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Filmography - Area Studies: South Asia, Southeast Asia, Oceania: Pakistan

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of January 2017

Area Studies: Pakistan

Titles available on DVD and streaming video as of April 2011.

Most streaming videos listed are available exclusively to AU students, staff and faculty after an online authentications by AUID#.

Filmographies are created by doing multiple keyword searches in the ALADIN catalog to capture as many titles on a topic as possible. For complete up-to-date holdings (including VHS tapes) please refer to the library ALADIN catalog (

Note: Vietnam War and War on Terror (in Afghanistan) are addressed in specific filmographies on those topics. Feature films are also excluded from this list with the exception of a few that depict important historical events that aren’t well covered by documentaries (e.g. The Killing Fields).


After the Rape: Mukhtar Mai Seeking Justice in Pakistan. 2005. 1 streaming video (23 min.). Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped, but it wasn't considered a crime; it was a sentence handed down by a Pakistani tribal council-a punishment for the alleged indiscretions of her younger brother. This ABC News program confronts the council's decision, a ruling declared an outrage by a local imam and others, while introducing the courageous woman who chose to defy custom and fight for justice in the Pakistani courts. Includes commentary by Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies and professor of international relations at American University in Washington, D.C. Streaming video

Ancient India. 1996. 1 streaming video (48 min.). The antecedents of modern Indian culture can be traced back to the Harappan civilization, which flourished between 2300 and 1500 BC in what are now Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Aryan tribes from the Russian steppes invaded the subcontinent in 1000 BC, bringing their language and culture. The resulting synthesis between the Aryan and Indian civilizations brought forth a unique society that included a caste system, which soon became entrenched. This program examines the religious tension between Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, and the historical events that shaped the great Indian civilizations, from the Mauryan Empire through the Mogul Empire. Maps and scholars provide insight into a culture that remains vibrant and diverse today. Streaming video

Balancing acts. Life 4: Millennium series: Life 4 (Bullfrog Films, inc.). 2004. 1 videodisc (23 min.). In Pakistan, seventeen-year-old Hina is challenging tradition to complete her education. In Afghanistan, returning refugees like Maa Gul want the government to honor their right to shelter. In Kenya, Rose, who is HIV positive, is championing rights to independence for widows. And in Nigeria, market trader Tematayo is demanding the government acknowledge her worth as a successful businesswoman. DVD 1695

The Battle for Islam. 2005. 1 streaming video (63 min.). A far-reaching exploration of Islam after 9/11, this program follows renowned scholar Ziauddin Sardar on an eye-opening journey through Morocco, Turkey, Pakistan, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Sardar interviews Muslims with widely varying political leanings-including Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, other government leaders, women's rights activists, and a cleric who promotes an extremely conservative form of Sharia. The program exposes the tension between pluralistic and hard-liner mentalities growing within the Muslim world, and concludes that moderation and tolerance, rather than zealotry and terror, will ensure the continued strength of the faith. A BBCW Production. Some interviews are in other languages with English subtitles. Streaming video

Benazir Bhutto: Battling Dictatorship in Pakistan. 2005. 1 streaming video (42 min.). As prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was the first woman-and also the youngest person-to head the government of a Muslim-majority state in modern times. In this program, Bhutto answers questions about the personal risks she faced as a woman pursuing a career in Pakistani politics, the influence of Western democracy on her as a politician, and the empowering effect of her role in public life on Pakistani women. She also explains why her government recognized the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and addresses charges of corruption against her. Background on her upbringing and education and her arranged marriage is included as well. Streaming video

Dishonored Story of Mukhtar Mai. 2008. 1 videodisc (52 min.). "In June 2002, a dispute involving a question of honor between the Mai and Mastois clans in rural Pakistan was judged by a local tribal council. When Mukhtar Mai pleaded on her family's behalf, the local imam consented to her punishment as honor-revenge, and she was brutally gang-raped by four men from the Mastois clan.  Although local tradition presumed that Mukhtar would commit suicide because she had been dishonored, this strong-willed peasant woman reported the rape to the local police.  When they refused to do anything, a local journalist published her story, which soon erupted in a national controversy over the oppression of women under Islamic law.  DISHONORED documents the remarkable story of Mukhtar Mai, whose demand for justice received media coverage worldwide, and which over the next few years led to a dramatic series of legal proceedings... Features interviews with Mukhtar Mai as well as a variety of human rights and women's rights activists, lawyers, government officials, politicians and journalists, all of which serve to illuminate the widespread abuse of women throughout the region" -- Container. DVD 6300

