A Tribute to the Water Carriers of Pakistan

A photo contest inspired by water as an essential element of our cultural identity and dedicated to the water carriers – who make living possible for millions of people in Pakistan

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Silk Road Centre’s third annual Heritage Photo Contest, supported by Nestlé Pakistan and Lok Virsa, received its inspiration from water – being an essential element of culture and heritage. Life started and flourished in and around water. Access to water was the most important factor in the location of the location of the earliest human settlements and growth of ancient cities. As early as 2500 BC, cities in the  Indus Valley built water wells to ensure supply of water to city dwellers. In today’s Pakistan, majority of the population has access to potable water through taps, dug wells, water pumps, tube wells etc. However, there are still over 16 million people in Pakistan who follow traditional practices to collect water. Women and children in many parts of the country walk miles every day to carry back water for the family. In cities, piped water reaches just a few areas and the tap water supplied is not drinkable. Those who can afford, count on other sources to get clean drinking water. Overall, Pakistan is among the countries that would face severe water crisis in the coming years. In today’s Pakistan. Per capita water availability has dropped from 5300 cubic meters per year in 1950 to less than 1000 cubic meters. This year’s photo contest highlighted the issue and paid tributes to the water carriers who make life possible for millions of people in Pakistan.

The Photo Contest remained open from July I till October 10,2015 for online submission of entries. The contestants form across Pakistan were invited to visually document the water carriers while fetching, carrying or delivering water in everyday life. Only the original photographic works showing the water carriers along with their water containers such as clay post, water skin bags, buckets, plastic bottles, cans, canisters etc., in a real life setting were accepted for the competition. Photographs that captured just the water pots or containers without the water carrier person were not eligible to enter the competition.

After the submission deadline, 33 pictures were shortlisted for final evaluation by a 3 member jury of senior photography expert including Sajid Munir. Tanvir Shahzad and Muhammad Sikander Malik. The jury selected the best entries on the basis of creativity and photographic quality. Jahangir Abdul Ghafoor from Bahawalpur was declared the Nestlé Winner of the Year. The second position went to Tariq Hameed Sulemani from Jahanian and Alamgir Khan from Mohmand Agency secured third position. The judges also lauded photos taken by Nadeem Khawar and Syed Najam ul Hassan. Their pictures received ‘Honorable Mention’ in the contest.




The Award Ceremony was held at Heritage Museum, Lok Virsa Islamabad on Tuesday, 27th October 2015. Malik Abrar Ahmad graced the ceremony as the chief guest. Mr. Qasim Bughio, Chairman Academy of Letters was guest of honour for the evening. The award ceremony also inaugrated the exhibition of contest pictures that continued for next three days.