About Nazneen

I am Nazneen from Hunza, Pakistan studying in Bangladesh at Asian University for Women. As it is a liberal arts university, we are exposed to real life issues and events through internships in various fields. Last year, I got a chance to take a course on Women and Western Families in History at Stanford University in California. This year, I got an internship opportunity at SOC Films, which is a production company in Pakistan, spearheaded by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. I'm finding the internship really interesting as we are given various kind of activities in different sectors. I got opportunity to observe the process of selecting subjects for documentaries and we are allowed to accompany the production team to various places where they shoot for documentaries. Usually, our task is to take photographs of the process behind the screen and logging the shoots. Besides that, the first and continuing project we got was to make a blog inspired by a six part documentary series where the aim of the project was to share our experiences as well as to show SOC Films' contribution in demonstrating the individual's ability to make a difference in their communities.

My experience at SOC Films

Being a liberal arts university, Asian University for Women (AUW) encourages its students to do internships every year in various sectors. In today’s competitive job market, internship and volunteer work are very crucial to gain real world job experience and thereby AUW has been exposing its students through internships. For almost four years, I have received opportunities to do internships in various organizations such as developing agencies and financial institutions in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Last year I was honored an internship with Industrial Promotion and Development Company a financial institution in Dhaka and currently I am working at SOC Films, which is a production company in Pakistan, spearheaded by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy. Sharmeen’s work is mostly based on human rights and women’s issues. She has been putting her efforts into raising the voices of marginalized communities and highlighting the issues which assist to break boundaries and focused on challenging viewers. Some of her documentaries include Saving Faces, Pakistan’s Open Secret and Pakistan’s Taliban Generation, Afghanistan Unveiled, Transgender, The New Apartheid and many more films are aired on various channels abroad. Sharmeen’s work and the motive of the company really inspired me to work wholeheartedly, as I have always been interested in social service.

During my internship at SOC Films, each day I experienced and learnt something new and important. As most people do when starting a new job, I felt overwhelmed with the influx of new information. I enjoyed doing research on various social issues including polio in Pakistan, political situation of different countries, unsung heroes of Pakistan, animated movies, and footages of old Lahore city, jazz and orchestras musicians of 1950’s and 60’s in Pakistan. The most fun part was going out for shoots with the production team where I took photographs of settings behind the scenes, which were scheduled for that day. Along with it I also got opportunity to observe selection process of subjects for documentaries who were courageous enough to talk in front of camera. Indeed, I loved to learn subjects totally different from my major, Politics, Philosophy and Economics, that were related to documentary films including viral campaigning, media tracking, creating a blog, transcribing videos, test screening of animatics and much more.

Learning at SOC was really fun. It could be because the staff treated their interns as they would treat a full time team member or permanent employee and part of the reason was due to the welcoming, cooperating and assisting team members. The atmosphere of the office was positive, energetic and fun. Everyone has been fantastic and welcoming to us and it was an atmosphere where ideas were fostered and feedback was welcomed.

Overall, the internship was a good chance for me to realize and understand myself and my interest along with making me familiar with job life. The aim of the company really motivated me further to work for society and gave me the idea that I can also do something positive for my community. Currently, the company is working on a six part documentary series called Ho-yaqeen. The purpose of this series is to show the importance of individuals’ efforts and to pass the message that everyone who desires to make a difference in their society can make a difference. It shows the struggle of six individuals across the country who brought change in their communities. The series is really inspiring and it encouraged me and made my desire of social service further stronger and firm. Last year, I did work with a company which is the first private sector financial institution in Bangladesh, but I felt that it was not according to my taste and desire that I have and always wanted. However, the motive of SOC Films really inspired me and I found myself more interested to work in developing agencies and other non-governmental organizations.

At last, a piece of advice that I want to share is to utilize every second given to you in your internship properly. As long as you take advantage of every moment, you will leave with an entirely new group of friends, even more memories that will never fade, and absolutely no regrets. Therefore, we should use an internship as a learning opportunity, not only just an opportunity to gain real world experience.


Ho Yaqeen – Episode 3 (Dr.Parveen)

Peshawar is a city teeming with drug addicts, some as young as eight years old. In the fight against drugs, Dr.Parveen and her organisation Dost Foundation are leading from the front lines.

Chants from Arif Lohar and Friends: Jugni Ji

The central philosophy of the theosophical song is the promotion of peace and love for mankind. The track is also a cross blending of people of this country and will long be remembered for its seamless merging of modernity and tradition. Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi compliment each others’ styles effortlessly, and the charged atmosphere with the infectiously positive energy permeating is hard to miss. Music wise, it is folksy yet funky: where Lohar clanks his trademark chimta, Meesha lends her powerful vocals and Gumby wows all with his thunderous drumming.