Empires of India. 2000. 1 streaming video (53 min.). Famed for its wealth, cultural treasures, and spiritual traditions, India has for centuries beckoned the outsider. Many nations have vied for control of this fabled and colorful land-with two great empires, one established by invading Moghuls, the other by the British, flourishing in turns on the vast subcontinent. Viewers of this program learn how, in the 16th century, the Turkic warlord Babur led his forces out of Central Asia and founded a dynasty in India-which persisted until a new colonial power arrived to stake its own claims. Enter Robert Clive, a psychologically disturbed British officer who delivered 18th-century India into the hands of the Crown. Streaming video

Eqbal Ahmad and the Partitioning of India. 1996. 1 streaming video (55 min.). Eqbal Ahmad, a leading authority on colonialism and nationalism, asserts that a nation is hard to define because it is an ideology based on identity, and identity constantly changes.And he should know, having once traveled 900 miles from his village in India to resettle in Pakistan as part of the 1947 Muslim exodus. This program engages Professor Ahmad in a retrospective investigation of the politico-religious ideals that led to the formation of India and Pakistan as he travels once again, 49 years later, the Grand Trunk Road. Streaming video

Frontline world: stories from a small planet. 2008. 1 videodisc (60 min.). Pakistan: state of emergency: follows the Pakistani army into the Swat Valley as they fight Taliban insurgents ; Russia: Putin's plan: the Kremlin fights opposition to President Putin, including former chess champion Gary Kasparov ; Cuba: the art revolution: in a country that suppresses political free speech, artists have created a revolution that has gained the attention of the international art market. DVD 7019

Frontline world: stories from a small planet. 2009. 1 videodisc (60 min.). "Correspondent Sharmeen Obaid investigates the increasing power and influence of a new branch of the Taliban in Pakistan that is helping make the country one of the Obama administration's top foreign policy concerns. Also correspondent Doug Ruchkoff travels to the edge of the digital frontier -- South Korea -- for a look at a country that's embraced the wired world more thoroughly than any place on earth and is now potentially facing a new public health crisis: internet addition." -- Container. DVD 6997

Frontline world: stories from a small planet. 2009. 1 videodisc (60 min.). "As a nervous world watches a new branch of the Taliban gain ground -- and the United States steps up its pressure on the Pakistani government to confront the militants' mounting threat -- FRONTLINE World responds with this special edition of reports from the front lines of what has become, perhaps, the most volatile conflict in the world.  First, a timely rebroadcast of Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's dangerous journey through a country under siege -- from Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, where the army is battling the Taliban; to the Swat Valley, where the Taliban are fighting to keep control; to the major cities, which the Taliban now have in their sights.  Also, correspondent David Montero investigates the mysterious death of a journalist -- and a personal friend -- killed while reporting from ground zero of the army's campaign against the Taliban in the Swat Valley.  And, finally, a new dispatch from Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on the coming battle for hearts and minds in Pakistan's largest city." -- Container. DVD 7147

Global Addiction: Dispatches from the War on Drugs. 1999. 1 streaming video (41 min.). Can the exploding drug trade be stemmed in the face of a rising demand in the U.S. and Europe and political accommodations and economic realities in producer countries? This program studies the drug industry in Colombia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Burma, where UN crop substitution programs are thwarted by governments unwilling or unable to crack down on drug production and by drug lords who use incentives and coercion to increase drug crop yields. The issue is made more complex by fundamentalist Islamic nations that have reconciled their strict religious beliefs with economic necessity and by the harsh programs China and Japan are using to rehabilitate the growing number of addicts. Streaming video

