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Karachi Literature Festival | 7th, 8th & 9th February | Beach Luxury Hotel
Karachi Literature Festival | 7th, 8th & 9th February | Beach Luxury Hotel

6:45 pm

People leaving the Karachi Literature Festival after the sessions. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
People leaving the Karachi Literature Festival after the sessions. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

6:40 pm Mushaira The first day of the Karachi Literature Festival ended with a Mushaira showcasing about 20 poets, including Muhammad Salman Sarwat, Attiya Dawood, Inaam Nadeem, Aqeel Abbas Jafri, Harris Khalique, Sahar Imdad, Fatema Hassan, Sarwat Zehra, Shaukat Abid, Tanveer Anjum, and Afzal Ahmed Syed. The nizaamat of the Mushaira was done by the eminent poet Fatema Hassan.

Fahmida Riaz (L) and Kishwar Naheed. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
Fahmida Riaz (L) and Kishwar Naheed. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

6:36 pm Mushaira First two lines from a poem by Aqeel Abbas Jafri. Pehle shehar mein aag lagayein namaloom afraad, Phir aman ke naghmein gaayein namaloom afraad.

6:20 pm Importance of School Libraries

From L to R: Yasmin Mehta, Zubeida Mustafa, Nargis Sultana, Shaha Jamshed (moderator), Zubaida Jalal and Faisal Mushtaq. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
From L to R: Yasmin Mehta, Zubeida Mustafa, Nargis Sultana, Shaha Jamshed (moderator), Zubaida Jalal and Faisal Mushtaq. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

6:15 pm Importance of School Libraries

The only book we have been commanded to read we don't read but the only book we read is Facebook – Faisal Mushtaq

6:10 pm Importance of School Libraries

The entire reading and learning system should be built on a book – Faisal Mushtaq

Faisal Mushtaq. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Faisal Mushtaq. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

6:07pm Importance of School Libraries

Reading is not a supplementary part of learning but an integral part of it – Faisal Mushtaq

6:07 pm Importance of School Libraries

A school without a book is like a human body without a soul. – Faisal Mushtaq

6:06 pm Importance of School Libraries

We need to start a national movement to find more and more libraries around the country. – Nargis Sultana

5:55 pm

Choti Moti Tota aur S. M. Hamid. A play by Grips Theatre. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Choti Moti Tota aur S. M. Hamid. A play by Grips Theatre. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

5:39 pm Identity and Literature: New Trends in Pakistani Writing in English

From L to R: Moderator Bilal Tanweer with Claire Chambers and Rukhsana Ahmad. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
From L to R: Moderator Bilal Tanweer with Claire Chambers and Rukhsana Ahmad. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

5:31pm Karachiwala: A Subcontinent Within a City. A Talk by Rumana Hussain

Moderator Haris Gazdar (L) with Rumana Husain. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
Moderator Haris Gazdar (L) with Rumana Husain. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

5:18 pm State School Reform

Shehzad Roy with moderator, Pervez Hoodbhoy, at the "State School Reform" session. – Photo by Asif Umar
Shehzad Roy with moderator, Pervez Hoodbhoy, at the "State School Reform" session. – Photo by Asif Umar

5:13 pm Round Table of Pakistani Authors with French Publisher, Marc Parent

Writing in India has come to a certain comfort which lacks the vigour you read in Pakistani literature today. Marc Parent (French Publisher)

5:05 pm Karachiwala: A Subcontinent Within a City. A Talk by Rumana Hussain

Karachiwala is a very subversive book as it explores diverse identities and shows the reader that there is no danger in the differences resulting from the numerous identities documented in Rumana Husain's book. - Haris Gazdar (moderator)

5:05 pm Karachiwala: A Subcontinent Within a City. A Talk by Rumana Hussain

We are a highly politicised culture. – Ali Sethi

5:00 pm Human Rights and Wrongs in Pakistan

The Taliban are exploiting religion and with impunity. No religion can be so hard (as to disregard humanity). Minorities are constantly threatened with blasphemy, forget the Ahmedis, they are not even treated as human. –Asma Jahangir

4:58 pm Ali Baba Chalees Chor

Children enjoying the play, "Ali Baba Chalees Chor",  organised by NAPA. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Children enjoying the play, "Ali Baba Chalees Chor", organised by NAPA. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

4:54 pm Ali Baba Chalees Chor

Play, "Ali Baba Chalees Chor", organised by NAPA. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Play, "Ali Baba Chalees Chor", organised by NAPA. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

4:47 pm Interview with Dr Rajmohan Gandhi Dr Rajmohan speaks about his association with Dawn and talks about whether India is what Gandhi envisioned.

4:46pm Storytelling by Amra Alam

Amra Alam from the session "Storytelling by Amra Alam". – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
Amra Alam from the session "Storytelling by Amra Alam". – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

4:40 pm The Pakistani Muse: Literature and Music in Pakistan

From L to R: Zeb Bangash, Sarmad Khoosat, Tina Sani and Ali Sethi (Moderator). – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
From L to R: Zeb Bangash, Sarmad Khoosat, Tina Sani and Ali Sethi (Moderator). – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

4:35 pm Human Rights and Wrongs in Pakistan Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, Professor of Political Economy at Quaid-i-Azam University, speaking about his inclusion into politics:

One of the problems we have is that we consistently bash politics. Bashing politics, staying away from it or ignoring it is not going to solve the human rights issues. We need to find a solution from within. – Aasim Sajjad Akhtar

4:33 pm Human Rights and Wrongs in Pakistan

If you are a Matric pass Baloch or a Shia and a doctor or lawyer, then your life expectancy in Pakistan is halved. I feel relatively safe. That's because I am Punjabi, a man and Sunni, toh jeenay keh chances zyada hain. – Mohammed Hanif

4:32 pm State School Reform

Capitalistic approach to education won't work. Education is not a commodity that can be traded, it is a fundamental right. – Shahnaz Wazir Ali

4:31 pm State School Reform

According to the latest figures, 150,000 children dropped out after class one. – Musharraf Zaidi

4:29 pm State School Reform

Education reforms cannot take place without public private partnership. – Shehzad Roy

4:25 pm Basti aur Uskay Baad

The silver jubilee edition of the novel “Basti” was discussed with renowned novelist and short story writer Intizar Hussain whereas critic and writer Asif Farrukhi was the moderator of the session.

Basti had been shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2013. The partition of the sub-continent inspired Husain to write the novel.

