7:35 pm Closing Ceremony The 5th Karachi Literature Festival draws to a close after three days of discussions, readings, debates and book launches.
"Tomorrow the tents and chairs (spread across the venue of the festival) will be removed but I believe the ideas, arguments and views shared at the KLF will remain and generate a wave of fresh ideas and discussions," said Ameena Saiyid, one of the directors of KLF.
On the close connection between literature and society, Saiyid said: "Ideas matter, books matter and above all readers matter."
According to estimates around 70,000 people attended the KLF this year compared to the 50,000 last year.
Appreciating the large crowds and participants of the festival, investment banker for a private bank sponsoring the event, Aman Aziz Siddiqui, said: "Performing artists perform best when they have an appreciative audience."
One of the keynote speakers for the closing ceremony, writer Kamila Shamsie, spoke on the importance of translation of books while appreciating local readership.
"While I sell more books in England, it is true that if I sell 10,000 books there, perhaps 10 people will come and talk to me about it but if I sell just 10 books here, 12 people will talk to me about it," she said.
The second keynote speaker for the ceremony Raza Ali Abidi thanked Saiyid and co-director of KLF Asif Farrukhi for their efforts and encouraged the new trend of literature that started through the festival.
"What is particularly heartwarming is the attendance of young children holding their parents’ hands and enjoying the various aspects of the festival. This is indicative of the fact that whether or not we are always around, the festival will continue," Abidi concluded. – Text by Mahnoor Sherazee
7:20 pm Closing Ceremony
6:15 pm The Political Pen: Art of the Political Cartoon One of the very last sessions of the KLF was The Political Pen: Art of the Political Cartoon, moderated by Niilofur Farrukh. Its speakers were artists Khuda Bux Abro and Fauzia Minallah.
After brief introductions by Farrukh, Abro started the conversation with a brief outline of career that had started from his hometown of Hyderabad. In Lahore, while studying at NCA, he made cartoons for magazines Viewpoint and Dhanak. He also talked about his involvement in political movements. His time at NCA coincided with Ziaul Haq’s era, the emergence of Women’s Action Forum (WAF), and the movement within the NCA for converting the diploma to a college degree.
The conversation moved to Minallah, who considers herself a nomad in the field of art. In response to a question by the moderator, she then talked a bit about her time spent drawing political cartoons in the editorial section of the newspapers.
In response to the same question, Abro spoke about how he found it easier because he spent much of his career making political cartoons with his likeminded editors for Dawn and its affliated magazines.
He further said that the advent of social media and blogging websites like Flickr has immensely helped to increase the outreach of political cartoons and other artworks to the wider public, both locally and internationally.
Minallah agreed to some extent with her fellow panelist and further emphasised the great help social media has given to artists, cartoonists, and other creative professionals. She added that she enjoys deflating inflated egos of the famous people in her cartoons.
Abro, in response to a question regarding his choice of mediums, said that he uses any medium he wants to use, and believes it to be pertinent towards the main theme of the cartoon. This has allowed him to develop his own style in cartoons and other illustrations.
Afterwards, a presentation of Abro’s works was shown, followed by an animated video by Minallah. The audience enjoyed the two immensely, laughing and applauding at the hidden jokes in Abro’s illustrations and cartoons, as well as at Minallah’s cartoons.
She later shared a film she made about the Election 2013 called Election Diary that was full of numerous images that evoked many memories of the past eventful year, and of the years before last.
The session ended with a lively Q&A session and a resounding applause by the audience for the session moderator and the two immensely talented, observant, and prolific panelists of the session.
Thus, the sessions of KLF’s last day come to a close.
6:07 pm Book Launch: Intikhab-e-Kalam: Parveen Shakir
6:03 pm In Conversation with Mohammed Hanif What is it about Mohammed Hanif that his sessions at KLF are packed to full capacity despite his repeated appearances at the event? It is definitely his wicked sense of humour as well as languid ease. His disregard for fine conventions while talking during sessions makes him one of the most anticipated speakers at KLF.
