Past Event

Film Screening of "Shadowlands" and discussion with producer Nida Kirmani (LUMS)

February 27, 2023
4:15 PM - 5:45 PM
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Film Screening of Shadowlands and discussion with producer, Nida Kirmani (LUMS)

on life after conflict in Lyari, Karachi

Time:  4:15pm - 5:45pm

Location:  Room 208 Knox Hall, 606 West 122nd Street, between Broadway and Claremont

Moderated by Katherine Ewing (Religion; Director, South Asia Institute)

One of the oldest settlements in Karachi, Lyari has been the site on-going violence between political parties, criminal gangs and law enforcement agencies since the early 2000s. Due to this on-going conflict, Lyari has been called the ‘Colombia of Karachi’ and has been labeled by law enforcement agencies and the media as one of several ‘no-go areas’ in the city. However, residents of Lyari tell a different story, referring to this area as ‘Karachi ki maan’ or the mother of Karachi. For Lyari’s residents, their locality has continuously shifted from being a space of protection against the hostile social and political environment of the city to a space of terror at the hands of local criminal gangs and law enforcement agencies. While the conflict has gradually subsided since 2013, the state-led Operation came with its own violence with many residents losing family members to extrajudicial killings (‘encounters’). Many others are still in prison for alleged involvement in the gangs. Furthermore, the roots of the conflict—poverty, drugs, and the conflict between political parties—remain factors that shape the area. Hence, while Lyari may officially be at ‘peace’, residents are aware the violent conflict may erupt at any time in the future. This documentary follows two residents of Lyari, both of whom have lost family members to police encounters. Through telling their stories, the documentary sheds light on the on-going ramifications of violence and to question whether peace has truly been achieved for the people of Lyari.

Nida Kirmani is the Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Associate Professor of South Asian Studies for the 2022 – 2023 academic year at Brandeis University’s South Asian Studies Program.  At Brandeis, Professor Kirmani continue her research and writing on urban violence, gender, and insecurity in Lyari in Karachi Pakistan.  Dr. Kirmani is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences, and coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor.

Prof. Kirmani is a feminist public intellectual who has published widely on issues related to gender, Islam, women’s movements, development, and urban studies in India and Pakistan. She completed her Ph.D. in 2007 from the University of Manchester in Sociology. Her book, Questioning ‘the Muslim Woman’: Identity and Insecurity in an Urban Indian Locality, was published in 2013 by Routledge.