Intizar Hussain said he initially wrote Urdu poetry, but then left it and started penning down short stories.

Answering a question about the partition of the sub-continent, Intizar Husain said if people do not settle their disputes, then history will decide the fate of the people.

He also highlighted the importance of storytelling from elders at home as it inspired kids to broaden their imagination.

Talking about his relatively new novel, Tazkara, he said “I was living near a jail where few of the people were hanged openly.”

“This incident inspired me to think and write the novel,” he said. – Text by Suhail Yousuf

Asif Farrukhi and Intizar Hussain from the session Basti aur Uskay Baad
Asif Farrukhi and Intizar Hussain from the session Basti aur Uskay Baad

4:20 pm The Pakistani Muse: Literature and Music in Pakistan

The more channels we have, the less music we have. – Tina Sani

4:11 pm Book Launch: The Rest is Silence: Zahoor ul Akhlaq: Art and Society in Pakistan by Roger Connah

From L to R: Shahana Rajani, Nilofur Furrukh, Zohra Husain and Saquib Hanif. – Photo by Asif Umar
From L to R: Shahana Rajani, Nilofur Furrukh, Zohra Husain and Saquib Hanif. – Photo by Asif Umar

3:55 pm Memory and the Imagination Responding to a question by moderator Muneeza Shamsie during the session "Memory and the Imagination", speaker Rukshana Ahmad said “translation is very hard.” She said she cannot afford to be complacent, but added that translating fiction was relatively easy.

Ahmad said she had attempted to translate the works of Saadat Hasan Manto and Ismat Chughtai, adding that she had also recently polished her translations because “I think they were not right.”

Amidst laughs by the audience, Ahmad said “the right meaning hits you after publication”.

Meanwhile, commenting on how she tackles different kinds of genres when it comes to translating plays, Ahmad said “one has to learn the tricks of the trade”. She said writers generally like to believe that everything comes in a gush, but it is a very arduous process which is discovered through writing and rewriting.

She moreover added that one has to respect the intention of the original writer while adding that she was a “fairly loyal writer”.

When someone from the audience asked her as to how she manages to remain loyal to the work of writers who are no longer alive, Ahmad said “you have to be loyal to your interpretations”.

“It’s never perfect, but the great part about writing is you are your own authority,” she concluded. – Text by Fatema Imani

Muneeza Shamsie (L) and Rukhsana Ahmad from the session, Memory and the Imagination. – Photo by Taahira Booya
Muneeza Shamsie (L) and Rukhsana Ahmad from the session, Memory and the Imagination. – Photo by Taahira Booya

3:50 pm Geo-political Equation: Pakistan in the World

Speaking about sustainability - by 2050 we will have a population of around 350 million. How will we produce jobs? We already have fragile food security. It is heading to be a totally non-viable country. And at present we show no signs of fundamental change to improving our situation. To put it mildly we have a very bleak future, if we have one. — Ashraf Jehanigr Qazi

Guests at the inauguration. –Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Guests at the inauguration. –Photo by Aliraza Khatri

3:41 pm Geo-political Equation: Pakistan in the World

From L to R: Hussain Haroon, Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, Zafar Hilaly and Omayr Aziz Saiyid. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
From L to R: Hussain Haroon, Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, Zafar Hilaly and Omayr Aziz Saiyid. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

3:34 pm Memory and the Imagination

To state the obvious – it is the moving itself that dictates the growth, not the direction. – Rukhsana Ahmad

3:25 pm Geo-political Equation: Pakistan in the World

No mighty nation has to worry about its geo-political situation. They only look to strengthen it... – Hussain Haroon

3:15 pm Pani, Parinday aur Maut Discussing the themes of his novels in the session Pani, Parinday aur Maut, novelist and travelogue writer Mustansir Hussain Tarar said a scholar from University of Peshawar is currently doing a doctorate degree on his writings in which she discovered that three important elements of his novels are Water, Birds and Death.

Tarar said: “I was living near the River Chenab and was always inspired by the river. These sentiments reflected in my writing as well.”

He said a writer and a novelist also try to go beyond the boundaries whether they are social restrictions or other bondages.

Talking about the element of death in his writings, he said that he was always fascinated by it and added that in his book “Pak Saraye”, it was a very crucial part of the plot.

“Death is actually a part of life,” he added. – Text by Suhail Yousuf

Mustansar Hussain Tarar with the moderator, Irfan Javed. – Photo by Asif Umar
Mustansar Hussain Tarar with the moderator, Irfan Javed. – Photo by Asif Umar

3:10 pm Geo-political Equation: Pakistan in the World

Is it meaningful to discuss foreign policy without properly addressing our problems at home. How will we face the potentially lethal challenges that face us tomorrow? – Ashraf Jehangir Qazi – Former senior diplomat and retired foreign service professional

3:04 pm Bushra's Barbs

Bushra with moderator Ali Saleem. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
Bushra with moderator Ali Saleem. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

3:00 pm The World of the Novel One of the sessions that followed the inauguration ceremony was The World of the Novel. The session was moderated by Shandana Minhas, a Karachi-based writer. The panel consisted of writers Thomas Brussig, Bernado Cavalho, translator Gioia Guerzani, scholars Claire Chambers and Aamir R. Mufti.

Minhas started the session by asking the novelists about what enticed them to write novels. Cavalho found it the freest form of narrative.

Brussig, a writer from Germany, replied that the novel is fascinating to him because of the sheer variety of forms with the novel itself. He went on to say that the novel is a rather difficult genre, and that the rules of writing a novel are almost entirely created by the author.

Regarding the element of toxicity that comes with the writing process, Brussig said that the entire writing process itself is a process of endurance. To the same question, Cavalho replied that he actually felt protected from the toxicity while he is writing because he is inside the novel instead of outside.

The conversation then moved on to the question of translation within the genre of the novel. The moderator invited speaker Gioia Guerzani, a translator from Italy, to talk about translating novels, as well as short stories. Guerzani said that translation has become an important bridge in present times between countries, cultures, languages and people, and also possesses a huge market.

Guerzani further said that from a global perspective the novel is the easiest form of narrative. When asked if she preferred translating novels or short stories, she replied that her preference depended on whether the writing was good or not.

To a question about whether there was more bad writing being produced now or was it a mere perception, scholar Claire Chambers replied that the genre of short story was particularly strong in South Asia. She noted that many writers now write a combination of the novel and short story where the narrative has many characters that seem to be running separately from each other, and yet they are all connected by a specific incident.

