Pakistani rape film ‘Verna’ wins out over censor board after tense battle

Mahira Khan stars in ‘Verna,’ a harrowing movie about a rape survivor’s fight for justice. (Photo courtesy: Hum Films)
Updated 18 November 2017
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Pakistani rape film ‘Verna’ wins out over censor board after tense battle

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad’s Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) waded into hot water last week due to its decision to halt the release of Shoaib Mansoor’s highly-anticipated film “Verna.” Fans are, however, celebrating as the Information Ministry announced the movie would be released across the country without any cuts in a statement made yesterday.
Starring Mahira Khan, Haroon Shahid, Zarrar Khan and Naimal Khawar, the film is a harrowing look at a rape survivor’s fight for justice against the perpetrator and the justice system itself.
Last week, board sited the rape scene as the reason behind its decision to ban the screening of the movie.
Many Twitter users took issue with the censor board suggesting the film was inappropriate for handling exactly what the subject matter of the film is. Supporters of the director, the stars in it and the film itself have taken to Twitter and began online campaigns to give the board a piece of their mind and insist the film be released.
This film seeks to not only highlight the gut-wrenching road to justice. Mansoor’s previous films “Bol” and “Khuda Ke Liye” also focus on the often unfair way culture, tradition and societal expectations stack up against women, particularly of Pakistan and Pakistani descent.
Central Board of Film Censors Chairman Mubashir Hasan confirmed CBFC passed Verna without any cuts or mutes.
"It is confirmed that film Verna has been declared suitable and fit for public exhibition. CBFC has issued censor certificate to the producer. CBFC has regulatory jurisdiction [over] cinema houses located in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) and those located in the cantonment areas across the country," he said, according to Images.


Woman punches bear, gets help from dog to survive attack

Updated 15 December 2018
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Woman punches bear, gets help from dog to survive attack

  • The attack occurred in a rural area outside Muncy, Pennsylvania, roughly 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia
  • The attack began when she went outside with her dog around 6 p.m.

PENNSYLVANIA: A woman survived a mauling by a bear by repeatedly punching the animal and crawling into a bush as her Chihuahua-mix distracted the attacker.
Melinda LeBarron has broken bones, cuts and bruises and multiple bites after the attack outside her home in rural Pennsylvania on Wednesday evening, her son said. She remained hospitalized in critical condition Friday.
Her dog — fittingly named Bear — was also bitten several times and has a broken sternum and separated ribs.
“I’ll just put it this way — she’s very, very lucky to be alive,” said her son, Trent LeBarron, who described her as a tough person. “She was punching the bear and everything. Her right hand’s all swollen up from punching the bear.”
The attack began when she went outside with her dog around 6 p.m. When Bear the dog barked, Melinda LeBarron, a 51-year-old food prepper at a steakhouse restaurant, looked around to see what had startled the canine.
“The next thing she knew, she was on the ground getting slammed around,” said her son.
The black bear dragged Melinda about 80 yards (70 meters) through her yard, across a road, and into a thicket, while the dog tried to intervene, biting the black bear several times. Some of her clothes were ripped off in the process.
The attack left a trail of blood that relatives later followed.
“As she said in her own words, the bear wouldn’t show her no mercy at all,” Trent LeBarron said. “It wouldn’t stop.”
Eventually Melinda LeBarron went limp, and the bear took an interest in the dog, giving her a chance to climb into a small bush. She then threw a stick to distract the bear and finally made her way home to call a relative for help.
Bear the dog somehow got back into the home and was found whimpering beneath a bed.
“She’s stable now,” Trent LeBarron said. “She’s doing good, she’s actually doing very good. She has a long ways to go and a lot of lot of surgeries coming up.”
Before Melinda LeBarron was able to speak, she wrote on a pad to ask how her dog was doing.
“We asked her if Bear saved her life,” Trent LeBarron said. She nodded her head yes “so fast it was unreal.”
The attack occurred in a rural area outside Muncy, Pennsylvania, roughly 165 miles (265 kilometers) northwest of Philadelphia.
Wildlife officials told WNEP-TV they are trying to track the bear. Game Commission spokesman Travis Lau said his agency believes it is a sow with cubs and the attack occurred after the dog ran toward the bears.
Mike Levan, Melinda LeBarron’s neighbor and landlord, whose wife called 911, said a bear sow and four cubs were seen in the neighborhood all summer.