The critically acclaimed writer of "The Case of Exploding Mangoes" and "Our Lady in Alice Bhatti" was at his best today in the session “In Conversation with Mohammed Hanif” which was moderated by Alia Naqvi.
Someone from the audience commented on how his pieces on Karachi were greatly enjoyed and questioned as to what was his pull towards the city?
Hanif answered that he was raised here, found his first job, adding that “It is Altaf bhai’s city” amidst chuckles from the audience.
One of the members from the audience went a step forward and asked him as to what would be his three demands if he was one of the Pakistani Taliban’s negotiators for peace talks with the government’s representatives.
Hanif said elders should be allowed to talk amongst themselves and that he was not one for dialogue.
Responding to whether he would translate his works in regional languages, Hanif said his friend was already translating “The Case of Exploding Mangoes” in Urdu and that it would be published by the end of the year.
He moreover said “regional languages” was a rather derogatory term, adding that Punjabi and Sindhi are “our languages” whereas English is a regional language because “it is spoken by people in Defence and Clifton.”
A lady from the audience, who identified herself as a Christian because she had been brought up in a Convent school, said Hanif’s portrayal of a Christian nurse in Our Lady of Alice Bhatti was rather incorrect and asked him why he wrote about something that he didn't quite have a grasp of.
“Writing is a personal, intimate experience and writers write about what nobody else is privy to,” Hanif answered. – Text by Fatema Imani
6:03 pm Film Screenings: Humaira: The Dream Catcher & Ho Yaqeen: Syeda Fatima by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Not everyone can be a change maker but we can support those who are. - Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
6:02 pm Film Screenings: Humaira:The Dream Catcher & Ho Yaqeen: Syeda Fatima by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
I want a world, a Pakistan where my daughter can grow up with opportunities for herself. – Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
6:00 pm Film Screenings: Humaira: The Dream Catcher & Ho Yaqeen: Syeda Fatima by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
Pakistan's biggest assets are its women. – Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
5:59 pm Film Screenings: Humaira:The Dream Catcher & Ho Yaqeen: Syeda Fatima by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
5:55 pm The Flux of History
Understanding and studying history helps in other fields and aspects of life. Because it is constantly evolving it teaches us to accept, and not resist, evolution and keep moving forward. – Sarah Ansari
5:52 pm The Flux of History
The importance of history is that it helps us recognise, accept and transform society…as the one constant of history is that it is not static. – Mubarak Ali
5:52 pm The Flux of History
5:49 pm Readings and Conversation with Amar Jaleel
5:33 pm Book Launch: Intikhab-e-Kalam:Parveen Shakir
Parveen Shakir was always eager to learn. – Amjad Islam Amjad
5:18 pm Jerusalem: A Journey Back in Time (History through images): A Talk by Ifthikar Salahuddin
Books. Book launches. INTERACTION WITH THE WRITERS. Witty Conversations. Food. You are missing something if you haven't visited it yet. #klf— Miss Ridx (@MissRidx) February 9, 2014
4:53 pm Wapsi ka Safar: Readings and Conversation with Abdullah Hussain and Launch of Jubilee Edition of Udas Naslain
Renowned novelist and short story writer, Abdullah Hussain, said his first novel 'Udas Naslain' was initially a short love story but over a period of time it turned into an epic novel.
Abdullah Hussain confessed that he accidentally turned into a novelist as he had enough time while he was working at a cement factory at Daud Khel near Mianwali.
Hussain said one of his short stories was filmed when he was in London. He actually wrote about the miseries and problems faced by illegal immigrants in UK. The name of the film was ‘Brothers in trouble’ and originally written as ‘Wapsi ka Safar’ (The way to back home).
Talking about one of his most popular novels ‘ Udas Naslain,’ Hussain said, "I tried my best to get the eyewitness account for every situation in the plot."
He added that he "even travelled so far to see a Pakistani sepoy who fought in the First World War and got the highest Victoria cross award from England."
