Shadow Lives

Pakistan is not good to those of its citizens who do not practice the mainstream Sunni faith. A glaring example is the Ahmadi minority community who live under a system of apartheid. The Ahmadi Muslim community has been persecuted since the country’s formation,this was institutionalised with the help of constitutional changes made under prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s regime when Ahmadis were declared Non-Muslims. Pakistan is the only country to have done so. Further changes in 1984 criminalised the religious practices of Ahmadis. In 2010, a violent attackon two Ahmadi mosques killed ninety nine people. Ahmadis in Pakistan are forced to hide their religious identity whether at social gatherings or public offices for fear of social bigotry.
Ordinance XX 1984
298-C. [Any person of the Qadiani group or the Lahori group (who call themselves ‘Ahmadis’ or by any other name), who directly or indirectly, poses himself as a Muslim, or calls, or refers to, his faith as Islam, or preaches or propagates his faith, or invites others to accept his faith, by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representations, or in any manner whatsoever outrages the religious feelings of Muslims shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine.]

Nida Mehboob is a photographer and filmmaker based in Lahore, Pakistan. She graduated as a pharmacist but left the field to pursue photography. She works on issues of social injustice ranging from religious to gender discrimination in Pakistan. She has attended several international workshops, has availed of fellowships including a year-long filmmaking workshop organised by the Goethe-Institute, Angkor Photo Workshop, and Social Justice Fellowship by Magnum Foundation. She is an alumna of the Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, Bangladesh. Her short films were screened at the Locarno Film Festival among others. She is currently working on a short film that is a rare insight into the sexual exploits of Pakistani women.