Intezaar (The Wait)

Commissioned by Justice Project Pakistan and Highlight Arts.

Complicité Creative Learning partnered with Ajoka Theatre in Lahore to devise a piece based on true stories from Pakistan’s prisons.

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. Very little is known about the life of prisoners in Pakistan, even less about those on death row. One appalling aspect is the never-ending uncertainty and interminable wait: on average a death convict has to wait 11 years or more in prison before the State takes his or her life.

In November 2016, Complicité ran a workshop in Lahore, with actors from Ajoka Theatre, to research the topic and develop ideas for a theatre project. The Company visited prisons, met prisoners on death row, family members, jail wardens, human rights lawyers and executioners.

Rehearsals began in March and Intezaar toured universities in Lahore, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi in April 2017 with the hope of engaging a young audience and opening up a dialogue about the corruption of the criminal justice system in Pakistan.

© Nadeem Mir