Moderator of the session, Mohammad Ahmad Shah, said the the novel ‘ Udas Naslain’ is being taught at several international universities like Turkey, US and Norway. – Text by Suhail Yusuf
4:52 pm In Conversation with Mohammed Hanif
4:45 pm Talking about Sufism
In Sufism, death is a union with the beloved, the almighty Allah. That is why the death anniversary of all the great saints are called Urs, which is derived from a word which means 'wedding'. Their birth is not observed but their departure to the afterlife is celebrated with fervour. – Sarwat Mohiuddin
4:37 pm The US-Pakistan Relationship: Will it Endure? With the US withdrawal from Afghanistan drawing closer, there is a great deal of speculation as to where the US Pakistan ties are heading. In a last minute announcement, organisers of the Karachi Literature Festival announced that US ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson would partake in the session titled 'The US Pakistan relationship: Will it endure' which was moderated by Dean and Director of Institute of Business Administration Dr Ishrat Husain.
Getting straight into the core of the issue, Husain asked Olson where Pakistan would stand on US strategic interests once American troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan.
While Olson clarified that he did not want to draw parallels between the 1989 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to the situation present today he said, "We do not want 2014 to be a repeat of the (mistakes of) 1989."
According to Olson, the US has well prepared the 350,000 plus strong Afghan army which he called "the strongest Afghan army there has ever been."
The US has deeply learned from the lessons of 1989 and moving forward would like to focus on a "strong relationship with Pakistan which was independent of Afghanistan."
Switching gears from terrorism to economics, Husain asked Olson about why the US was not focusing more on trade and foreign investment in Pakistan rather than simply aid.
Olson explained that the US was now targeting more economic stability and transition to investment in Pakistan for 2050, by which time Pakistan is projected as the fourth largest country in terms of population.
On present US investments, Olson said besides the economy there is an interest in the energy sector. "The US has added 1,000MW to the national grid through three hydels and one thermal plant over the past few years."
The US is also working closely with the Pakistan government to bring greater investment in development and exploration in energy. In this regard, there is an upcoming meeting between the energy ministers and experts of both countries in Houston.
However, Olson said while Pakistan wants more international investment, globally such measures are followed by domestic investment as well. He pointed that the private sector in Pakistan "is in a good position to do so (follow foreign investment with a domestic one.)
Speaking about greater market access into the US for Pakistani products, Olson said this is an "area we need to work on." – Text by Mahnoor Sherazee
4:33 Shatranj ki Baazi by Zambeel Dramatic Readings
4:04 pm The US-Pakistan Relationship: Will it Endure?
We do not see our relationship with Pakistan as threat to our relationship to India or vice versa. – Richard Olson
3:55 pm The US-Pakistan Relationship: Will it Endure?
The views of America is to respect the territories and choices of each state and that includes Pakistan. – Richard Olson
3:45 pm The US-Pakistan Relationship: Will it Endure?
3:55 pm Interview with Omar Shahid Hamid
Dawn.com speaks to Omar Shahid Hamid on his book 'The Prisoner'
3:30 pm Selections from the Classics: Readings by Zia Mohyeddin
3:35 pm In Conversation with Nahid Siddiqui
Somebody just asked Richard Olson what the US reaction would be, if the Pakistan government gives in to TTP's demand for Shariah. Umm. #KLF— S (@sukaina_ali) February 9, 2014
3:25 pm Ba – Zuban e Qasmi: Reading and Conversation with Ataul Haq Qasmi Amidst laughter in a packed hall, writer, poet and satirist Ata ul Haq Qasmi never stopped sharing happy moments of his life.
Qasmi shared his memories of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, Zameer Jaffery, and even of his college life.
"When I was at MAO college, I decided to arrange a 'Mushaira' - poetry sittings in which eminent poets were invited from the subcontinent. I got early permission from the college principal Dilawar Hussain," he said.
The event was the talk of the town and everyone was waiting to attend but few hours before the sitting, Dilawar Hussain refused to use the college premises for the event.
"In the evening, thousands of people gathered outside the gate of the college and were eagerly waiting to enter into the Mushaira. To cool the wrath of the people, I lied that the principal of the college has died and the event has been cancelled," said Qasmi with smile on his face.
