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Pakistan: An Oscar in Pakistan

Pakistani-Canadian journalist and documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, recently won an Oscar award for the best documentary (short) film. In 2010 she won an Emmy for her documentary, Pakistan: Children of the Taliban.

Nearly all Pakistani daily newspapers made it front page news (The NewsDawnJang Express News). The prime minister of Pakistan also announced the highest civil award for Ms. Chinoy.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy hosting TEDxKarachi 2011. Image courtesy Dr. Awab Alvi.

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy hosting TEDxKarachi 2011. Image courtesy Dr. Awab Alvi.

This news generated a flood of tweets. Shermeen, a self-made entrepreneur and film director, was congratulated by all:

‏@Jemima_Khan: Told you, told you, told you it's Pakistan's year… Congrats to @sharmeenochinoy for her Oscar win for brilliant doc, Saving Face

@suhasinih: Wow Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy wins for best documentary!! Have seen those burns wards…her work needs to be seen by the world.

@Natasha_H_Ejaz#Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy: You bring tears to my eyes! So proud!

@samramuslim: I walk a prouder #Pakistani today coz of you @sharmeenochinoy and your #Oscar win!!

@Kamran Javed: CONGRATS! Pakistan won 1st Oscar Award for Saving Faces as Best Documentary

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy was awarded the Oscar for an investigative documentary she made on the affects of acid violence on woman. Her documentary focuses on the bad state of woman right in Pakistan. Her film, named ‘Saving Faces‘, shows the how women live after being attacked by acid. The film also shows the work of British Pakistani Surgeon Muhammed Jawad who has tried to save the faces of  women who have undergone this trauma. Acid attack is a ‘domestic crime’ in Pakistan, and it's a travesty of justice when such culprits escape from the rule of law.

The documentary's website details the mission of the film. The basic aim is to end acid violence in Pakistan and not just an “exposition of horrendous crime”. The ‘Acid Survivor Pakistan’ – a activist group made after the documentary won the Oscar – plans to use social media, awareness, educating the youth, and radio/television campaigns to develop awareness about this horrible crime and completely root it out of society.

Aaminah Qadir in her blog post, rightly calls Sharmeen a model to get inspiration from. The award will also help in developing the soft image of Pakistan. Sharmeen, herself, dedicated the Oscar to the women of Pakistan. Until Pakistan has women like Shermeen, hope for a change exists in the society.

Lastly, this documentary film will also help in enforcing the Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Laws promulgated in December 2011. The new amendment will lead the culprit to lifetime imprisonment, and a mandatory compensation of 1 million rupees ( $11,000; rate as of 29 February, 2012).

Sharmeen's message in the Oscar Thank You Cam was:

To everyone in Pakistan, who fights against terrorism every single day, this, is for you

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