Regarding a question about narrative in both the novel and the film, Brussig added that he preferred film to the novel as a way of telling a story because he found it much more effective. However, Mufti said that in numerous cases book-to-film adaptations, the film becomes the enemy of the book that it has been adapted from.

At the end of the session, all the panelists were asked about their favourite writers and texts by a member of the audience. The Q&A session was very short due to the lack of time. – Text by Soonha Abro

2:55 pm Geo-political Equation: Pakistan in the World**

I won't say the future is that there is no future.…after all there is nothing a miracle can't fix. – Zafar Hilaly – Former Diplomat

2:54 pm Geo-political Equation: Pakistan in the World**

India is now driving a hard bargain with Pakistan today because it knows it can. Pakistan has never been weaker, more divided or globally unpopular. – Zafar Hilaly – Former Diplomat

2:45 pm The Faiz Everyone Loves

Speaking at “The Faiz Everyone Loves” session, panelist Moneeza Hashmi, said Faiz’s depth in his poetry was unraveling every day.

“I will soon publish letters of my father, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, which are still unpublished.” Hashmi added.

Meanwhile, critic and translator of Faiz’s work, Mahmood Jamal, said Faiz’s poetry was the dream of our nation. He said no other voice was comparable to Faiz, adding that it was filled with objective and hope.

He moreover said Faiz never expressed any ill sentiments in his poetry. On the other hand, he touched people’s hearts with his profound words.

Wajid Jawad, another critic of Faiz and Ghalib, said the former’s poetry was accessible in every kind of situation. He said we could even apply his poetry to explain our present scenario.

Jawad said Faiz was extremely sensitive to the suffering of poor and marginalised people which he described beautifully in one of his poems, “Kuttey”. – Text by Suhail Yousuf

2:41 pm Memory and the Imagination Quote by Rukhsana Ahmed amidst laughs by the audience.

I never had the courage to write a novel. I started writing a short story and it never ended. – Rukhsana Ahmad

2:46 pm Geo-political Equation: Pakistan in the World**

Taliban are congenitally unable to mix with society. The notion that they are our misguided brothers and that negotiations will help are far from factual. – Zafar Hilaly – Former Diplomat

2:46 pm **Geo-Political Equation: Pakistan in the World **

We need a foreign policy and have to take hard decisions. This includes our need to see Taliban for what they really are: A war society whose existence depends on war. – Zafar Hilaly – Former Diplomat

2:43 pm Pani, Parinday aur Maut

There is no beauty in the world without death. – Mustansar Hussain Tarar

2:41 pm Memory and the Imagination

Writing was something I started doing for self-expression and income. – Rukhsana Ahmad

2:31 pm Memory and the Imagination

Ruksana's work is centred on women's lives but it is very diverse. – Muneeza Shamsie

1:15 pm - 2:15 pm We're now on lunch break. Sessions will resume at 2:15pm

1:56 pm Talking to the Butterfly: In conversation with Moni Mohsin

Raza Rumi in conversation with Moni Mohsin. – Photo by Asif Umar
Raza Rumi in conversation with Moni Mohsin. – Photo by Asif Umar

1:55 pm Talking to the Butterfly: In conversation with Moni Mohsin

Moni Mohsin reading in character as the Butterfly. – Photo by Asif Umar
Moni Mohsin reading in character as the Butterfly. – Photo by Asif Umar

1:50 pm The World of the Novel

From L to R: Aamir R. Mufti, Bernardo Cavalho, Thomas Brussig, Shandana Minhas, Gioia Guerzani and Claire Chambers. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
From L to R: Aamir R. Mufti, Bernardo Cavalho, Thomas Brussig, Shandana Minhas, Gioia Guerzani and Claire Chambers. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

1:47 pm Book Launch: The Kashmir Dispute 1947 by A.G. Noorani

The best solution for Kashmir is that both countries should leave Kashmir alone and a self governing (khumukhtar) Kashmir should establish friendly relations with both countries. Eventually this will happen but after suffering much harm and damage. – Writer and expert on South Asia, Victoria Scholfield quotes Faiz.

1:42 pm Book Launch: The Kashmir Dispute 1947 by A.G. Noorani

From (R to L) Zafar Hilaly (Former Diplomat), A.G. Noorani (Author), Victoria Schofield (moderator and acknowledged expert), Iqbal Akhund (Former Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security), Cabeiri deBergh Robinson. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
From (R to L) Zafar Hilaly (Former Diplomat), A.G. Noorani (Author), Victoria Schofield (moderator and acknowledged expert), Iqbal Akhund (Former Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security), Cabeiri deBergh Robinson. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

1:38 pm Power of the Fourth Estate

A morally powerful forth state is one which criticizes it's own government – Matthieu Aikins

1:38 pm Power of the Fourth Estate

Talking about the power of the media - the question is what kind of power and power to do what – Matthieu Aikins

Rajmohan Gandhi tweet:

1:30 pm Power of the Fourth Estate

In Pakistan there are so many media channels that talk shows have to be a form of entertainment and guests are chosen to fight each other which shows that opinions are more important than fact and figures. – Saeed Shah

1:18 pm Book Launch: The Kashmir Dispute 1947 by A.G. Noorani

Persuade Indian government to give an independent Kashmir and we can do the same. You should not assume that Pakistan does not want an independent Kashmir. – Zafar Hilaly speaking to A.G. Noorani

1:17 pm The Faiz Everyone Loves

From (L to R) Mahmood Jamal, Bari Mian (Moderator of the session), Moneeza Hashmi (daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz) and Wajid Jawad. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
From (L to R) Mahmood Jamal, Bari Mian (Moderator of the session), Moneeza Hashmi (daughter of Faiz Ahmed Faiz) and Wajid Jawad. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

1:12 pm Book Launch: The Kashmir Dispute 1947 by A.G. Noorani

My sympathies aren't with the Indians or the Pakistanis. They are entirely with the Kashmiris...give peace a chance. – A.G. Noorani

1:04 pm The World of the Novel

Novels get recognition for countries, culture, a language, and people on the world stage. – Aamir R. Mufti

1:03 pm Book Launch: The Kashmir Dispute 1947 by A.G. Noorani

When thinking of a solution to the Kashmir dispute only lose-lose comes to mind. – Zafar Hilaly – Former Diplomat

1:03 pm

Film is a more effective form of storytelling these days – Thomas Brussig

1:02 pm

Puppet show at the Karachi Literature Festival. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Puppet show at the Karachi Literature Festival. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

