11th Karachi Literature Festival concludes on an exhilarating note

Karachi (Muhammad Yasir) The 3rd and the last day of the 11th Karachi Literature Festival drew a huge crowd of literature lovers who didn’t want to miss out any of the exciting sessions lined-up for the day.

The enthusiastic engagement of the festival visitors with the written word, authors, artists, and the literati is indicative of the inspiring ideas and debates the 11th Karachi Literature Festival generated.

Several stimulating discussions were held on the 3rd day including one titled ‘Urdu Adab ki Rang-a-Rang Jehtain’ with Azra Abbas, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Attiya Dawood, Masud Mufti, and Asghar Nadeem Syed.

Another popular session was ‘Student Politics in Pakistan: Back to the Future’ with Arooj Aurangzeb, Faisal Subzwari, Azhar Abbas, Khalid Amin, and Naghma Iqtidar as panellists and Nadeem Farooq Paracha as the moderator.

Another exciting session titled ‘Pakistani Cinema in the Twenty- First Century’ featured Faseeh Bari Khan, Saqib Malik, Faysal Qureshi, Sheheryar Munawar Siddiqui, Bee Gul, and Sangeeta as speakers.

A discussion on ‘Karachi’s Literary Heritage: A Celebration’ took place featuring Ghazi Salahuddin, Iftikhar Ali Shallwani, Peerzada Salman, Rumana Husain, and Maniza Naqvi as speakers. ‘Maps of Belonging’ was the title of a conversation between Muneeza Shamsie and the award-winning writer Ahdaf Soueif. A stimulating discussion was carried  out in the panel discussion on ‘Financial Inclusion and Women Empowerment’ between Reza Baqir, Ayesha Aziz, Ishrat Husain, and Muhammad Aurangzeb. The session ‘Kashmir: The Paradise Lost’ attracted a lot of attention. The panelists included Victoria Schofield, Athar Abbas, Mushaal Hussein Mullick, and Sardar Masood Khan.

A fun-filled session titled ‘Punching Up: Young Comedians Redefining Satire’ featured Shehzad Ghias, Ali Gul Pir, Natalia Gul, and Gul Zaib Shakeel. It was moderated by Hamna Zubair.

There were readings on ‘Asad Mohammad Khan: The Living Legend’ by Zia Mohyeddin.

 The topic of Media Crisis: Who is Responsible? was discussed by Azhar Abbas, Mubashir Zaidi, Owais Tohid and Sabrina Toppa.

The 3rd and final day of the Karachi Literature Festival concluded with a talk by the inimitable media person Javed Jabbar. It was titled ‘Mapping Pakistan’s Cultural Evolution over the Past 72 Years’ and highlighted the very imaginative, inspiring and uplifting journey of culture and art through Pakistan’s seven decades long existence.

The Chief Guest of the Closing Ceremony, Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, while speaking on the occasion, said “Every year, Karachi Literature Festival creates a tremendous space for exchange of ideas and promotion of literature in Pakistan. It’s great to see that the festival organisers have created and sustained a literary space which was dying because of other available mediums.”

He added further, “I am glad to see that the attendees look satisfied and at peace, free enough to attend a literature festival. Unfortunately, people in occupied Kashmir do not have that luxury. I would also urge everyone to be politically correct and speak up for the Kashmiris because we are not just passive recipients of the news today, in fact we are all influencers.”

Speeches were also made by the Guest of Honour Mr Mike Nithavrianakis, British Deputy High Commissioner. Keynote speeches were made by Dr Ahdaf Soueif and Mr Harris Khalique, while a Vote of Thanks was delivered by the Festival Organizer, Mr Arshad Saeed Husain, Managing Director, Oxford University Press Pakistan.

He said, “I think you will all agree that at least, here, at KLF, there have been numerous sessions where the burning issues of the day were deliberated on by the panellists. The 11th KLF has examined the emergence of fascist nationalism in many countries, one of the deadliest examples of which is our neighbour on the east. KLF participants have reviewed the recent dangerous twist to the Kashmir dispute and the miserable plight of the Kashmiri people. World peace is threatened by turmoil and deepening tensions in the Middle East. We have analysed the issues of student activism, urban decay, climate change and Karachi’s water woes, and Pakistan’s deeply regrettable Literacy and Education Crisis. Yes, clearly, the most consequential issues of our time have indeed been focused upon in the past two and a half days.”

In his concluding remarks, he thanked the speakers, panellists, and performers for being part of KLF’s 11th edition; KLF Advisory Board members for their time, effort, and thought; to the media for their interest and enthusiasm; and last but not the least, to the audience who mark the success of KLF every year.