Visitors at the ‘Pakistan Behind the Headlines’ exhibition organised by the Médecins Sans Frontières. Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

Dubai: Come out of your comfort zone and visit the exhibition of rare photographs highlighting the health challenges faced by the people living in tribal areas of Pakistan and the biggest slum of Karachi.

‘Pakistan Behind the Headlines’—the exhibition organised by the Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) commonly known as MSF bring showcases the lifestyle of the forgotten people living in the refugee camps and those internally displaced due to conflicts in various regions. It also brings to life the living conditions of people in the ‘Machar (mosquito) Colony’ – known as the largest slum in Karachi.

For the first time, the MSF is organising the exhibition in Dubai at the Pakistan Association in Dubai, the exhibition is open to public on February 8 and 9.

Sa’adia Khan and Thomas Balivet Image Credit: Arshad Ali/Gulf News

The 34-photos exhibition was previously held in Peshawar, Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

Through first-hand experiences, the photos capture moments in the lives of women, men and children who feel like the “forgotten people of Pakistan,” after being forced to flee violence, lose their homes and face extreme hardship.

The images were captured by British Pakistani photographer Sa’adia Khan between 2014 and 2017, as she travelled to MSF projects in FATA, Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, meeting the patients being treated by MSF.

“I feel these people deserve better life and the MSF needs more help to provide necessary healthcare to these forgotten people,” Khan told Gulf News at the media preview on Thursday.

Real people, ordinary lives

Visitors to the exhibition can also interact with Khan and Thomas Balivet, the Country Representative at MSF Pakistan.

“The purpose of the exhibition is to show that beyond the headlines of insecurity and violence in Pakistan, are real people trying to carry on ordinary daily life,” Balivet said.

“The exhibition celebrates their resilience and courage, while highlighting the difficulties they face in accessing basic needs such as healthcare,” he added.

Balivet also voiced MSF’s commitment to provide quality healthcare to the people of Pakistan in the high-need areas: “We work closely with health authorities in the country to address some of the key medical problems faced by the people.”

Difficult path

Commenting on the exhibition, Pakistan Association Dubai president Dr. Faisel Ikram commended MSF’s medical response in the FATA region.

“MSF has been doing amazing work in the field of healthcare throughout the world. They have reached out to the FATA, which is not an easy path to access. We are extremely delighted to be a part of the photographic exhibition, which speaks volumes of their commitment towards community service,” Dr. Ikram said.

Images of resilience

Ayesha Imtiaz, the founder of Poetic Strokes – a Dubai-based art platform that has partnered with MSF for the event – said the images in the exhibition remind her of the “resilience and perseverance of my country.”

Imtiaz added: “Our endurance towards adversity has helped bring the community together, to work towards empowering our people and improving facilities. I thank MSF for doing such commendable work in these remote areas of Pakistan. A lot has to be done and slowly with each other’s help we will be able to move forward towards a healthier world.”

MSF continues to work in other areas of Pakistan outside FATA, including Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Karachi’s Machar Colony slum. In 2018,

What is MSF

MSF is an independent medical humanitarian movement that works in 72 countries around the world, delivering emergency care to people affected by conflict, epidemics and disease, healthcare exclusion and natural disasters. We are independent, neutral and impartial. Guided by medical ethics, we are driven by the belief that every human deserves access to medical care, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation.

Sa’adia Khan – the Photographer

British-born Sa’adia Khan is a self-taught photographer who has lived in Pakistan for over a decade. She launched her professional career in 2009 with a focus on creating compelling images and stories that portray a balanced and nuanced narrative. She was commissioned by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) for a series of photography exhibitions shown from 2015 to 2019 in several countries, including Pakistan, England and France. Sa’adia has also worked on women’s health and maternal care projects in remote areas for MSF. Sa’adia defines herself as a consummate traveler and believes ‘to risk nothing is to have nothing’ (ends)