12:58 pm Book Launch: The Kashmir Dispute 1947 by A.G. Noorani

I am an optimist but a skeptical optimist. Now what are the ground realities. The ground reality is Kashmir does not want to be part of India. It has not wanted that for over 65 years and it is not likely to change its mind in the next 65 years. – Iqbal Akhund - Former Advisor on Foreign Affairs and National Security

12:56 pm Power of the Fourth Estate

I find too much confusion in the media, I have a pessimistic view of it and the media is very powerful as well. – Rasul Baksh

12:53 pm Power of the Fourth Estate

The violence in Pakistan receives more attention than KLF. It's not positive but it's reality I guess. - Meghan Davidson

12:47 pm Book Launch: The Kashmir Dispute 1947 by A.G. Noorani

We are looking for an elusive win-win solution. Kashmir, however, can't be carved out like a piece of real estate. – Victoria Scholfield - Moderator

Nahid Siddiqui performing at the inauguration. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Nahid Siddiqui performing at the inauguration. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

12:40 pm Power of the Fourth Estate

We ask ourselves, is the media autonomous or is it an instrument? – Rasul Baksh

12:37 pm

Liberty stall at the Karachi Literature Festival. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Liberty stall at the Karachi Literature Festival. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

12:24 pm The fifth Karachi Literature Festival was inaugurated with recitation of the national anthem by the children from the Citizens Education Development Foundation. Speeches by the festival’s organisers and representatives of the sponsors followed the national anthem.

Ameena Saiyid, founder and director of the KLF and managing director of Oxford University Press (OUP), announced that 28 titles would be launched at the KLF this year.

In his concluding remarks, Asif Farrukhi, co-founder of the festival, said that we are all an equal part of Pakistani literature.

A number of foreign dignitiaries, representatives of sponsors also made their speeches, in which they all hailed the KLF for enabling the making of new narratives, and a new image of Pakistan.

Amid a thunderous applause, Barbara Wickham, British Council’s director for Sindh and Balochistan, announced that after a very long time the British Council will soon reopen its Karachi offices.

The keynote speaker for the inauguration was the eminent historian, Dr Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi. A classical dance performance by Nahid Siddiqui followed the inauguration keynote speech.

The inauguration ceremony ended with the announcing of the prizes. KLF Peace Prize was awarded to Akbar Ahmed’s The Thistle and the Drone. KLF Embassy of France Prize went to Uzma Aslam Khan’s book Thinner Than Skin. KLF Coca Cola Prize for Best non-fiction book went to Dr Osama Siddique for his book Pakistan’s Experience with Formal Law. – Text by Soonha Abro

12:10 pm KLF Coca Cola Prize for best non-fiction goes to Dr Osama Siddique for Pakistan's Experience with Formal Law

12:05 pm

Uzma Aslam Khan receiving prize for best fiction from Ambassador Dr Micheal Koch, and co-founders of KLF Dr Asif Farrukhi and Ameena Saiyid. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Uzma Aslam Khan receiving prize for best fiction from Ambassador Dr Micheal Koch, and co-founders of KLF Dr Asif Farrukhi and Ameena Saiyid. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

12:00 pm KLF Embassy of France Prize for best fiction goes to Uzma Aslam Khan for Thinner than Skin

11:43 am KLF Peace Prize goes to Thistle and the Drone by Akbar Ahmed

11:09 am

Literature removes boundaries, politics erects boundaries – Dr. Rajmohan Gandhi

11:00 am

Installation by Fatima Munir at the Exhibition, "The City where I Belong,  curated by Adeela Suleman in collaboration with ArtNow. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
Installation by Fatima Munir at the Exhibition, "The City where I Belong, curated by Adeela Suleman in collaboration with ArtNow. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

10:56 am

Lovely to see KLF thriving! – Barbara Wickham, Director of Sindh Balochistan of British Council

10:51 am

We need to confront the rhetoric with our own narrative – German Consul General

Art piece by Seher Naveed at the Exhibition, "The City where I Belong,  curated by Adeela Suleman in collaboration with ArtNow. – Photo by Taahira Booya
Art piece by Seher Naveed at the Exhibition, "The City where I Belong, curated by Adeela Suleman in collaboration with ArtNow. – Photo by Taahira Booya

10:43 am

Would like to pay tribute to the diversity of Pakistani literature – Philip Theobo, Ambassador of the Republic of France

10:40 am

Excited to be in the city of Karachi that is so dynamic and lively. – Philip Theobo, Ambassador of the Republic of France

Ameena Saiyid speaking at the inauguration. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Ameena Saiyid speaking at the inauguration. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

10:35 am

We are all an equal part of Pakistani literature. – Asif Farrukhi

Children from The Citizens Foundation singing the national anthem. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Children from The Citizens Foundation singing the national anthem. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

I am delighted to inform you that we will be launching 28 titles over the course of three days. – Ameena Saiyid

10:15 am And we're off! The inauguration is underway. A group of children from The Citizens Foundation sing the national anthem.

Karachi Literature Festival | 7th, 8th & 9th February | Beach Luxury Hotel
Karachi Literature Festival | 7th, 8th & 9th February | Beach Luxury Hotel

8:35 pm

The second day of the Fifth Karachi Literature Festival comes to an end. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
The second day of the Fifth Karachi Literature Festival comes to an end. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

8:30 pm Interview with Uzma Aslam Khan

7:34 pm Thinner than Skin: In Conversation with Uzma Aslam Khan

Responding to how she decided to become a writer during the book launch of Thinner than Skin, Uzma Aslam Khan said she never consciously thought of becoming one. She said the label “writer” sounded rather arrogant, but added that writing balanced her.

“My teachers were very encouraging. When I went to grad school and my peers were submitting their writing samples, I didn’t have anything. Later, I wrote my manuscript and it was finally accepted by a publisher in Delhi, but it took a very long time,” Khan said.

In response to a question, she said “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf shook her most profoundly as a writer, adding that it is more powerful than a bomb.

Meanwhile, answering a question by moderator Razeshta Sethna as to how her immense mobility during childhood impacted her writing, Khan said the reason she wrote extensively about nomads in her books was because she identified herself as a nomad. “I had this urge to keep moving and it made way into my books.”

Describing how her fiction work differs from non-fiction, Khan analogised that in the case of the former, she felt herself driving the car, but very soon she would find herself in the passenger seat and her characters would be driving the plot, whereas in the latter case, she found herself perpetually in the driver’s seat and in control of her plot.

