Documentary showcases living conditions in IDP camps

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ISLAMABAD Dec 2 (APP): An award winning feature documentary, ‘A Walnut Tree’ was screened here at the French Embassy auditorium, which showcased living conditions of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the Jalozai Camp near Peshawar.

The touching documentary has been produced by Ammar Aziz, a graduate of National College of Arts.

It conveys the message that refugees across the globe never
want to abandon their homes, but they are forced by the circumstances to leave places of their birth, French Ambassador to Pakistan Mrs Martine Dorance said in a brief chat with APP after the documentary ended.

The screening was attended by a select gathering and representatives of the European Union and the United Nations in Islamabad. The documentary has won a French award this year.

“This is a documentary on a Jalozai camp near Peshawar. We were spending time with different families and then something happened and it turned out to be a story of one person who ‘wants to go back to his roots. It is a very super kind of portrayal’ of an old man living at the camp, the Director of the documentary, Ammar Aziz told APP.

The man lives with a six member family which includes his son, daughter-in-law and her two kids.

Questioned what motivated him to make the documentary, Ammar Aziz said, “Displacement has been a very personal subject for me because my grandparents also migrated from Indian side of Punjab. I have grown up listening to the stories of violence. When I went to camp I saw people displaced from their homes with whom I could also relate,” he added.

The screening of the documentary was part of an ongoing film festival Human Rights Through Cinematography, from November 15 to December 10.

During the festival 23 movies and documentaries would be screened in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Gujrat, Peshawar and Quetta while many had already been shown.

The documentary gives a real insight into daily routine of the family at Jalozai camp which gets about their gruelling life in an abject poverty and pitiable conditions- surviving on the basic provisions.

The old man dubbed ‘Baba’ in the documentary, who had to leave his school he taught at. Quite often he went into a nostalgic mood and hoped for the days to go back to his native village.

Every day he would tell his grand children that he was waiting for that day when he would go back and sit under a dapple shade of a walnut tree, planted by his father, who had asked him to nurture it.

However one day he broke down and told his family he would go back to his native village. One fine morning, he left quietly and went missing, but could not be found despite his son’s visit to their native village.