Madeeha Gauhar founder of Ajoka Theatre passes away

The well known theatre director passed on this morning. Her funeral is tomorrow at 5pm from her house in Lahore.

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Pakistan's well-known actress, playwright, and women activist Madeeha Gauhar passed away in Lahore this morning. She was 61.

Founder of Ajoka Theatre, Gauhar was battling with cancer for the last three years. A brave woman, she was known for her commitment to theatre for social change. She had set up Ajoka theatre in 1984.

Ajoka's plays have addressed issues related to human rights, especially women's issues such as female literacy, honor killings, rights of the girl child, health and family planning. Ajoka has performed all over the world, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Oman, Iran, Egypt, Hong Kong, the US, UK, and Norway.

Madeeha was the first Pakistani to get the prestigious Prince Claus Award for her leadership of Ajoka, which was praised by the organizers of the Dutch prize for "[withstanding] pressures from the political and religious establishment, and [remaining] committed to the cause of theatre for social change." She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize from Pakistan in 2005.

Married to writer and director Shahid Nadeem, she was also in the forefront of peace movements between Pakistan and India. Shahid is a Kashmiri whose father was a well-known doctor from Sopore in north Kashmir.

Her Funeral prayers would be held on Thursday near her residence in 24 Sarwar Road Cantt.

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