I Am a Sufi, I Am a Muslim. 1994. 1 streaming video (50 min.). This program introduces Sufism, a branch of Islam which is much less well known in the West than some of the more fundamentalist forms which are frequently in the news. The program travels to India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Macedonia to explore exactly what Sufism is and observe how it is practiced in various parts of the world today. Among the many aspects of Sufism featured in the program are the whirling dervishes of Turkey, who find God through ecstasy; ecstatic fakirs in Macedonia, where there is a big revival in popular Sufism; and the vital role of music in Sufism in India and Pakistan. The program also features Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, perhaps the most well-known performer of Qawali music. Streaming video

India and Pakistan: The Expanding Nuclear Threat. 2003. 1 streaming video (57 min.). India and Pakistan have been battling over ownership of Kashmir for more than half a century. In 1998, however, both countries shocked the world by joining the exclusive nuclear club. When violence erupted the following year in Kargil-the central region of Kashmir-an anxious U.S. report declared that this conflict had the potential to escalate into a nuclear war between the two countries.This program explores how close each country came to nuclear weapons use at the time of the Kargil conflict based on firsthand accounts of citizens, armies, and government officials. Considerable attention is given to 9/11's influence on the ordeal. Streaming video

India: From Moghuls to Independence. 1 streaming video (42 min.). This program covers the history of India from the time of Genghis Khan's first extension of his domain beyond China. It explains the roles of Tamerlane and his descendant Babur and shows the crucial Battle of Panipat between Babur and the forces of Ibrahim Lodi, the Afghan Sultan of Delhi. There would be many more battles (including a second battle of Panipat) before the Afghans were beaten, but Babur had established Mongol hegemony over a vast territory. The program traces the subsequent history of India: the exploits of his son Humayun and his grandson, Akbar; the arrival of Europeans; the flowering of Moghul culture epitomized by the Taj Mahal, and the decline; its submission to the British Empire and its reawakening at independence. Streaming video

The Islamic Wave. 2000. 1 streaming video (50 min.). Rising above the myths and misinformation surrounding Islam, one fact is clear: the Muslim religion is growing as never before. This program surveys the sociopolitical landscape of Islamic hotspots in the Middle East, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, and elsewhere. Featuring commentary by General Pervez Musharraf, Qazi Hussain Ahmad, Dr. Hasan al-Turabi, and other key figures, the balanced documentary provides background on the world's second-largest religion, examines Islam's increasing popularity, and considers the use of violence by Muslim extremists to attain their goals. Streaming video

Journeys into Islamic India. 2004. 1 streaming video (50 min.). Muslims arrived in India the same year they entered Spain-and by the end of the 13th century ruled nearly all of the country. This program travels across India by way of Iran, Pakistan, and Maldives to examine the rich Islamic heritage of the region. The program also observes the Muslim way of life on the subcontinent as it exists today. Sites of note include the Taj Mahal, the Golkonda Fort ruins, and the Charminar monument. Streaming video

Kashmir: Valley of Despair. 1998. 1 streaming video (44 min.). The valley of Kashmir is occupied by both India and Pakistan and acts as a buffer zone between these two nuclear powers. The Kashmiri people want an independent, autonomous state, which India refuses to grant. India fears that if Kashmir gains sovereignty, other ethnic minorities may also demand independence. The Kashmiri rebels, backed by Pakistan, and Indian government forces are waging a war of attrition that nobody appears to be winning and which could result in nuclear conflict. This program provides a history and a thorough analysis of the political, religious, and ethnic causes of the Kashmir conflict. Streaming video

Khamosh pani: Silent waters. 2004. 1 videodisc (95 min.). It is 1979 and Pakistan is embracing nationalism through its Islamic identity. Widowed Ayesha lives in Charkhi, Punjab with her son Saleem, who joins a group of fundamentalists. When a group of Sikh pilgrims come to town, the family's faith comes into question. HOME USE COLLECTION DVD 3239

The Killing of Kashmir. 2004. 1 streaming video (50 min.). This program offers provocative perspectives on the fate of Kashmir and investigates the accusations of international human rights groups that Indian troops and police systematically kidnap, torture, and kill innocent civilians. Through firsthand accounts of the Indian troops and police as well as Pakistani militants immersed in the conflict, the documentary argues that the inhabitants of Kashmir are hapless victims of both sides. Streaming video

