6 May 2021
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Oscar-winning filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has launched a platform White in the Flag to discuss problems faced by religious minorities in Pakistan.

“Whiteintheflag.com is an interactive website that aims to serve as a platform for students, activists and legislators to come together,” she said.

Photo: Instagram/Sharmeen Obaid-ChinoyPossible solutions to problems faced by minorities will be discussed on the website with detailed information provided to those who are interested in spreading awareness. Sharmeen wants marginalised people to voice their concerns as well.

“They will be able to have their views and wishes genuinely considered when decisions are being about their lives and communities,” she said.

In a survey by Digital Rights Foundation, more than half (57.5%) of respondents belonging to religious minorities in Pakistan said that they have faced backlash online or threats on the basis of their religion, and 34.5% confirmed that they feel uncomfortable expressing their religious identity online.

Over 489 people have been killed in at least 22 major attacks from 2003 to 2021 in Balochistan, SAMAA Digital reported. But the actual number goes much higher as this data doesn’t include targeted killings. On March 29, a 100-year-old temple under renovation was attacked by unidentified persons, who tried to set it on fire.

Sharmeen is one of the most successful filmmakers whose documentaries Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River (2015) have won her Oscars. She has accolades such as the Emmy and Eliasson Global Leadership Prize under her belt as well.

In January, she was named among South Asia’s 18 best directors by the Asian Tatler.

Abdul Gh Lone