Samar Minallah

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Samar Minallah
Samar Minallah (in the middle) Filming in Rahimyar Khan for a documentary on Human Trafficking.JPG
Samar Minallah filming in Rahimyar Khan for a documentary on Human Trafficking
Native name ثمر من اللہ
Nationality Pakistani
Education MPhil in Anthropology & Development
Alma mater University of Cambridge
Occupation Anthropologist, documentary filmmaker, and human rights activist
Religion Islam

Samar Minallah (Urdu: ثمر من اللہALA-LC: S̱amar min Allāh IPA: [ˈsəmər mɪn əlˈlɑːh]) is an anthropologist, documentary filmmaker, and human rights activist from Pakistan[citation needed].

Background and education[edit]

Samar was born in 1970[citation needed]. She has an MPhil in Anthropology and Development from the University of Cambridge[citation needed].Samar is an anthropologist who uses film for change and advocacy. [1][2]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Global Leadership Award 2012 by Vital Voices, Washington USA[3][4][5][6]
  • Roberto Rossellini Award, Maori Film Festival, Italy. 2009 [7]
  • Chang Lin Tein Fellowship Award by the Asia Foundation in 2010.[8][9]
  • Perdita Huston Human Rights Activist Award' 2007, Perdita_Huston
  • Civic Courage Award 2009 by the Center for Civic Education, Pakistan. [10]

Samar Minallah is the sister of well-known Pakistani lawyer Athar Minallah[citation needed].

Fight Against 'Swara' 'Vanni' or Compensation Marriages in Pakistan[edit]

'Swara' or 'Vanni' are marriages where girls, often minors, are given as compensation to an enemy family to end disputes, often murders[citation needed]. The murderer gets away with his crime and his daughter, sister or niece pay the price for his crime for the rest of their lives.[11][12][13][14]

In 2003, Minallah made a documentary on the practice of 'Swara' where girls are given as compensation to end age old disputes, with the aim of raising the profile of the custom and to persuade policy makers to finally recognize the problem and act to eliminate it[citation needed]. The documentary was first of its kind that was dubbed in local regional languages to reach out at the grassroots level[citation needed]. She even spread awareness through traditional truck art in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa.[15][16]

In 2004, following the documentary, the law was amended and according to PPC-310-A[citation needed], whoever gives or takes a girl in compensation can receive 3 to 10 years imprisonment[citation needed].

Samar filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court of Pakistan against the custom[citation needed]. As a result, the Supreme Court directed the Inspectors General of Police (IGPs) of the four provinces of Pakistan to stop marriages to settle family feuds[citation needed], declaring the customs of Vanni and Swara un-Islamic[citation needed].

Samar was awarded the "Perdita Houston Human Rights Activist Award" for her contribution in advocating change on this issue. The award was presented by well-renowned feminist and author Gloria Steinem.[17][18][19][20][21][22]

Other work[edit]

Other works include ‘Bibi Shireenay: Where Honour Comes From’ and ‘Shinwaray Lawangeena: Where the Waters Meet’[citation needed].

Samar has also won a UNESCO-sponsored regional documentary-making competition[citation needed], addressing the issue of HIV and AIDS. Other countries participating were Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan[citation needed]. Samar was selected as one of the "Young Leaders of Asia" by Asia Society New York in 2007[citation needed].

The filmmaker is also a recipient of the UNICEF Child Rights Award 2005[citation needed], which was presented to her for upholding the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in programming for and about the girl child in Pakistan[citation needed].

Some of her recent documentaries are ‘Allaho: A Lullaby for You my Daughter!’[citation needed] ‘Warawae-e-Lasoona: The Song of Unity,’[citation needed] ‘The Missing Link,’'Da Bajaur Gooloona',[citation needed] ‘The Hidden Colours of the Northwest Frontier Province,’[citation needed] 'Land of a Thousand Colors' and ‘The Dark Side of Migration.[23][24]


  1. ^ Damon Lynch. "On the edge of consciousness". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  2. ^ "Anthropological activism in Pakistan with lullabies". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Samar Minallah Khan". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ [2][dead link]
  6. ^ [3][dead link]
  7. ^ "You (Women Magazine),The News International". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "The Asia Foundation". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  9. ^ Administrator. "Page not found - World Affairs Council". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "Filmmaker Samar Minallah wins prestigious award". The News International, Pakistan. 17 November 2010. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  11. ^ Intikhab Amir. "Documentaries make social change happen". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ Declan Walsh. "15 child brides used to settle Pakistan feud". the Guardian. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  14. ^ [5][dead link]
  15. ^ "Malala's Forgotten Sisters". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  16. ^ "Swara: a bridge over troubled water". Film South Asia 2004. 
  17. ^ "Steps ordered against anti-women jirgas". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  18. ^ [6][dead link]
  19. ^ [7][dead link]
  20. ^ "IRIN Asia - PAKISTAN: Enslaved by tradition - Pakistan - Gender Issues - Governance - Human Rights". IRINnews. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "Tribal decisions: SC declares ‘jirgas’ unconstitutional". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Uprooting culturally sanctioned forms of violence: Samar Minallah sees hope". The News International, Pakistan. 9 August 2012. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  23. ^ "Documentary screening: There is a way out of forced marriages says activist". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "Touching film on Bajaur homeless screened". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  25. ^ APP. "Pakistan working for Women's empowerment: Sherry". Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "Land of a Thousand Colors - Communities with Diverse Culture". UNESCO Multimedia Archives. Retrieved 24 November 2014.