Next day he was rusticated from entering the college.
Qasmi was also a diplomat from Pakistan and wrote many drama serials for instance: Khawaja and sons and Sheeda Talli.
He also shared his views about travelling in a plane where an American lady was sitting besides him.
The lady thought he belonged to an Arab state, and asked how many wives he had, upon which Qasmi replied that he had 800.
Then she asked as to how many children he had and Qasmi answered that he had 1100.
She asked: "How can you remember all of them?"
Qasmi responded: "I know my children only by digits and numbers; such as Kid no 822 is very cute and naughty."
The audience was in peals of laughter.
Responding to a question, Qasmi said he is now planning to write a much-awaited travelogue during his next visit to Australia.
At the end of the session, the entire hall resounded with the standing ovation given to Qasmi by the audience. – Text by Suhail Yusuf
3:15 Wapsi ka Safar: Readings and Conversations with Abdullah Hussain and launch of Jubilee edition of Udas Naslain
3:12 pm Dhoop Kiran – Reading and conversation with Imdad Hussaini Talking about the Urdu work of Hussaini, Fahmida Riaz said: "I felt immense originality in the Urdu poetry of Imdad Hussaini as his poems flowed smoothly and then at the end, his couplets directly touch the heart of the reader."
“Hussaini’s Urdu poetry is just like a cool breeze," said Riaz.
During the sitting, Imdad Hussaini read his poetry as well as poetry from the translated works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Fahmida Riaz also said love is a strong and important part of Urdu poetry which is now being ignored in the recent works of poetry and Imdad Hussaini actually revives that trend in his writing.
Responding to a question regarding Hussaini’s translation of Faiz poetry in Sindhi language, she said it seems that the translation is not merely a translation but an original work of Sindhi poetry.
"He actually recreated Faiz's work and turned it into Sindhi style writing," she added.
Fahmida also told Hussaini that his Urdu book, Dhoop Kinare, should be published in Hindi script so the people belonging to other parts of the subcontinent should read and understand it. – Text by Suhail Yusuf
3:10 pm Fireworks on a Window Pane: Readings and Conversation with Tanveer Anjum
A poet who is unable to comment or express the views and plight of the marginalised people, in my opinion, is not a poet. – Tanveer Anjum
2:50 pm The Tenuous Line between Fiction and Non-Fiction
2:15 pm Fireworks on a Window Pane: Readings and Conversation with Tanveer Anjum
I don't think I could have created new ideas and used the language as effectively had I written my poetry in English instead of Urdu. I guess you could call it linguistic constraint. – Tanveer Anjum
2:10 pm Fireworks on a Window Pane: Readings and Conversation with Tanveer Anjum
Poetry has always been portrayed as living in a dream world in which we could also enter... – Tanveer Anjum
2:05 pm The Tenuous Line between Fiction and Non-Fiction
As a novelist, I fundamentally lack imagination. I cannot conjure a story out of thin air. I have to rely on reality in a very substantive way. – H.M. Naqvi
2:00 pm The Tenuous Line between Fiction and Non-Fiction
Fiction has to deal with possibilities, truth doesn't. – Rob Crilly
1:30 pm Drama and the Small Screen
One of the last morning sessions was Drama and the Small Screen, moderated by the director, actor, playwright and a part-time lecturer, Sarmad Khoosat. The session’s panellists were Haseena Moin and Attiya Dawood, Shakeel, Seema Taher Khan, and Sultana Siddiqui.
After detailed introductions of the speakers, the moderator directed the focus of the session to what can be done to improve Pakistani drama in the future.
The conversation was started with the eminent writer and screenwriter Haseena Moin. She began by a pertinent criticism of the lack of a well-written and well-executed ending. She said this lack of a good ending is not affected by the presence of Indian or Turkish dramas. Furthermore, she said that today Pakistani drama has begun its downfall.
Moin also pointed out the numerous factors that undermine the moral fabric of Pakistani society.