Missing Women: Female-Selective Abortion and Infanticide. 2006. 1 streaming video (54 min.). In India, Pakistan, and China, being born a girl can be an instant death sentence. This program-winner of the Albert Londres Prize, France's highest award for journalism-unflinchingly examines the cultural, economic, and political reasons for the systematic elimination of females in Asia and considers the implications of the dramatic demographic disruption that will likely occur as a result of this growing imbalance between the sexes. The use of amniocentesis and ultrasound scans to identify female fetuses for abortion is investigated, as are the practices of newborn abandonment and infanticide by a parent or a hired baby girl killer. Streaming video

The painted bride: henna art among Pakistani women in New York City. 1990. 1 streaming video (25 min). Painted Bride features the exquisite mehndi body painting tradition as it is practiced among Pakistani immigrants living in Queens, New York City. The film follows a mehndi artist, Shenaz Hooda, as she prepares a henna paste and paints intricate designs on the hands and feet of a bride-to-be, while the bride's friends sing humorous songs mocking the groom and the future in-laws. The film also explores the important role played by mehndi artists, like Hooda, who help to make traditional wedding customs possible in immigrant Indian and Pakistani communities. It follows Hooda as she moves between her job in a drug store, a public school where she demonstrates her art to students, the wedding party of a young bride, and her own wedding party, exploring the tensions between American and Pakistani ideas about gender, clothing, custom, and ritual. Streaming video,69

Pakistan: Between the Chitralis and Pathans. 1998. 1 streaming video (51 min.). Situated in western Asia, Pakistan occupies a region of political and economic tension. This program looks at Pakistan's complex relations with Iran, India, and the United States and the contributions of its multicultural population. The influences of Punjabi and Pathan, Sindhi and Baluchi, and Ismaili and Buddhist are all captured, set against the background of life both in cities and in rural communities. The region's heritage as the seat of the Indus Valley civilization is also explored. Streaming video

Pakistan on the Brink. 2008. 1 streaming video (45 min.). Pakistan's greatest enemy is no longer India but rather the internal menace of the Taliban, who have reinvented themselves in a bid to take over the country. This program examines the conflict ravaging one of America's key allies in the war on terror. Traveling to Peshawar, an urban gateway to Pakistan's tribal region, the program depicts a city under regular Taliban attack and follows a local journalist deep into Taliban territory. Interviews feature figures on all sides of the conflict-including Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas of the Pakistani military, Samina Ahmed of the International Crisis Group, and Hakimullah Mehsud, a fundamentalist leader who vows to destroy the government for siding with the United States. Streaming video

Return of the Taliban. 2006. 1 videodisc (60 min.). " ... the lawless Pakistani tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border ... reveals how the area has fallen under the control of a resurgent Taliban militia ... a launching pad for attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan ... the Taliban has claimed ... North and South Waziristan as Taliban republics ... off limits to U.S. troops ... Frontline investigates a secret front in the war on terror."--Container. DVD 3151

The Rock Star and the Mullahs: Cultural Tensions within Pakistan. 2003. 1 streaming video (57 min.). Salman Ahmad, charismatic lead guitarist for the Pakistani rock group Junoon, has publicly advocated peace with India. Ahmad is also UNAIDS Special Representative. But a coalition of fundamentalist Islamic parties has made unexpected gains in Pakistani elections-evoking contrasts between liberals like Ahmad and hardliner mullahs who want to ban music. This Wide Angle report follows the artist as he journeys to the tolerant, ancient city of Lahore and the fundamentalist stronghold of Peshawar, revealing religious and political conflicts within the nuclear-armed Islamic republic. From this trip emerges a rich portrait of modern-day Pakistan, a pivotal nation in the war against terror. In addition, anchor Mishal Husain interviews Christina Rocca, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia. Streaming video

Syed Amjad Ali. Chronoscope: American history in video. 1954. 1 streaming video (15 min.). Streaming video;528141