The Embassy of Sweden unveiled a photo exhibition of Pakistani Papas featuring role model fathers at the Centaurus Mall on Saturday.
Inspired by the Swedish photographer, Johan Bavman’s series documenting the lives of fathers in Sweden, who used Sweden’s national parental leave policy to stay at home with their children for at least six months, the exhibition showcased portraits of 15 Pakistani fathers sharing childcare responsibilities and joys with their spouses.
“This is an exhibition that will tour throughout Pakistan in the coming weeks, Ambassador Johansson said.
“This is a joint undertaking between the Embassy of Sweden in Pakistan, Shirakat and the Swedish Institute. I am delighted to welcome all of you and especially the fathers and children featured in the exhibition,” the ambassador said.
She added: “The exhibition is meant to explore how Pakistani papas view their modern male role in contrast to the traditional, stereotype parental role.
“We selected these photographs out of many, many online and offline entries in a photo competition we launched a while ago. These demonstrate most strongly the type of men that live their fatherhood experience to the full.”
Bilquis Tahira from Shirakat said: “We have been working on gender equality and gender justice for many years and we believe that girls and boys, women and men, all people should have equal opportunities and have equal growth and development.”
She further added that, “We were able to connect some of the fathers here with this project. When men participate in raising children, the children are stronger, better off emotionally and mentally, but the fathers also benefit.”
A guest at the event, Abdullah Khan, said: “It is your responsibility to focus your efforts on supervising and encouraging your child. You have to be very careful to start developing your child as a social being so they have the skills they need to interact and function as adults.”
Another guest, Asim Ghaffar, said: “For a father to be a complete father there are some very important things and the foremost of those is to ensure that there is a balanced life for their children.”
He further said: “I lived with my parents so you had to create value in the household and create balance for everybody, however you can, be it through changing diapers or brushing teeth.”
“You have to figure out the most important thing you can do in the moment and do it especially sharing responsibility with your spouse,” Mr Ghaffar added.
Immad Ali, a photographer, said: “We are living in the 21st century and we have to share our burdens and responsibilities both outside and inside the home. I’m out all day working but when I get home to my daughter at night it is an incredibly refreshing feeling.
“My photograph is one where I am changing a diaper and I don’t know how people will see it but it is something I do.”
Originally published in Dawn, November 26th, 2018