Seema Taher Khan, a leading communications and media person in Karachi, spoke about aiming to empower the society through television drama, particularly women, when she started running a television channel. Similarly, Sultana Siddiqui, another leading media person, said that when she opened her channel Hum TV, she had a certain vision.
Shakeel, a senior and eminent actor in the showbiz industry, related a personal anecdote to explain that Pakistani drama, especially the PTV dramas, continues to impact the Pakistani diasporic communities abroad. He also focused, in his speech, on the development of Pakistani drama as it has occurred over the years.
Attiya Dawood, poet, writer, screenwriter, activist and script editor, discussed how the issue of rape has been portrayed in the Pakistani drama in a derogatory and trivial manner. She also criticised how today’s dramas show a cleric offering guidance to the characters on matters which in fact come under the expertise of legal representatives.
The session ended after a lively Q&A session, thus bringing to a close to the morning sessions of KLF’s third and final day.
1:24 pm Ba-Zuban e Qasmi: Readings and Conversation with Ata ul Haq Qasmi
Meri gali me teen kuttay hain aisay hain jinse me darta hun, aik professor ka, aik sha'ir ka aur aik sahafi ka – Ata ul haq qasmi while reading from his story 'Kuttay'
1:19 pm Ba-Zuban e Qasmi: Readings and Conversation with Ata ul Haq Qasmi
1:15 pm Ba-Zuban e Qasmi: Readings and Conversation with Ata ul Haq Qasmi
1:07 pm The Legacy of the Mahatma
12:55 pm Drama and the Small Screen
Aurat ka ek ek ansoo humhari rating bharata hai. – Haseena Moin quoting someone who said this to her
12:46 pm Baloch Literature and Landscape
12:37 pm Bringing Down the Gender Walls
Just because I am a woman doesn't necessarily mean that trying to educate myself is a crime – Mandira Sen
12:37 pm Bringing Down the Gender Walls
Pakistan might just be the only country in the world where primary education is divided between boys and girls which doubles the cost of provision. – Asad Sayeed
12:25 pm Bringing Down The Gender Walls
The second set of morning sessions have begun at the KLF’s final day. One of these is Bringing Down The Gender Walls. The panellists consist of Mandira Sen, Dr Amina Yaqin, Zoya Hasan, and Dr. Asad Sayeed. Dr. Taimur Rahman, of Laal fame, moderated the session.
After brief introductions of all the speakers, the discussion moved on to Mandira Sen, a publisher and activist on women’s issues and social dissent from the Indian city of Kolkatta. She started her speech with an outline of the history of women’s writing in the Indian sub-continent, which was immensely enriching and inspiring for the audience.
The discussion then moved to Dr Amina Yaqin, a scholar and academic from London’s School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS). She began by talking about how the phenomenon of Islamic Barbie that was released in the United States influenced her.
Furthermore, Dr Yaqin said that the presence of the Islamic Barbie, and other dolls from Islamic countires, captures a niche market amongst the diaspora communities, just like the Halal brand has done. She added that these dolls are usually marketed in order to counter the existing popularity of Barbie and Ken dolls.
Dr Yaqin moved on to talk about Muslim representation in British mainstream culture. One of the points she discussed in her speech was about the fixing of the visual stereotype of Muslim women in the British culture.
Zoya Hasan, eminent scholar and political scientist from India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), followed with a speech on Muslim women in India. She said that the Muslim women of India have been deprived of substantive socio-economic rights, further saying that the Partition influenced the policies on treatment of minorities in general, and in particular, the Muslims.
To a question by the moderator, Dr Asad Sayeed responded that although there has been a huge change as more women are entering the public spaces, but they still lag behind on the very edges of remunerative work.
He further said that statistics show that South Asia, as a whole, has a lower representation and participation of women in the labour force. Towards the end of his response, he expressed his optimism that the existing numbers of women in the labour force in South Asia, and particularly in Pakistan, will eventually increase.
Dr Sayeed is an economist and researcher with a focus on political economy.