Interestingly, a member from the audience also asked her whether she would like to commercialise Thinner than Skin into a movie, but Khan laughed it off. – Text by Fatema Imani

6:25 pm

Visitors at the book stall. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Visitors at the book stall. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

6:15 pm Book Launch: The Prisoner by Omar Shahid Hamid

If Bollywood would come knocking, I would have Nana Patekar or Nawazuddin Siddiqui play the role of Akbar Khan and Constantine but there would definitely be an item number by Kareena Kapoor! – Omar Shahid Hamid

6:15 pm Book Launch: The Prisoner by Omar Shahid Hamid

The character of Akbar Khan is based on Chaudhry Aslam. – Omar Shahid Hamid

Omar Shahid Hamid (L) with moderator, Bina Shah. – Photo by Asif Umar
Omar Shahid Hamid (L) with moderator, Bina Shah. – Photo by Asif Umar

6:10 pm Book Launch: The Prisoner by Omar Shahid Hamid

The Prisoner was a cathartic exercise which snowballed into a book. – Omar Shahid Hamid

6:05 pm Book Launch: The Prisoner by Omar Shahid Hamid

We (police) are a very closeted world and most outsiders do not have access to us. The reason I wrote the book is because most on the force don't have the time to write it all out. – Omar Shahid Hamid

6:05 pm Chulbuk Chori: A Play by Thespianz Theatre

A scene from the play. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
A scene from the play. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

5:38 pm Thinner than Skin: In Conversation with Uzma Aslam Khan

When I am writing, I don't assign qualities to the characters in my books. – Uzma Aslam Khan

Uzma Aslam Khan. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Uzma Aslam Khan. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

5:37 pm Book Launch: The Prisoner by Omar Shahid Hamid

Police is ultimately a reflection of the society it comes from because they are not isolated, like the army, they grow from within the social structure. – Omar Shahid Hamid

5:35 pm Book Launch: The Prisoner by Omar Shahid Hamid

When we joined the police force this (dealing with extremism and terrorism) is not what we thought the job would entail. These are exceptional circumstances that we have been thrown into. You could get the London Metropolitan and they would struggle with it as well. The situation needs to change (police force needs more support) because we are not equipped to handle this. – Omar Shahid Hamid

5:32 pm Aap Beeti, Jag Beeti: Khwateen aur Khudnavisht

A session on women’s autobiographies, Aap Beeti, Jag Beeti: Khwateen aur Khudnavisht was held towards the end of the second day of the KLF. The speakers at the session included renowned writers Kishwar Naheed, Azra Abbas, Sheen Farrukh, and Attiya Dawood.

After a brief introduction of the speakers, the conversation moved to poet, writer and activist, Attiya Dawood and her autobiography Aine Ke Samne. She said that the consequences of writing one’s own autobiography deserve to be turned into a sequel.

The only worry that she had was how her husband and daughters would react to her autobiography.

For Dawood, writing the autobiography was one of the most difficult phases of her life as she was forced to relive numerous painful memories.

Moreover, Dawood also talked about various peoples' perceptions towards her autobiography, and how they perceived women in a number of different ways.

From there, the conversation moved on to poet Azra Abbas’s autobiographical narrative Mera Bachpan, where the focus was on the representation of several taboos in our society. She said that the restraints upon her freedom during her youth took her back to the freer days of her childhood.

The conversation, and its focus, moved to writer, journalist and activist, Sheen Farrukh’s positivity towards the people in her autobiography Jeene Ka Jurm. Farrukh said that it was the economic empowerment she had attained, which became her crime. In addition, she read out some excerpts from her autobiography.

Kishwar Naheed’s autobiography Buri Aurat Ki Katha was next on the list. She talked about how her autobiography’s title generated quite a bit of curiosity over who the Buri Aurat was, as well as certain sections of her book being censored at the time of publication within Pakistan.

After each speaker had spoken, a discussion on the question of considering autobiography as literary text, and by extension, on making female autobiography a part of the canon of autobiographical texts. -

5:00 pm Challenges faced by Art Galleries

Zohra Hussain (L) with Quddus Mirza. – Photo by Asif Umar
Zohra Hussain (L) with Quddus Mirza. – Photo by Asif Umar

5:00 pm

A glimpse of the 'Rang and Qalam' area at Karachi Literature Festival arranged by HBL. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
A glimpse of the 'Rang and Qalam' area at Karachi Literature Festival arranged by HBL. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

A glimpse of the 'Rang and Qalam' area at Karachi Literature Festival arranged by HBL. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
A glimpse of the 'Rang and Qalam' area at Karachi Literature Festival arranged by HBL. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

4:50 pm Shaping Societal Norms: The Role of Textbooks

Our education system does not encourage critical thinking, nor do we support secularism or aim to enlighten our students by expanding our curriculum to include pluralism. This was the underlying argument during a session titled 'Shaping societal norms: The role of textbooks.’

Throughout history, we have seen that education is the reproduction of the dominant ideologies of the region at the time, said Lahore-based independent researcher Rubina Saigol.

In Pakistan, during the 1950s, textbooks did not have the glaring anti-India ideology that exists in them today. Rather, Ram and Buddha were praised for their contributions to society. It was after 1965 that the textbooks started looking inward and its teaching became more about disseminating knowledge to legitimise the ideology of those in power, Saigol added, referring to the extremist elements in society.

Young Pakistanis have been taught that the British are 'tricksters', Hindus are 'inherently evil', Sikhs are 'knife welding butchers or murderers' while the Jews are greedy like the character of 'Shylock' - depicted in a well-known Shakespeare play Merchant of Venice. The Bengalis are mentioned mostly as "back stabbers" with their history narrated either as half-truths or full lies, Saigol concluded.

Educationist and co-founder of Lahore Grammar School, Samina Rahman, spoke of a recent example which left many in the audience surprised. A branch of LGS was served notices by the provincial government for teaching the chapter on reproduction in Biology class to children whose minds are 'too impressionable'.

The school’s administration was further being penalised for teaching comparative religions. "We were told the beliefs of students were being polluted by teaching them about other religions," Rahman said.

Retired professor of Quaid-i-Azam University A H Nayyar said the current textbooks, especially those used in public schools, unnecessarily create religious divides by showing one religion as better and the rest 'false'. "We do not create empathy for diversity but above all we do not increase the learning skill of students," Nayyar said trying to reinforce Rahman’s point of enlightening students by teaching them about all religions and cultures.

