Original Articles

An open letter to Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy – by Ravez Junejo

Dear Miss Chinoy,

Before I move on to the main theme of this post, I must clarify its purpose as not being the blind adulation you have received from some quarters at your Oscar win.

I wish I could have been part of the horde of your (Karachi and Lahore based) friends and supporters who tweeted and blogged their admiration, enthusiasm and sheer happiness at your Oscar win.

But being a diehard follower of the Pakistan Peoples Party and a supporter of the martyred former premier of Pakistan, the Muslim World’s first female head of state and most successful politician and international stateswoman, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed, I am sure you understand the grievance I hold against you for your role in the insult meted out to my leader in the guise of ‘freedom of artistic expression’ at the Shanakht (Identity) Festival of 2009. An insult meted out LESS THAN TWO YEARS after her brutal martyrdom in Rawalpindi in 2007. When the PPP workers had physically protested that explicit insult in 2009, I had publicly supported their protest right back then (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cmkp_pk/message/14633) and contrasted your irresponsible oversight for our leader with the fear your kind hold for leaders of a Karachi-based political party or the heads of Pakistan’s fearsome military and intelligence agencies.

I also remember how you suspended your event a day later and raised a hue and cry about how people cannot tolerate a difference of opinion and also how you now FEARED FOR YOUR LIFE?! All because a few PPP workers had rightfully protested a picture demeaning our martyred leader that YOUR organisers REFUSED to remove when first requested to do so! That picture, which I saw for the first time a few days ago in a post on Pakistan Blogzine, was ABSOLUTELY worthy of the response it got! These are the very contradictions of your Oscar award which have been eloquently described by a fellow blogger, Safiya Khan.

But I may be wrong. What do I know about provocative artistic expression?! Maybe this is how arty types in your circle express their feelings about people they detest for some reason. With that motive in mind, I would like to offer this picture below for submission and display at the next Shanakht Festival that is to be held under the auspices of your Citizens Association of Pakistan. It is an expression of my heartfelt emotions at your recent achievement, keeping in mind the aesthetic and provocative artistic sensibilities you apparently value at CAP.

I hope it does not disappoint!


Ravez Junejo,

Co-editor, Pakistan Blogzine

Twitter: @ravezjunejo

Source: Pakistan Blogzine

About the author

Jehangir Hafsi


Click here to post a comment
  • Comments from PB:

    March 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm
    Excellent letter.
    How refreshingly different from the usual urban elitist mutual applause on Twitter and other social media!

    Lashkar Bugti
    March 10, 2012 at 6:55 pm
    Such a stunty Article man! Repetition of Laibaah Marri’s article on Sharmeen Chinoy. Hope your own PPP will award her.

    Ravez Junejo (@ravezjunejo)
    March 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm
    I think you are mistaken. I myself am a PPP supporter but Pakistan Blogzine is a bi-partisan, truly independent blog. Btw, hope you liked the picture

    Rehman Khan
    March 10, 2012 at 7:12 pm
    @Lashkar Bugti
    You are long suspected to be a Punjabi ISI stooge in the guise of a Baloch. An ISI stooge praising another ISI stooge (Sharmeen). Are we surprised?

    Lashkar Bugti
    March 10, 2012 at 8:10 pm
    @Rehmat Khan Minatawar gohar (Thanks sis)

    March 10, 2012 at 7:14 pm
    Nobody is beyond criticism (except Najam Sethi and Sharmeen Chinoy).

    Lashkar Bugti
    March 10, 2012 at 8:06 pm
    The shoe is on Sharmeen, not on her oscar. Looks like hate for her and luv for her oscar.

  • She deserves this letter and the shoe!

    By the way, I really like that flipflop on SOC’s picture. Perhaps she may display this piece of art in her next art show in Karachi?

  • Typical mud slinging by LUBP. No insulting picture of Benazir Zardari was ever displayed. It was all propaganda by anti-Sharmeen lobby in Lyari.

  • Really No. 4 Mr Shahid? Really? You’re gonna deny an established fact?

    @SaqibTahir Please define how and why is this post stupid. Unless of course you’re an ultra-patriot Paki who cannot tolerate an insult to your dear Oscar winner.

