LAHORE: A 17-year-old documentary filmmaker, Fatima Bakhtawar, has shed light on societal and cultural restrictions on women in rural areas of Pakistan in her documentary titled ‘Her Scarlet Veil’.
‘Her Scarlet Veil’ is a documentary that explains how Pakistani culture suppresses one gender under the other to create a gap between the sexes. The documentary throws light on conditions in the rural areas where women continue to live in oppression.
“They cannot have rights, dignity and respect they are entitled to. There, freedom is a farfetched goal because girls cannot have education or careers they aspire to. They have only one purpose that is to serve,” Bakhtawar says while talking to The News.
In filming her documentary, Fatima Bakhtawar said she had to fight forces, both external and internal. Despite all obstacles, Bakhtawar said she produced the documentary. “I had to build a team but nobody was willing to contribute. I had to travel city to city, village to village, jail to jail but nobody allowed me to shoot; many times it ended in disappointment and I had to deal with it,” she said.
“I think she is an ordinary girl,” said Khawar Naeem Hashmi, Bureau Chief of Geo News, about the 17-year-old Fatima Bakhtawar who strived against all odds to film her documentary, “but there’s something extraordinary about her.”
The documentary also sheds light on conditions of women in jail. Although she visited and lectured in three central jails in different cities, yet Fatima was not allowed to film there because of strict laws. However, Fatima told The News that everyone appreciated her effort.
“I knew when I first saw her that she was a brave girl,” said Gulzar Butt, head of Sahiwal Central Jail.
Half a year into successfully running her NGO Spectrum Foundation, Fatima said she was clear about her goals. “I speak for education of every child, in every corner of the world,” said Fatima. She added that there had been gender discrimination in society which she believed must be defeated through literacy.
“It’s very gratifying to see women smile and I work for just that,” the filmmaker told The News. “As devoted as I am in my cause to empower women, I particularly aspire to see myself as a scientist one day. I believe every girl should do just the same and chase her dream.”