Quoting a recent Pew survey which asked students in Pakistan if they wanted Shariah enforced in the country, renowned nuclear scientist and distinguished professor of Physics and Mathematics at FC College Lahore, Pervez Hoodbhoy said 87 per cent responded with 'yes'.

"The reason we fail to confront terrorism with a religious face is because these textbooks, over time, have ingrained these (single-minded) ideologies in them," he said. – Text by Mahnoor Sherazee

4:15 pm Chashm-e-Tamasha:Readings and Conversation with Amjad Islam Amjad

Amjad Islam Amjad (L) with moderator, Muhammad Ahmed Shah. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Amjad Islam Amjad (L) with moderator, Muhammad Ahmed Shah. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

3:50 pm Shaping Societal Norms: The Role of Textbooks

From L to R: Samira Rahman, Rubina Saigol, A.H. Nayyar, Ameena Saiyid (moderator), and Pervez Hoodbhoy. – Photo by Taahira Booya
From L to R: Samira Rahman, Rubina Saigol, A.H. Nayyar, Ameena Saiyid (moderator), and Pervez Hoodbhoy. – Photo by Taahira Booya

3:47 pm Shaping Societal Norms: The Role of Textbooks

Textbooks do not create empathy for diversity or awareness of human rights. They create boundaries between cultures and prove that one religion is better than the other. – A.H. Nayyar

3:34 pm The Pakistani Novel in English: International Representation and Local Reception

The second half of Karachi Literature Festival’s second day began with some more sessions, of which one was The Pakistani Novel in English: International Representation and Local Reception. Moderated by scholar and critic Madeline Clements, the session’s panel consisted of eminent writers Uzma Aslam Khan, H.M. Naqvi, Shandana Minhas, and Bina Shah.

After a brief introduction to the session’s topic and its panelists, the conversation moved to Khan. In her speech, she said that her characters are her primary audience. She further said that she only represents a certain eight-year-old girl, not all of them.

Furthermore, Pakistani readers are more likely to read novels in English that have garnered publicity abroad, Khan said. Also, she added, the readers then get angry about a novel’s representation of Pakistan as it deviates from the readers’ own ideas about Pakistan, without realising that their ideas are essentially subjective, and cannot be applied to others.

Bina Shah talked about her writing career and the journey her bibliography encompasses. She noted that after her book Slum Child came out, she experienced angry confrontations from members of a book club who said that Pakistani society treats its minorities very well, and alleged that Shah had misrepresented Pakistani society in her book. This came across as an eye-opener to Shah, and made her realise how different people have varying ideas of what is the truth.

H.M. Naqvi raised questions about whether or not authors like Ian McEwan and Martin Amis accurately represent their respective countries. He further said that such treatment is usually meted out to Pakistanis and other writers from various countries.

Shandana Minhas, in response to the topic, said there is indeed an element of animosity amongst the readers, which is directed towards the author. Yet, it does not mean that there is any malice. – Text by Soonha Abro

3:25 pm Musical Performance and Workshop by Asif Sinan

Asif Sinan. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Asif Sinan. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

3:15 pm The Pakistani Novel in English: International Representation and Local Reception

H.M. Naqvi, Shandana Minhas, Madeline Clements (moderator), Bina Shah and Uzma Aslam Khan. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
H.M. Naqvi, Shandana Minhas, Madeline Clements (moderator), Bina Shah and Uzma Aslam Khan. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

2:55 pm Dehshat Gardi aur Hamari Kahaniyan: In Conversation with Asif Farrukhi, Intizar Husain and Arfa Sayeda Zehra

Another important session on the issue of terrorism and literature was held on the second day at the Karachi Literature Festival.

The session’s moderator Masood Ashar said Pakistan is facing the menace of terrorism that has gradually shaped into an organised institution.

Meanwhile, eminent novelist Intizar Husain said there are many aspects of truth and realities and everyone should respect different realities as it was the only way to fight against extremism.

A new book named ‘Ungli Maala’ (fingers necklace) was also discussed in the session as it had been inspired by an old Buddhism story.

Arfa Zehra said terror and hate is going to destroy the fabric of society.

All the panelists in the session agreed that very little has been reflected in Urdu literature about terrorism and extremism in Pakistan. – Text by Suhail Yousuf

From L to R: Moderator, Masood Ashar, Asif Farrukhi, Intizar Husain and Arfa Sayeda Zehra. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
From L to R: Moderator, Masood Ashar, Asif Farrukhi, Intizar Husain and Arfa Sayeda Zehra. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

3:00 pm

– Photo by Muhammad Umar
– Photo by Muhammad Umar

2:50 pm New Voices in Sindhi Poetry

During the session “New voices in Sindhi Poetry”, moderator Amar Sindhu presented two promising female poets Rukhsana Preet and Rubina Abro.

Rukhsana Preet said the literary atmosphere of her home was the reason she took to poetry and literature, as it inspired her to write in order to express her feelings.

She said whenever a woman expresses herself using poetry and literature, the society attempts to pry into her personal life rather than her creative work.

Both the poets presented their poetry in the session which was greatly appreciated by the audience. – Text by Suhail Yousuf

Rubina Abro, Amar Sindhu (moderator) and Rukhsana Preet. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
Rubina Abro, Amar Sindhu (moderator) and Rukhsana Preet. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

2:40 pm Pakistani Nationalism: The Extremist Threat

"It is often said that the two-nation theory failed," said Javed Jabbar while speaking at a session titled Pakistani Nationalism: The Extremist Threat.

"Pakistani state was unable to adopt the diversity and pluralistic population" he explains adding that “it is not the two-nation theory that failed rather the two-state theory that did.”

Pakistan has faced very strong opposition to its existence and now there is something emerging that is Pakistaniat, and whether for good or bad, religion plays a role in it, Jabbar, the moderator of the session, added.

Taking the discussion forward, well know analyst Syed Jaffar Ahmed said, "Pakistani identity has to be modern, liberal and secular but so far it has been unable to create such an identity."

Saying the country has been "hijacked the by Taliban", Ahmed said that the people, Parliament and political forces have been marginalised making the country very vulnerable. He urged the people to understand that is only through genuine democratic process and ensuring a secular society that Pakistan could prosper.

Journalist Mohsin Babbar, also on the panel for discussion, spoke in detail about the layers of nationalism in Sindh. "It starts with Sindhi feeling a sense of nationalism first with their community, then with the rest of the Sindhi population and then with Pakistan."