Music in Pakistan

Pakistan is home to various genres of music such as classical, sufi, ghazal, qawwali, pop, rock and hip hop. Unfortunately, many inhabitants condemn the idea of music. Yet, despite this, there have still been several notable personalities who have expressed their passion and contributed to developing the Pakistani music industry. Noble people like Hassan and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan played a great role in putting Pakistan on the map in terms of classical music. Moreover, we cannot ignore the global recognition earned by Junoon and Vital Signs as well as singers like Atif Aslam, Amanat Ali Khan and Ali Zafar. Pakistan has a very rich cultural history of music such as in the case of “qawwal bachhe dehli gharana” which goes as far back as 750 years. However, musicians rarely get any form of recognition or encouragement from the government to promote their talent. According to my knowledge, Pakistan does not have have a school of music. Therefore, I feel it is not only important but necessary to preserve music for the next generation by introducing classical music into the curriculum of schools, both public and private.

Like most of the youth in Pakistan, I had little interest in Pakistani music, and instead showed more interest in the music produced by Hollywood and Bollywood. While interning at SOC Films Company, I was assigned to find musical footage from Lahore, during which I discovered amazing work that Pakistani musicians created by fusing classical music with hip hop, using traditional instruments. Being exposed to the biographies of many well-known musicians who were the predecessors of our modern artists was a fascinating learning experience for me. However, it was tragic to learn that many talents were dismissed due to reasons such as lack of presidential support, absence of good institutions or companies, and so on.

Yet there still appeared to be some hope. In the early 2000s, with the explosion of the media in Pakistan, young artists were given the opportunity to showcase their work. Television channels emerged and fresh, new faces came to the limelight. Coke Studio launched a new style of music by merging classical and western vocal styles, combining qawwali with bhangra and fusing ghazal with rock. This fusion of all elements from different cultures, with traditional and modern techniques being amalgamated, produced a unique, new sound.

I think we should preserve our rich and diverse culture of music by opening more government-run institutions, so that our youth can become familiar with musical traditions. It is through this that awareness can grow among the new generation. We have several musicians linked with the rich history of Pakistan so we ought to exploit this treasure which we have not done until now. It is particularly important to do so in a country which hosts such precious talents and people, and it is very necessary for the government to take the initiative to uplift these musicians who have so graciously uplifted Pakistan.

A Hope for a New Life

The day when I came to know about the Indus Hospital, I was overwhelmed, knowing about its completely free treatment available to many Pakistanis who do not have access to high quality health care across the country. Indeed, it might not be very meaningful for many affluent families, but for almost all indigent Pakistanis it is equivalent to giving a new life to them. The moment I heard about totally free medical service, the grieves, sorrows and the suffering due to lack of proper medical facilities of helpless people of my town, back in the North corner of Pakistan, flashed across my mind. I know I could not help being a student, but their anguish always reminds me of helping those needy people. On that day, I was delighted to see amazing medical facilities and very advanced machines which we can only find in very expensive private hospitals.

After research, I came to know that the Indus Hospital is a multidisciplinary hospital and currently the services are being offered to inpatients and outpatients. Some of the varieties of services available in the hospital are nephrology, urology, cardiology, infectious diseases and many other treatments are offered. Besides this, the hospital is well equipped with very modern instruments with other facilities such as angiography suite, dialysis unit, advanced interventional radiological setup, tuberculosis lab and many other facilities. Amazingly, “it is the first paper less hospital established in Pakistan” with a very friendly hospital management information system developed in-house.

A couple of days back, being an intern at SOC Films i got chance to visit the Indus Hospital with some members of the production team in order to take interviews of some female and male nurses as well as doctors who were willingly ready to talk in front of camera. We were there to make a documentary about the hospital aiming to show it to its donors. The facilities and the systematic arrangement of everything such as medical records really impressed me and I found that along with free medicine and medical treatment, even food is provided to the patients.

Before getting the opportunity to visit Indus Hospital, I had no idea about the hospital. My lack of awareness reminded me of really needy Pakistanis living in very far corners of Pakistan who might not have any idea about such an amazing opportunity.

I recall the story of a girl who lives very close to my home, she is knowingly counting the last few years of her life while all her friends enjoy life carefree. Remembering her sickness my heart ached but with a big hope, a hope of getting her back to normal healthy life. In the beginning, the disease was not very serious. But due to various reasons including lack for financial resources, staying very far from city facilities, and being a woman without any male support,  she did not get treatment for 17 years unknowingly and 6 years after knowing about the disease. So, after 23 years of sickness, the common disease has become worse and worse.

Like the case mentioned above, there are many cases where poor people remain in danger of losing their lives, often because they have lost hope. In such kind of hard situations, the Indus Hospital is a hope for many poor citizens of Pakistan to recover from various diseases ranging from small illnesses to large operations.

On that day, after coming back from the Indus Hospital, I called some of my friends and known people telling about the hospital and about its highly good resources available over there. I suggested informing other people as well who do not have knowledge about the hospital. That day, I was really happy, I got a kind of inner satisfaction and I felt as if I had done one of the most important tasks of my life. I felt very proud my own country.