  • And PPP awarded Sharmeen Obaid with a National Award despite such a plight of my brother and sister of Pakistan Blogzine. Shit!!!

  • Excellent email:

    Apr 9, 2009 11:29 pm

    From: ravez junejo

    Wrath of the Jiyalas…in Karachi

    Normally, whenever something like this occurs, I am usually one of the first to stand up and criticize it. But since I live in Karachi, where vigilateeism is a way of life, this little incident made my heart flutter with delight.

    Every year, an organisation calling itself the CAP (I don’t really know what it stands for) holds a cultural exhibition involving amateur art, porofessional works and culture-themed seminars under the name of Shanakht (Identity) Festival. Many participants come and go but one factor remains constant, somehow the organisers of this festival try to invite a member of the MQM, either someone from the city government or from the provincial party. This should probably give you an idea of it’s ideological bent which is sometimes represented by the works put on display at the festival. I daresay the same took place this year around. But this time, there was a more vocal group of Jiyalas in the crowd (and needless to say, the audience that this festival caters to is largely Muhajir so our fiesty Jiyalas probably belonged to the same community).

    Not much is known about the art work that piqued their interest, but what is known is that it showed the HMZAB and the HMBB in a negative light. What happend thereafter is best described by the “Staff Reporter” in DAWN Metropolitan’s April 9 issue:

    “Bedlam erupted on the inaugural day of the Shanaakht Festival…as protesters had the cultural event shut down and resorted to violence in reaction to the display of art they termed offensive. The art in question was a piece depicting Pakistan People’s Party leaders Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto…in an unflattering manner. As this reporter was exiting a photographic exhibition, a stampede was witnessed…at around 8 pm. Soon, enraged men emerged from the gallery carrying the offending picture and demanding to see the artist. Though the organisers tried to calm the incensed individuals down, they would have none of it…Banners of the festival were torn down, desks were upturned and windowpanes of the Arts Council were smashed, as the protesters herded the private security guards as well as the handful of police officers that were around, out of the premises…Hurling abuses, the incensed individuals ordered all the visitors to leave the premises immediately, while some threatened press men not to take pictures of the violent demonstrators. When PPP leader and the special assistant to the chief minister Waqar Mehdi was contacted…he said according to his information “sympathisers” had gotten perturbed over the display of the offending picture. “The sympathisers protested to the Arts Council representatives and the organisers (the Citizens Archive of Pakistan) and asked them to remove the offensive picture. However, they refused…People got emotional as the organisers refused to take down the picture.” In a a statement, CAP said that one of the contributions had offended some people, for which they “sincerely apologised”. The organisers of the Shanaakht Festival said they had removed the offensive contribution (while a PPP leader the reporter spoke to claimed that the offending picture had been taken away by them).”

    The PPP is alive and kicking in Karachi ! 😛 We owe this resurgence in our popularity in the MQM’s backyard to people like Senator Faisal Abidi, Advisor Mirza Ikhtiar Baig and a local PPP leader known by his pseudonym Guddu Biharee (who recently lost his brother to an assasination attempt supposedly from the MQM). When the PPP’s election campaign made it’s first appearance at Bilawal House (traditional meeting place for the PPP processions celebrating something with incessant carhorn-pumping and aerial firing) just three days before the election last year, I spoke in Sindhi to the first person I met. When he didn’t respond in the same language, I though he didn’t understand what I had said and spoke to him in Urdu. Only when we were getting to know each other did I learn that the man wasn’t a Sindhi but was a Muhajir from North Nazimabad ! From then on, I always speak in Urdu when I cross someone around Bilawal House or when a mass of celebrating jiyalas gathers there. My fervent hope is that one day our strength is electorally pronounced in Karachi so that we could end this artificial “Urban-Rural” divide that exists cutlturally and politically in only one province of Pakistan, Sindh

    Jeay, Jeay, Jeay Bhutto !
    Jeay Bilawal !
    Jeay PPP !
    Zinda hay BB zinda hay !

    Ravez Junejo,

    Apr 9, 2009 11:29 pm

  • come on abb madam bibi and her father were not at all angels on all issues…zardari bhi unhi ki daryaft hy