To understand the problem and find a proper solution and change mindsets, Babbar said nationalism will have to been seen in the geographical context as well. – Text by Mahnoor Sherazee

2:00 pm Book Launch: Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten by Rajmohan Gandhi

Dr Rajmohan Gandhi spoke about his book 'Punjab: A history from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten' during the book launch session and added that the purpose was not to disapprove or prove anything, but only to state how things were.

He said the book started with the decline of the Muslim Mughal rule, following the demise of Aurangzeb in 1707 to the Sikh rule in Punjab which led to the British taking over only to conclude during separation.

When asked about the state of Muslims during the era of Ranjeet Sindh, Dr Gandhi said his findings had revealed that the Sikh rule was tolerant towards Muslims, but it did not mean that everyone enjoyed equal rights.

He moreover cited the examples of restrictions imposed on Azaan and the slaughter of cows in Punjab.

However, the rule could not be described as downright oppressive because Ranjeet controlled many areas of Punjab indirectly through the use of vassals, who were Muslims in the Muslim majority areas. These vassals also enjoyed a degree of autonomy.

Meanwhile, discussing how Sikhs were able to rule Punjab despite being a minority, Dr Gandhi said even though Muslims were very religious, the Sikhs could relate their religion more to Punjab because of the language factor.

Talking about the divide and rule policy of the British, he said it had rendered the British Army, which included swathes of local soldiers, as useless as they were and failed to stop the killings which occurred during partition in huge proportions.

Over half of the sub-continental soldiers who participated in World War I with the British Army belonged to Punjab.

He completed his session with the quote that Punjabis and Punjabiat overcame the madness as the Punjabis protecting Punjabis (Hindus and Muslims) really outnumbered the Punjabis killing Punjabis. – Text by Hammad Ahmed Abbasi

1:49 pm New Voices in Sindhi Poetry

After much of the work in Sindhi poetry there is a challenge for new poets to raise the bar further. – Amr Sindhu

1:45 pm Qawwali Music and the Sufi Poetry Tradition: A Presentation by Mahmood Jamal

Moderator, Sarwat Mohiuddin. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Moderator, Sarwat Mohiuddin. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

One of the morning’s last sessions was the Qawaali Music and the Sufi Poetry Tradition: A Presentation by Mahmood Jamal. The session was moderated by the well-known poet and prose writer of the Punjabi and Urdu languages, Sarwat Mohiuddin. The speaker, Mahmood Jamal, is a eminent poet and filmmaker with a long connection with the Qawwali. He is based in London.

He began by relating the history of Qawwali, in which he talked about the mehfil-e-sama. This gave birth to Qawwali. He added that it was Hazrat Ameer Khusro who went on to become an icon of Qawwali music.

Jamal further said that there have been numerous controversies over the centuries in the history of Qawaali. He added that music theorists looked down upon this genre.

Mohiuddin went on to add that Khawaja Mohiuddin Chishty came to the Indian sub-continent in 1191 and was compelled to spread the message of Islam through the Hindu traditions of music in the sub-continent.

Jamal countered this by saying that the musical traditions of Turkey and surrounding regions influenced the devotional music of the sub-continent. He further said that the Qawwali music has spiritual influence. In the past, Jamal added, Qawwalis were mostly written in Farsi/Persian.

Mohiuddin also said that it is actually the rhythm influences the listener, having transcended the boundaries of language. She then asked Jamal about his thoughts on the current changes and their possible effects occurring in the Qawwali music at present time. He replied that Qawaali has moved on to more secular spaces like the television. Now people listen to it more for entertainment purposes, even though the spiritual aspects are the same owing to no changes in the rhythms of Qawwali music, Jamal added.

The discussion also expounded upon the subject of love within Qawwali music and Sufi poetry.

As a part of the presentation, a number of Qawwali soundtracks were also played to the audience so that one may, in Jamal’s own words, learn in a new way something that one already knows. – Text by Soonha Abro

1:40 pm Historic Adversaries, Modern Partners

Unlike Europe, we hide from history . We do not try to understand it – Gazi Salahuddin

1:25 pm Historic Adversaries, Modern Partners

From L to R: Gazi Salahuddin, Thomas Brussig, Amin Hashwani, Tilo Klinner and Zafar Hilaly. – Photo by Taahira Booya
From L to R: Gazi Salahuddin, Thomas Brussig, Amin Hashwani, Tilo Klinner and Zafar Hilaly. – Photo by Taahira Booya

1:25 pm Historic Adversaries, Modern Partners

The India Pakistan crisis is something that can only be understood by writers and not diplomats because essentially it's a human crisis of so many dimensions. – Gazi Salahuddin

1:15 pm Pakistani Nationalism: The Extremist Threat

From L to R: Moderator, Javed Jabbar, Syed Jaffar Ahmed and Mohsin Babbar. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
From L to R: Moderator, Javed Jabbar, Syed Jaffar Ahmed and Mohsin Babbar. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

1:10 pm In Conversation with Kamila Shamsie

Moderator, Maryam Wasif Khan (L) with Kamila Shamsie. – Photo by Asif Umar
Moderator, Maryam Wasif Khan (L) with Kamila Shamsie. – Photo by Asif Umar

1:00 pm Book Launch: Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller by Raza Rumi

Raza Rumi (L) with Moderator, Asif Noorani. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry
Raza Rumi (L) with Moderator, Asif Noorani. – Photo by Quratulain Choudhry

In a very open and light hearted discussion on his book Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller, Raza Rumi spoke about the composite culture between India and Pakistan.

Kicking off the session, which started a tad bit late, moderator Asif Noorani asked Rumi why he chose to write on Delhi and not perhaps Lucknow instead. To this Rumi humorously replied that Delhi is where he managed to get the visa for.

Speaking about his book, Rumi explained why he chose this particular aspect. "I have read a great deal on the Sultans and the Mughals but not much about the peoples' history which is what he was interested in and wrote about," said Rumi to a packed room.

Many Pakistanis are ingrained with the notion that India and Indians are the enemy. But there is a great deal on common, he said adding, that we need to appreciate the secular society in India. "There is a pluralistic legacy there (in India) which has been brutally killed in Pakistan. Seeing these religions and cultures mix harmoniously makes us wonder that once we too must have lived like this (before partition). – Text by Mahnoor Sherazee

12:44 am Voices, Older and Younger: Poetry in English

Another session of the day was a poetry seminar titled Voices, Older and Younger: Poetry in English. The panelists were Salman Tarik Kureshi, Ilona Yusuf, Shireen Haroun, Bilal Hamid, Moeen Faruqi, and Farida Faizullah, all of them poets. The session was moderated by Shahnaz Ahsanudin, a prominent educationist who has spent much of her career teaching English Literature.

