May 2004 News

Movie on Kashmir provokes flak

11 May 2004
The News International

KARACHI: Premiere of Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy's documentary film 'Crossing the Lines - Kashmir, Pakistan and India' invited a fair amount of criticism on Tuesday, particularly for offering a dreamy solution to the 'unfinished business of the partition'. Produced by Pakistan's anti-nuke physicist, focussing the thorny issue of Kashmir, the documentary appeared on a screen at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) with sharp images ranging from past and present of India and Pakistan. The MIT-trained physicist exploited his filmmaking venture to incorporate the political agenda of the Pakistan's left-wingers, making it an old-fashioned political commentary. He played some of the stock-shots superbly to document course of Indo-Pak history in its true perspective as well. Brig (retd) AR Siddiqui, a defence commentator, did not like the end piece of the film where Dr Hoodbhoy yearned for peace in a conflict situation. He was critical of not portraying the nuclear zeal on the Indian part, while showing the very euphoria emanating from Pakistani leadership of 1998. Similarly, he missed what he called a fair portrayal of the political thoughts from Pakistani side of the Kashmir. Iqbal Haider, a PPP hawk and former law minister, sounded furious at what he dubbed Jihad culture that caused more damage to Pakistan than to India. 'Jihadis cannot recover an inch of occupied territories; they are engaged for vested interests.' He agreed with Dr Hoodbhoy's realistic message that people of Pakistan could no longer afford to be the 'salves of past'. He described Dr Hoodbhoy's filmmaking a courageous attempt. 'This film must be screened at the National Defence College.' During the Q&A session with the audience, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy defended his deliberate omission of the post-9-11 reference, as he deemed it would eventually drag the subject into a bizarre international perspective demanding inquiry into the US designs in the region.


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