So long folks!
As the 4th Annual Literature Festival winds up, it concludes a stunning and fascinating weekend that breathed new life and colour into Karachi and its people.
Much like the days before, today was ripe with informative, insightful and spirited discussions about issues close to the heart of Pakistanis all over.
Izzeldin Abuelaish spoke movingly about the need for hope in the face of rising oppression and how the Israel-Palestine conflict is not merely a middle eastern issue, but an issue for the world at large, leaving many audience members in tears.
Zia Mohyeddin was nostalgic about simpler times, and the reason he doesn’t take part in Pakistani films anymore, New York Times correspondent Declan Walsh and German journalist Yassin Musharbash talked about the complexities of covering Pakistan as outsiders.
Thanks for joining us through our coverage of the weekend, we hope to see you next year!
Keynote Speech by George Galloway
Literary Bytes: “Politics and Literature”
Ameena Saiyid, the Managing Director of OUP-Pakistan, speaks to Dawn.com on why the Literature Festival may seem more political this year, but really isn’t.
KlF 13 ends with a full house
The Great Sufi Poets of the Punjab
“It has become fashionable to be called a Sufi. We see many pop music bands refering to themselves as sufi, whereas they don’t even know the meaning of the word.” Sarwat Mohiuddin
5:15 The Prospects of US-Pakistan Relations
A debate started in the session when Cameron Munter said Pakistan is a country that does not respect itself, responding to this, former Pakistan ambassador to the US Maleeha Lodhi said, “You only speak for a few, we are a resilient society and respect ourselves, we have been failed by our own state, Pakistan is not a poor coountry, more of a poorly managed country.”The panelists then spoke about the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan to which Munetr said he was optimistic about the pullout because it would give the US a chance to re-create its relationship with Pakistan. Lodhi retorted to this by saying much would depend on how 2014 plays out, adding that the safe and secure withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan is important. “Pakistan’s role will be critical to reduce American pain while they are withdrawing from Afghanistan,” she added.
The discussion moved onto 9/11 and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan. Lodhi said Pakistani’s tend to forget their own history, because after all it was Pakistan which warned the US not to go on a long war and punish an entire country on the actions of a few, yet it did.
Speaking on the United States foreign policy towards Pakistan, Lodhi said most Pakistanis would like to see a well thought out policy for Pakistan in 2014, the US did not have such a policy for ten years, it will be good to see what (such a policy) would look like.
When asked about drone attacks, Munter said we haven’t been able to cooperate on the issue, but it is not the technology that is bad, it is how governments work together to use that technology which matters. – Text by Saher Baloch
“For us Pakistani’s we have to generate our own resources, stop complaining, please don’t wish to see this relationship (with US) on money.” – Maleeha Lodhi
“Every country has to deal with terrorism in it’s own way, Pakistan and America are suffering from the same enemy, but unfortunately we havent been able to cooperate on how to confront this enemy.”Cameron Munter
Tanz o Mizah
Eik he din mein baara arab ki koi corruption kerkay dikhayay
Dunya bhar mein hay koi humsa, humsa ho tu samney ayay” Anwar Masood
“English zaroori hay humarey wastey
Fail honay kay ko bhi eik mazmoon chahyie”Anwar Masood
Pakistan through foreign eyes
In one of the last panels of the festival, New York Times correspondent on Pakistan, Declan Walsh, German Journalists, Hasnain Kazim, and Yassin Musharbash, discussed the role of foreign media in covering Pakistan.
Kazim and Musharbarsh both spoke about the difficulties of covering Pakistan as outsiders, because of the complexity and diversity of the country. Kazim was candid about the Pakistani “obsession” with what foreigners think about their country, and commented on how desensitized Pakistanis in general have become to the state of the country.”I think people don’t realize that we get checked by police every few hundred meters, as if it’s an airport. And that’s not normal,” he said.
The audience grilled the panelists, over the alleged myopia of the foreign media coverage concerning Pakistan, but the panelists tended to disagree. Musharbarsh said that as journalists their job is report the story, and that the reality of Pakistan is that the story is the violence and there is no way around that. – Text by Salman Haqqi
“Pakistan is one big riddle to me and many journalists who report from here. It is hard to sell Pakistan in Germany, this is a country where people gather and speak about Quetta and two hours later a bomb blast kills more than 80 people there. This doesn’t happen in other countries.” Yassin Musharbash
Photospace featuring Tapu Javeri and Arif Mahmood at KLF
Farooq Sattar makes an appearance at KLF
Deputy Convener of the MQM, Farooq Sattar, made an appearance at the Karachi Literature Festival on the third day of the event, just a day after his party quit the provincial and federal governments. Surrounded by media, Sattar said it was the final decision of the party to not go back to the government. He said the Kabhari Market killings and the subsequent withdrawal of the cases was one of the factors of dropping out of the coalition and government. He added that the MQM would stil keep cordial relations with their political partners.
Regarding the Literature Festival, Sattar said that he hoped Karachi would be known more for its culture rather than violence. – Text by Sahar Baloch
“It goes to show there are still educated people in Karachi.” Farooq Sattar
3:45 Glittering prizes
3:40 Feminization of Poverty
The session began with Taimur Rahman introducing us to what the situation was globally in regards to woman and economics; “women are disproportionately amongst the poor, a phenomenon which is deepening”. However he ended his introduction on a positive note, saying that “in Pakistan women are at a huge disadvantage but that there was evidence of this disadvantage narrowing.”
