The Death Penalty in Pakistan — Life on the Line
There are currently more than 8,000 prisoners on death row in Pakistan making it a country with one of the largest death row populations in the world. Numbers, however, can not capture the toll these punishments have on families, communities and, indeed, on the often impoverished or mentally ill prisoners themselves.
We believe these human stories are essential to understanding the impact of the death penalty, not just in Pakistan, but around the world. So, in partnership with the Justice Project Pakistan, Ajoka theatre in Lahore and Complicite in London we embarked on a series of workshops to devise a new theatrical piece which aims to bring the story of death row to life.
In order to tell the stories of the prisoners, guards, judges, lawyers and family members who inhabit the world of capital punishment our cast, directors and producers visited prisons, met with human rights lawyers to discuss their clients, read case studies, transcripts of interviews with prisoners. They talked with family members and they took this and began to improvise stories and scenes. In doing so they devised this show collectively as a company.
We will be premiering our work at performance in Lahore in April 2017. We feel a profound sense of responsibility and hope this will be a show which engages the public and opens up a dialogue about capital punishment. Throughout this process we have learned, first hand, that every human life has a story and we aim to share what feels like when that story gets cut off.