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The Dawn

Published Date: Apr 5, 2014

Muneeza documents women’s struggles

Women’s struggles in Pakistan often go unnoticed, but Muneeza Hashmi
has brought them forth by documenting the struggles of the prominent
women.

This was stated by the speakers at the launching ceremony
of the book "Who am I?", by the media practitioner, Muneeza Hashmi, at
the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).

The book
documents Muneeza’s interviews with some of the most inspiring women in
Pakistani history, including Benazir Bhutto, Bano Qudsia, Sabiha Khanum
and others.

Muneeza is the daughter of the renowned poet, Faiz
Ahmed Faiz. She was born in 1946 and received her masters degree in
Education, from the University of Hawaii, in 1981.

She is also
the president of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association, UK. She
started her career as an assistant producer in Pakistan Television
(PTV), in 1967, and retired, in 2004, as a programme director. She
received president of Pakistan’s ‘Pride of Performance Award’ in 2002,
for the portrayal of women in the electronic media of Pakistan.

Muneeza
said that all of the interviews were recorded for PTV, but she felt
that they should be reproduced in the form of a book, because printed
documents are considered more credible, and they are more lively.

"I
grew up in an atmosphere where there was an absentee father, and the
whole responsibility of bringing up the kids was on the shoulders of my
mother. My mother acted as the ‘roof and support’ to keep the family
together," she said."In Pakistan, family generates more bonding as
compared to the west. I got the support from my family throughout my
life," she said.

"Pakistani channels have been losing the focus of
who their true audiences are. The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory
Authority (PEMRA) has become less effective, while channels continue to
compete on commercial terms. Violence against women has become a tool
for selling commercial dramas, while the real issues faced by women are
rarely highlighted," she said.

Talking about the interviews,
Muneeza said that each interview was of 25 minutes and they were
recorded for PTV, so she feels that there were some deficiencies.

The
interview with the renowned writer, Bano Qudsia, was played during the
time when, she said, writing a book was a very difficult job for a
woman.

"While writing books, I realised that I was ignoring my
husband and children, and that was really painful for a woman," Ms
Qudsia said.

On the occasion, the chairperson of the National
Commission on Status of Women Khawar Mumtaz, former Pro-VC of the Fatima
Jinnah Women’s University Prof Iftikhar-un-Nisa Hasan, educationist Dr
Najma Najum, and others were also present.