By: Fazal Khaliq
MINGORA: When director Mohsin Abbas saw the attack on then 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai, he knew he had to fly down to Swat to first find out and then tell her story to the world.
The Canadian-based director had had enough of news of terrorism and militancy in the international media. And seeing a teenager’s sacrifice for the right to education, he couldn’t be more inspired.
So he decided to film her life since the tragic attack on her life by the Taliban. Since the incident last year, Abbas began shooting a documentary on the iconic child activist. He has named it “Malala: A Girl from Paradise”.
He, along with his crew, spent nine months in Pakistan, United Kingdom and the Czech Republic, and interviewed anyone who was close to Malala, her family or even Swat. It has some very rare and exclusive footage of Malala Yousafzai and interviews with her father and friends.
“It focuses and explores how the failure to silence Malala has inspired men, women, and children, not only in Swat Valley but beyond the borders of Pakistan,” Abbas told The Express Tribune while he was filming in Swat valley.
“The film shows 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,” he said.
The documentary film opens with a focus on Malala, Kainat Riaz and Shazia Ramzan – the three girls who were shot by the Pakistani Taliban for advocating education for girls.
“The documentary focuses on the struggle of Malala and how, during mayhem in Swat, she advocated for girls’ education, how her struggle became a symbol for the fight of education across the country.”
He believes that this documentary would benefit the prospects of girls, not only in Swat but also in Pakistan, to gain an education.
The documentary is scheduled to be screened in Canada in the coming week.
‘I am Malala’
Malala describes the horrifying moment of the Taliban’s attempt to take her life in her new autobiography, ‘I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban,’ which was out in stores on Tuesday, amid speculation that she may be about to become the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The memoir, co-written with British journalist Christina Lamb, narrates Malala’s life under the Taliban’s brutal rule in the Swat Valley in the mid-2000s, hints at her ambition to enter Pakistani politics, and even describes her father’s brief flirtation with Islamic fundamentalism as a youngster.