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Silent Waters
A film by Sabiha Sumar

99 minutes, fiction, color, 2003
In Urdu & Punjabi w/ English subtitles

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Silent Waters is part of the Human Rights Watch Collection.

Silent Waters is set in 1979 in Pakistan, when General Zia-ul-Haq took control of the country and stoked the fires of Islamic nationalism. Ayesha, a Muslim woman who gets by on her late husband’s pension and by teaching young girls the Koran, invests her hopes in her beloved son Saleem. But when Saleem takes up with a group of Islamic fundamentalists just as a group of Sikh pilgrims come to town, Ayesha’s haunted past turns her present life upside down.


"Rare..wrenching...gripping. Traces the roots of the radical Islamicist movement."
- TV Guide

"An eye-opening look into Pakistan, then and now." - Orlando Sentinel

"Substantial, emotionally detailed... packs a wallop." - The New York Times

"A timely look at the rise of extremism, deeply political but intensely personal."
- Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

"Extraordinary! It graphically depicts the suffering women have to endure because of religion, politics, and patriarchy." - Spirituality & Health Magazine

"A moving portrait of societal and religious discord that, despite its being set a quarter century ago, has resonance today. The forcefulness of its message makes it a rewarding cinematic experience." - Hollywood Reporter


Human Rights Watch in Pakistan

Disc Features

●  Q&A with Human Rights Expert Smita Narula
● Film Notes by Human Rights Watch
● Director’s Statement
● Director Biography

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