Don't Ask Why

Anousheh lives with her strict Muslim parents and two brothers in Karachi. At 17, she is at an age where daughters are usually married off. But Anousheh wants to study and refuses to accept the restrictions her religion and culture have imposed on her personal freedom. It causes conflict with her mother and lengthy discussions with her father. Her desire to be 'as free as her brothers' is drawing her close to the Islamic political party, Jamaat-i-Islami which, although dominated by men, promises the liberating power of Islam for both men and women. The film, by one of the few independent filmmakers in Pakistan, follows Anousheh as she struggles to realise her dreams and cope with her share of disappointment.

Mumbai Documentary Film Festival
Munich Documentary Film Festival
Sheffield International Documentary Festival
South Asian Film Festival, NY

“ Lively, exciting and eminently watchable: a rare quality in an era when sometimes mere video recordings pass for great documentaries. Sumar's film takes us on a journey into the life of a 17-year-old girl from an Urdu-speaking Muslim family in Karachi. The film, based on the diary of Anousheh, provides us a rare glimpse of the dreams, aspirations and fears of a young girl growing up in a largely conservative, patriarchal society.”

Pratik Joshi
Federation of Film Societies in India


Sabiha Sumar is the only independent film director in Pakistan. She studied film at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and has since been making films on social, political and environmental issues.

Her films "Who Will Cast the First Stone", "Karachi" and "Where Peacocks Dance" have been aired on Channel Four, UK and "Of Mothers, Mice and Saints" was produced for ZDF, Germany. Her work has been shown at the London and Rotterdam Film Festivals. Most of her films cannot be shown in Pakistan.

Fri, Mar 19th, 7pm
Mission Cultural Ctr
Shown with
Co-presented by



Pakistan, 1999
58 mins
Beta Colour
Urdu, English

Sabiha Sumar

M.Claire Pijman
M. Iqbal
Sven Sauer

Ludo Keeris
GM Chand

Calle Overweg

Jochen Voerste

Savan Dutta

Women Make Movies


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