Armed with Faith, a Pakistani documentary won Emmy at the 40th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards on Tuesday, making the nation proud. It got a News & Docs Emmy for Exceptional Politics and Government Documentary. The magnificent news was announced by the organizers on Twitter.
The story portrayed in this short film revolves around the lives of the Bomb Disposal Unit of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa fighting on the front lines of the war of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This Pakistani province bordering with Afghanistan is deemed a center of terrorism by the global community. But the reality is contrary to this, these terrorists and bomb attacks have brought massive destruction to Pakistan and disturbed the safe and normal life of the people living in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Bomb Disposal Unit consistently strives to defend the country against the Taliban who are a threat to national security for many reasons. This great masterpiece was directed by filmmaker Asad Faruqi and Geeta Gandbhir.
The documentary features a special group consisting of 34 members who are assigned to guard the innocent and common people against the suicide bombing by the Taliban. The film explicitly revolves around three members of the group namely Shafqat Malik, Abdur Rahim, and Inayatullah Khan. These men also belong to the same province and have seen the miseries first hand. While Malik had to move his family away from their hometown, Abdur Rahim seems unhappy because his children could not get a quality education in a friendly and peaceful atmosphere. Inayat Ullah Khan saw kids being killed in front of his eyes. Children are the central target of these suicide bombers as it also happened with the Army Public School children in Peshawar and many other kids in different parts of KPK including Malala Yousafzai. This film defies the stereotypes and Pakistan’s false image shown to the world.
Pakistani Documentary Wins Emmy
Faruqi on his receiving speech spoke about his experiences in watching films about the war in Afghanistan, but rarely from a Pakistani perspective.
“It was always that I was on the other side of the lens and not pictured, which is one of the motives why we spread out and ventured and wanted to report the story of this incredible bomb disposal squad whose determination to save humanity was very inspirational and it was a story I felt had to be shared.”
“We witness firsthand the risky effort undertaken by the men of the KPK BDU to protect their country against the Taliban threat in the land they both call home,” reads a description given on the film’s official website.
It is co-produced by two-time Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy alongside former journalist Haya Fatima Iqbal.Chinoy took to Facebook to appreciate the film director Faruqi. She said:
“Asad Faruqi came to work with me many many moons ago as a photographer at The Citizens Archive of Pakistan he was passionate and eager to learn and the best kind of student!”
“In 2009 we smuggled ourselves into Swat, in 2012 we worked on Saving Face in 2015 on a Girl in the River and countless projects in between and after… Today he won his first Emmy as a director. I cannot be more proud of who he is and what he’s accomplished! That’s the power of perseverance and hard work! Asad, you are a star!”
Earlier, when the documentary got a nomination, Iqbal said that the marvelous grace that people of KP continue to maintain in the face of trouble and injustice makes her fall in love with the film.
The short film has been aired on the three film festivals earlier, Vancouver International Film Festival in 2017, Atlanta film festival and TRT’s Belgesel Günleri film festival.
Another film ‘Outlawed in Pakistan’ also won an Emmy Award in 2014. This film was based on the gang rape of a girl named Kainat in a remote village of Sindh when she was coming back home after school. It was a short documentary film at the Sundance Film Festival of 2013. It is also the only Pakistani film which was also screened on PBS Frontline.
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy’s film ‘A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness’ was nominated in three categories for Emmys 2017. Mohammad Ali Naqvi’s ‘Among the Believers’ was nominated for the Outstanding politics and government documentary category the same year. Asad Faruqi has also been a part of some other Emmy and Alfred I Dupont Award-winning documentary films that includes the famous ‘Song of Lahore’, Peacekeepers: A journey of a thousand miles’, and ‘Transgenders: Pakistan’s Open Secret’.