Fahmida Riaz’s observations included that ‘women don’t exist separately to their families’ that it is usually the family as a whole which is poor and not just the woman in the family. However she spoke mostly about the economics of how poverty became a norm amongst farmers and then immigrated from the rural regions into the urban areas. She noted that “if you want to, you can find injustice against women reigning for several milenia- but when you talk about the feminisation of poverty you have to start looking at economics.”
Sadiqa Salahuddin stated quite simply that “poverty is the denial of human rights” and reiterated several notions in our society in context of how we see a woman who knows and demands her rights. ‘ In our culture if a woman asks for her share of the property we label her as a dayin (witch) that will consume her brothers share. Salahuddin ended the session by declaring that ‘if there is no education then even dreaming of empowerment is misplaced.” – Text by Mehar Khursheed.
Volunteers at KLF
Literary Bytes: Izzeldin Abuelaish on hope Izzeldin Abuelaish is a Palestinian author and doctor who wrote the book ‘I shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey on the Road to Peace and Human Dignity’. He wrote the book after three of his daughters were killed in the Gaza War. Log on next week for an article on Abuelaish’s book. Here, he speaks about what the book is about and how he learned to take a non-violent path against oppression.
“This image of a strong Punjabi woman is a facade. Her choices are limited like any other woman’s.” Kishwar Desai
“In India, Punjab is a small entity unlike here. For the Baloch, the word Punjabi equals to monstrosity.” Mohammed Hanif
“Punjabis are not of their lineage anymore. Most don’t know the rich history Punjab has.” Sarwat Mohiuddin
And it’s lunch time already! Can’t believe the morning went by so fast. It’s been another riveting day here at KLF and there’s more to come. Bon Appetite!
Book launch: Clifton Bridge
In conversation with Izzeldin Abuelaish
“16th of January, 2009 was the day an Israeli tank killed my three daughters and a niece. I decided that day I won’t hate. With hate you kill yourself, it is a toxin. I decided to move on.”Izzeldin Abuelaish
“I lived the war. I was not born with the suffering it was forced upon me. The suffering is man made.” Izzeldin Abuelaish
“You save one life, you save the world. You kill one life, you kill the world.” Izzeldin Abuelaish
“There’s not going to be any movement on the Kashmir issue until elections in both India and Pakistan are resolved.” Victoria Schofield
11:15 Emerging Writers
The morning began with all but one of our panelists rushing in as Shazaf Fatima Haider was already there.Mohammad Hanif introduced the session of Emerging Writers by assuring the audience that the panelists were chosen at random. Then Shazaf Haider read out an excerpt from her debut novel “How It Happened”. She delighted the audiences, which was all too familiar with the concept of a fussy grandmother and touched upon a deeper issue of the extent of in-exposure and naivety that is preferred in a girl. She said of her work that “it’s not a political book, just that it has a lot of family politics.”
Syed Kashif Raza, a poet and journalist orchestrated the tone of the audience by touching on deep rooted social and political nerves and then upon request read some romantic poems and were sensual enough to be remarked upon by Hanif. Speaking about his travelogue Masud Alam said that, “whenever I can get the opportunity I wish to travel” and that, “I write for myself and that’s it. I find closure in that.” – Text By Mehar Khursheed.
11:00 Dynastic Politics
One of the well attended sessions in morning, Barkha Dutt, Victoria Schofield, Najam Sethi and Najmuddin Sheikh spoke one by one about the politics of dynasties in South Asia and beyond.
Starting off, it was debated whether political dynasties are a particularly South Asian phenomena. British author and biographer, Victoria Schofield, said that there is an element of it in US politics but it is not as obvious. Most having political lineage have faded out “And as long as you have a fading out process others will get to participate in the political process.” But that’s not to say that it is an example in this case is Egypt; Hosni Mubarak was clearly thrown out during the time he was preparing his son to enter politics, she explained.
Speaking about the Bhutto family and the dynasty they left behind,
Schofield said that: “Had Zulfikar Ali Bhutto not been removed from
politics, there was no doubt that Benazir Bhutto would have preferred
the foreign service.”
Explaining further, she said that Benazir stepped into power at a very young age of 24 but she had the staying power.
In the same vein she candidly said that it is easy to criticize political dynasties but if people really want to get rid of dynasties, they should stop assassinating leaders.
Indian journalist, Dutt was of the opinion that: “Women generally enter politics through their families because otherwise it is difficult for them.”
Dynastic politics is not anti-democratic, concluded Najmuddin Sheikh, a former Pakistani diplomat.
- Text by Saher Baloch
“Nothing new and peculiar about political dynasty and nothing to do with South Asia in particular. USA has had dynasties in the past as well. For e.g. Roosevelt’s and Kennedy’s … ” Victoria Schofield
Welcome to the third and final day of the Karachi Literature Festival! It’s a gorgeous Sunday morning, fit for another fine day of literature.
People are trickling in and lining up for breakfast. And if there’s any generous souls out there, the Dawn.com team could use a cup of coffee and a muffin perhaps. Just kidding! Just follow us for the final day’s events and be sure to tweet and follow what looks to be another promising day at the 4th Karachi Literature Festival.