The documentary play SEVEN was hosted by the Swedish Embassy and the Saida Waheed Gender Initiative at LUMS on November 24, 2017. The play is based on the real life stories of seven women’s rights activists from Nigeria, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Russia, Pakistan, Northern Ireland, and Cambodia. The touring concept was created by the Swedish producer Hedda Krausz and developed alongside with the National Touring Theatre and the Swedish Institute, and has been performed by different people in 38 countries.
SEVEN was directed by Umair Mushtaq, and presented by seven different presenters in Lahore. Kamran Asdar Ali read the life story of Hafsa Abiola from Nigeria, who became an advocate for human rights and democracy after the murder of her activist parents. Kiran Khan read for Farida Azizi – a bold woman who became an activist fighting the marginalization of women under the Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Fouzia Viqar got into the character of Mu Sochua from Cambodia, reflecting on her work against sex trafficking and her journey from her activism to winning a seat in Parliament in 2008. Akbar Nasir Khan read out the harrowing, yet inspiring life story of Mukhtar Mai who was gang raped by four men in retribution for an “honor crime”; she went on to build schools, and became an advocate for education rights in Pakistan. Other readers included Nighat Dad, Justice (Retired) Nasira Iqbal, and Shaza Fatima Khawaja who shared the stories of Anabella de León, Marina Pisklakova, and Inez McCormack, respectively, with the audience.
The reading ended with some reflections from the seven readers on ways in which they can help promote access to justice for women suffering from violence, and an appeal to everyone present to participate in raising awareness around the problem of violence against women.