The session, once again, ended with a very short Q&A session due to time constraints. – Text by Soonha Abro
12:20 pm Dhoop Kiran: Readings and Conversation with Imdad Hussaini
Imdad Hussaini beautifully translated Faiz's work in Sindhi and even made it sound like original poetry. – Fahmida Riaz
12:15 pm Writing History
During the writing history session, scholars emphasised that governments should not intervene in writing histories as it was the task of professionals and unbiased historians.
‘We should also at least narrow down the stereotypes of history,’ said Mushirul Hassan – an Indian historian and former vice chancellor of Jamia Milia Delhi.
Hamida Khuhro urged that a balance approach was needed to write text books in Pakistan.
Khuhro also voiced her concern over the poor quality of textbooks published by provincial book boards in Pakistan.
Educationist, Ismat Riaz, said the main objective of history is that a man should know himself, adding that curriculum of citizenship is needed in Pakistan.
Eminent historian, Dr Mubarak Ali, said many of his history books are banned in educational institutes like Multan University and Quaid-i-Azam library.
‘Despite of the ban, youth from Sindh and Balochistan are the main readers of my book and they really appreciate my work,’ added Ali. – Text by Suhail Yusuf
11:58 am Bringing Down the Gender Walls
11:55 am Dhoop Kiran: Readings and Conversation with Imdad Hussaini
11:40 am Karachi: From Stone Age to Cyber Age
11:30 am Karachi: From Stone Age to Cyber Age
11:14 am Baloch Literature and Landscape The third day of the KLF started with a session on Baloch Literature and Landscape. The panelists of this session included Ayub Baloch (scholar who promotes Anthropology in Balochistan), Tariq Luni (a sculptor from National College of Arts), Zubaida Jalal (leading social worker and public figure from Balochistan).
The session was moderated by Baela Raza Jamil who works in public policy and has worked extensively with Baloch people in organising the Children’s Literature Festival.
Jamil began the session with an enriching and intriguing presentation on the history and culture of Balochistan. She then finished her introductions of the speakers and a short explanation of the format of the seminar.
Ayub Baloch started his speech with a piece of poetry pertinent to the topic of the session. He said that Balochistan is extremely rich in its literature, and that it was a huge mistake for those people who were belittling the largest province of Pakistan.
Regarding Baloch literature, Baloch said that the province’s literature is based on four schools of thought. The nomadic and hunter-gatherer societies in Balochistan’s history have contributed some very rich traditions to Baloch literature, especially the oral storytelling tradition. The city of Sibi in Balochistan is a major centre in the history of Balochistan and its literature, Baloch informed the audience.
Regarding Mehergarh, Baloch said that the archaeological site belongs to every ethnic group living in Balochistan. He ended his speech by playing a soundtrack in Balochi for the audience.
Tariq Luni, born and brought up in Sibi, began his speech by talking about how all the landscape, literature, poetry, music, its rhythms have permeated his whole being, and is an integral part of who he is.
Luni then spoke about how his Baloch identity has inspired and influenced much of his artwork as a sculptor. His artwork was shown on a slideshow, while he explained the natural, and cultural images represented in his sculptures.
Some of his sculptures touched upon social issues like child labour and the lack of educational opportunities for both girls and boys.
Zubaida Jalal spoke towards the end, and began her speech with her cultural influences that were transmitted to her by her mother. She added that the nomadic elements of the ancient Balochistan society still exist today, as people of different areas of the province still move to other areas to avoid the seasons of extreme summer and winter of the province.
The session, due to time constraints, was hurriedly ended with only a few minutes allotted for Q & A. – Text by Soonha Abro
11:11 am Baloch Literature and Landscape
KLF is a response to be inclusive while the state continues to be exclusive. – Raza Jamil
11:05 am Puppet Show by Ritz Theatre
Balochistan artifact and sculptures discussed. Awesome artwork @ #KLF— Imran Baloch (@ImranBaloch123) February 9, 2014
10:53 am Writing History
10:30 am Puppet Show by Ritz Theatre
10:15 am Good morning, everyone! Hope you're having a beautiful Sunday morning.
The third and the final day of the fifth Karachi Literature Festival has just started. Sessions are underway and we can already hear children enjoying the puppet show in the parking area.