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Minorities in Pakistan often face a uphill battle of coexistence, yet their voices are suppressed. In connection to Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s ongoing efforts to highlight the voice of religious minorities about the discrimination they face in Pakistan, SOC Films and the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) have officially launched a collaborative 5-part short documentary series Forsaken.

The event, titled Ending Systemic Discrimination Against Minorities, was held at the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad for the launch of the fact-finding Report on Minority Rights.

Forsaken series presents a moving set of stories highlighting important issues that affect a younger generation of religious minorities living in Pakistan today. From Hyderabad to Quetta and beyond, the moving portraits of five young people attempting to get ahead in life despite their ‘minority’ status are presented on screen, thereby creating a discourse about what it means to grow up as a minority in the country. These first person accounts provide a window into how Pakistan’s minorities are perceived by the wider society.

To officially launch the series and the website, NCHR screened a trailer of the Forsaken series at the event and one of the five short documentaries which focuses on the plight of Christian sanitary workers. After the screening, the Commission recommended ensuring the protection of sanitary workers and providing them with fair wages, social security and health care.

Forsaken – Still from Punjab

Speaking at the occasion, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy commented: “What is the experience of being a minority in Pakistan? This is a question we should all ask ourselves because we have moved far away from Jinnah’s vision of a pluralistic society that celebrated diversity – SOC Films has travelled the length and breadth of our country documenting the voices of these marginalized communities in the hope that our nation will be moved to follow in the footsteps of our founder.”

Forsaken – Still from KPK

These documentaries are also a part of SOC Films’ ongoing “The White in The Flag” project, which attempts to record and document the voices of those that have faced religious discrimination in the country. For the past five years, using the mediums of photography, audio podcasts and film ‘The White in the Flag’ project has been documenting the experiences all minorities who share their deeply personal stories. Providing for the first time in Pakistan a comprehensive multi media project that imbeds itself into these forsaken communities.

The films offer diverging views of how Pakistan’s minorities are generally perceived by others, as well as detailing the rights given to minorities, as enshrined by the Constitution of Pakistan.


Forsaken – Still from Quetta

Chairperson NCHR, Rabiya Javeri Agha also stated at the event “The services and plight of the country’s largely non-Muslim sanitary workers have remained unseen and unheard for far too long. Minorities make up less than 3% of Pakistan’s population, but over 80% of the sanitation workforce. NCHR is proud to be in partnership with SOC Films for the Forsaken series in order to lend voice to our marginalized groups as well as to be able to impact the legislation of the country for their betterment.”

Watch the trailer of the series here:

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