1ST – 3RD November 2019

THAAP’s 10th International Conference took a successful start in Lahore on the 1st of November and will continue till November 3rd. The conference is organized by THAAP in collaboration with the Institute of Art and Culture; IAC. With the objective of progressing into a more evolved state of society; THAAP conferences provide a platform to people from around the world, to have a healthy discussion on the papers presented by professionals, scholars and students. The inaugural session commenced by Prof. Pervaiz Vandal’s warm welcome address to the conference delegates, honored guests and participants. He opened his speech from Late Rati Framroze Cooper’s demise followed by a moment of silence, who left the world last year and had been with THAAP from its inception. The theme for the year 2019 is “Citizen and the City”. The Chief Guest for this year’s THAAP conference was Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman who is D. Litt., Distinguished HEC Professor, and Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, Beaconhouse National University who has been awarded with various presidential awards along with prestigious Humbolt Research Award. The Guest of Honor was Prof. Dr. Mohammad Nizamuddin, Former Chairman, Punjab Higher Education Commission and Pro-Rector Superior University Lahore and served UN for 24 years. The opening ceremony and the conference took place on THAAP Premises, 43-G, Gulberg III, Lahore.

The Keynote address was given by Ar./Plnr. Kalim A. Siddiqui, Chairman of Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners & President of Commonwealth Association of Architects. He talked extensively about the crisis of global urban sprawl by highlighting issues of migration and incompatible by-laws in major cities of Pakistan. As a president of Commonwealth Association of Architects, he also talked extensively about sustainable development goals set under Commonwealth and brought to light the urgency to work on development of Architectural and Urban Planning profession and education to strengthen the weak built environment of cities in South Asian region.

The keynote address was followed by opening remarks by Guest of Honor Prof. Dr. Nizamuddin who being a demographic and sociologist, talked about the need for acceptance of aging population and marginalized gender spaces. He talked about the paradoxical situation where even living in the democratic countries, there is a need to address citizen’s rights to the cities. He went on to highlight some of the key issues of Pakistani societies, population being one of the major issues, which will later aggravate issues of food safety, health, housing and infrastructural incompatibility. The Chief Guest Prof. Dr. Tariq Rehman started his speech with a very personalized comment on Prof. Pervaiz Vandal’s non-profit efforts for conducting academic conference that undergo a very systematic process of selection and analysis of papers. He talked about human rights, linguistic history, politics, philosophical questions as to what is a rights to the city, apart from its like to art, architecture, urban development, human rights and public and social policy. In our society, rights of citizens are mostly related to power or the idea of genial line. He talked about how modern cities of Pakistan have lessened down avenues of social inclusion, leading to psychological problems in citizens by comparing human instinct with hunter gatherer societies. The problematic aspect of cities is also deeply rooted in high culture and complexity and disparity between the urbanized and the “paindoo”.

Later, Prof. Shahnawaz Zaidi, a professor at IAC, recited a poem Lahore, Ramzan, Perdais & Perdaisi. Highlighting the little details of everyday life primarily in the city of Lahore by presenting it in a reminiscing essence of Urdu poet appalled and amused the audience with the finesse of oration.

The first session of the conference was chaired by Prof. Dr. Anis Siddiqui, Dean School of Architecture, Art and Design, Humanities and Social Sciences, Imperial College of Business Studies (ICBS). Papers were presented by Dr. Khataumal on “Citizens and the City: Urban Dynamics in Pakistan and the Region”. He highlighted issues of how road and infrastructural development has disrupted the traditional village setup of Tharparkar, resulting into drought, health problems and food shortage. He emphasized how technology connected the cities but divided the inhabitants. Muhammad Waqas presented on “Negotiating Identity in Smart Urbanity: A Case Study of Lahore”. He highlighted how the provision of smart utilities go hand in hand with making sure that the people are also made smart and critique about technology not being an instrument but a way of getting an insight about the world. Raza Naeem on “Manto’s Amritsar, Amritsar’s Manto: Saadat Hasan Manto, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and the Trauma of a Rebel City” went on to narrate from few of Manto’s writings, the themes that show how Jalianwala Bagh’s incident is prevalent in many of Manto’s writings, including tamasha, 1919 ki ek bat, dewana shair and Swaraj k liey.. He went on giving a descriptive historical narrative of the turn of events that led to psychological turmoil that has been reflected quite vividly in Manto’s writings. The insightful and quite descriptive paper presentation was not only captivating, the power of prose by the presenter together with Manto’s imagery threw an insight on a writer’s experiences of rebellion, struggle and compromise that fruited in a form of powerful and artistic rendition of his short stories. A lively discussion session commenced which was followed by the inauguration of the Photography Exhibition on the same theme.

The second session of the conference was chaired by architect Ahmed Pervaiz Mirza of Architects Affiliation Lahore. Papers were presented by Sofia Wanchoo Mir on “Transforming Cultural Dynamics in Cities”, the research investigates how cultural and socio economic values of the Gardens can be improved with special focus to the awareness, involvement and initiative of the youth in the current generation. The Shalamar Gardens has been chosen to highlight how Lahore possesses a magnificent treasure that is facing numerous issues causing it to be a World Heritage Site in Danger. Dr. Kanwal Khalid on “The Bow Makers of Muhallah Kaman Garani” focused to explore various dimensions of one family in Lahore and the price they had to pay to survive in the field of Technology. Prof. Simon YinFudan presented a paper titled “China – Educated Returnees in Karachi”, the paper examines the transforming role of vast number of Pakistani students studying in China and how they make great contributions, both in economics and social terms and transform the urban landscape. 

The evening ended with a film screening and a hearty musical evening. Days 2 and 3 of the conference will continue on THAAP Premises on 2nd and 3rd November, 2019.