian journalist Mohsin Abbas is soaring high on the wings of a new passion – a documentary film he is making about the remarkable courage of a 15-year-old school girl from his native Pakistan. 

“Malala: A Girl from Paradise” tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, who was shot last October while on a school bus with classmates.

Abbas recently spent four months in Pakistan with a four-member film crew. They interviewed friends and family of Malala for their documentary. He said insurgency in the volatile tribal regions make it one of the most dangerous areas in South Asia for working journalists.

The film explores how the failure to silence Malala has inspired men, women and children, not only in Swat Valley, but beyond the borders of Pakistan. The documentary tells how a young girl from a remote village stood up against stone age ideologues, who wanted to take a nation of 200 million back in time. Malala became a shining light and force for change, not only in her Swat Valley, but around the world, said Abbas.

“We have some remarkable interviews about how she has changed the mindsets of people. A prime example is a woman we interviewed whose family business for generations had been (traditional folk) dancing. This woman told us because of Malala, her daughters will not dance, but will go to school.”

He further mentioned that the females in this woman’s family have never been formally educated but learned how to make money for the home through performance of their traditional folk dances.

The film also explores the political intrigue and conspiracy theories that swirl around the attempted murder of Malala. The documentary, which will be in Urdu with English subtitles, will explain how the oppression of women, political tensions and social injustices led to the horrendous attack on the young schoolgirl.

Having survived being shot by the Taliban, Malala recently returned to school in Birmingham, England, where she now lives with her family while receiving treatment.

Mohsin Abbas is an award-winning Pakistani-Canadian journalist, filmmaker and press freedom activist, is editor of the Diversity Reporter, a multilingual weekly newspaper for newcomers and immigrants in Canada.

He plans to rejoin his crew in Pakistan this summer for the second phase of filming and post-production work. He hopes to screen this film at various film festivals across Canada this September.

Learn more about this film