Amin Ansari, the father of six-year-old Zainab who was raped and murdered in Kasur in January 2018, has announced his intent to file a lawsuit against TV channel A-Plus, which is making a telefilm on his daughter’s horrifying tragedy.
He is enraged at their lack of respect for the grieving family and afraid that people may think he sold his daughter’s name for fame and money. According to him, “The TV channel did not bother to seek my permission. I would not allow anyone to use the name of my daughter for one’s vested interest. I am going to sue the TV channel that has announced making a telefilm on Zainab.”
Mr. Ansari also plans to sue a UK-based non-government organisation (NGO) for ‘misusing’ his daughter’s name for its vested interest. According to him, Zainab’s case has nothing to do with this NGO and that it is simply using her name as a money-making endeavour. He said, “The UK-based NGO recently visited Kasur and did video recording in our locality. Its representatives visited the school of Zainab in the Munir Shaheed Colony as is shown in the video clip where they met the school administration, teachers and students.”
But according to him, the NGO did not bother to see him or seek his permission either. He further added that the NGO had no right to use Zainab’s name for fundraising efforts.
According to sources, the video clip which has a duration of 3.26 minutes shows the NGO representatives talking to the minor students about child sexual abuse and then distributing gifts among the students. It also shows the students waving pamphlets of the NGO and answering questions.
At the beginning of the clip, a representative of the NGO says that the organisation had visited many schools in the area including that of Zainab, to spread awareness about child sexual abuse. He stated that there were many incidents similar to that of Zainab’s that went unreported and stressed the importance of educating children to keep them safe. At the end of the clip while addressing the viewers, he announced that they were going to arrange an Iftar dinner on 10th of Ramazan in Manchester to raise funds in order to build a centre in the UK for women, orphaned children and victims of abuse. The representative then appealed to the viewers to donate generously for this cause.
The telefilm titled Zainab Ke Qatil, has been written by the acclaimed Umera Ahmed and will be directed by Aamir Yousaf. According to Kashif Kabeer, the executive producer of the project, it will be screened in cinemas and international festivals.
Another documentary of the same nature titled Kasur’s Lost Children by Shahzad Hameed which highlighted the sexual abuse scandal in Hussain Khanwala village, Kasur, won an award at the New York Festival in 2017.
While filmmakers proclaim that their intent to make such content is to highlight the issue and increase awareness, many do not see it that way. Saeed Ahmed, a lawyer from Kasur, thinks that capital punishment for the culprit is the answer and that there is no need to make a movie about the incident, especially without the family’s permission.
Ghulam Ahmed Ansari, a resident in Kasur, condemned the bias depicted in the telefilm’s poster which shows a bearded man with a mehrab (mark on the forehead usually found on those who pray the Muslim prayer regularly) holding a child’s (Hamna Amir – the girl who will be playing Zainab’s character in the telefilm) mouth shut tightly. People have even taken to social media to criticise the moviemakers for what they claim is blatant insensitivity.
Zainab had gone missing on Jan 4, 2018 and her assaulted body was found on Jan 9, 2018. Her rapist and murderer, Imran Ali, was arrested some three weeks later and was given the death sentence by an anti-terrorism court (ATC) in February 2018.