Ahsanuddin started the poem by introducing all the speakers, and asked them what constitutes a poem, it is just a combination of rhythm and rhyme or is it something more complex, intellectual, and emotional experience that has been encapsulated in words by the poet.

The conversation then moved on to recitations by each of the poets on the panel, which were followed by the poets speaking on their respective processes of creation, of their influences, of their experiences that inform their writing.

Bilal Hamid said that poetry enables one to jump from one place in the universe to another.

Seeing Faizullah read out her poems off a number of pages typed in Braille was a true inspiration for the audience.

Next, Shireen Haroun read her poems that appeared to have been heavily inspired from Nature. However, this observation on the audience’s part was dispelled when Haroun admitted that actually she is not an outdoorsy person, and that her poems were mainly philosophical.

Ilona Yusuf, another poet on the panel, joined the discussion at this point and added that she found Haroun’s poems quite graphic. To this, Haroun replied that the element of Nature in her poems probably comes through her surroundings, which include a number of pets and a large garden, apart from what she has read about Nature.

Regarding a question about whether the poets’ respective acts of writing a poem involve a struggle, Haroun said that the strange thing about poetry is that one gets an idea and writes a poem. But a few weeks later, one realises that the poem one has written is awful. However, there are some occasions when certain poems simply seem to flow out of you.

In connection to the same question, artist and poet Moeen Faruqi replied that he is primarily a painter. Further explaining his technique, Faruqi said that he mainly uses visual imagery, while leaving the whole business of interpretation up to the reader.

Poet and writer Salman Tarik Kureshi said that his process of writing poetry is more exacting than it is painful.

Regarding getting ideas in the middle of the night, Ilona Yusuf replied that she usually jots down some notes or verses in a notebook that she keeps on her bedside table. – Text by Soonha Abro

From L to R: Salman Tarik Kureshi, IIona Yusuf, Shahnaz Ahsanuddin (moderator), Farida Faizullah, Shireen Haroun, Moeen Faruqi and Bilal Hamid. – Photo by Taahira Booya
From L to R: Salman Tarik Kureshi, IIona Yusuf, Shahnaz Ahsanuddin (moderator), Farida Faizullah, Shireen Haroun, Moeen Faruqi and Bilal Hamid. – Photo by Taahira Booya

12:28 am Contemporary Fiction at Home and the Diaspora

The second day of the Karachi Literature Festival kickstarted with a varied range of sessions. One of these was the Contemporary Fiction at the Home and the Diaspora. Its speakers were Moni Mohsin, Muneeza Shamsie, Nikita Lalwani, and Nikesh Shukla. The session was moderated by Salman Tarik Kureshi.

Kureshi started the event by introducing all speakers, and asking them that were home and the diaspora really two, very different spaces, or were they two parts of the same space. While expounding upon this question, the discussion soon moved on to other issues that are also a part of the topic of the discussion.

Shamsie, an eminent Karachi-based critic, editor, and author, said that amongst the critics there have been allegations of the English language resulting in an elitist form of writing. Furthermore, she said that the diaspora has enabled working-class literature to emerge.

Shukla, a British writer of Indian descent, raised an interesting question that whether a diasporic literary text is perceived as a book about being South Asian, or does the book just happens to be about a person who has South Asian origins.

Regarding the connection of home and the diaspora in the writers’ works, Shukla said that he actually enjoys having a nice, rich palette of material to choose from for his writing.

In response to the same question, the well-known Moni Mohsin added that foreign publishers expect South Asian writers to write sari-donning women with kohl in their eyes, as well as mangoes and other items that they find exotic. Similarly, Shukla added that the publishers abroad do not think about the book itself, but merely about which category to put these books in.

Shamsie asked her fellow speakers about how being at home and being abroad affects their writing process. In response to this question, Mohsin talked about her experience of writing her book The End of Innocence. She said that being a member of the Pakistani diaspora in Britain did not inhibit her during the writing of Innocence. In fact, she added, her writing continued to flow from her previous works. Furthermore, she has found that once she has gathered all her materials, she finds it easier to write from a distance as it allows her a certain objectivity.

Lalwani, another British writer of Indian descent, responded to Shamsie’s question by raising a pertinent question about how each person has a completely different definition of the word ‘home’ based on their various backgrounds and lives. She also said that the word ‘home’ has a emotional connotation, but the word ‘diaspora’ does not. – Text by Soonha Abro

11:55 am Teesray Pehr ki Kahaniyan: Readings and Conversations with Asad Muhammad Khan

Asad Muhammad Khan (L) with Asif Farrukhi. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Asad Muhammad Khan (L) with Asif Farrukhi. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

11:50 am The Simurgh and the Birds translated by Fahmida Riaz

Moderator, Fahmida Riaz (L) with Amra Alam. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Moderator, Fahmida Riaz (L) with Amra Alam. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

11:45 am Book Launch: Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten by Rajmohan Gandhi

There were two main black marks which allowed the effective rule of the British in the sub-continent. The first was the clear underlying meaning that the ruling race was superior than the race being ruled. And this is one way how they manage, which in many ways is an impressive rule. – Dr Rajmohan Gandhi

11:45 am Book Launch: Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten by Rajmohan Gandhi

The second black mark on their imperial architecture was by managing to divide the Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs and keep them separate. – Dr Rajmohan Gandhi

11:44 am Book Launch: Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten by Rajmohan Gandhi

Moderator, Raza Rumi, with Dr Rajmohan Gandhi. – Photo by Asif Umar
Moderator, Raza Rumi, with Dr Rajmohan Gandhi. – Photo by Asif Umar

11:30 am Voices, Older and Younger: Poetry in English

When we talk about poetry we are talking about a complex, emotional experience captured in words - it involves a struggle for the poet. – Shahnaz Ahsanuddin

11:25 am Voices, Older and Younger: Poetry in English

The poet is somewhat an artist - he chooses his words and images . He needs skills to manage the words he wants to use to reach the reader. – Shahnaz Ahsanuddin

11:15 am The Goal of Higher Education: Creating Professionals or Scholars?

The teaching of submission and restriction at the primary level is the antithesis of (mindset required) for research and investigation itself. – Pervez Hoodbhoy

11:15 am The Goal of Higher Education: Creating Professionals or Scholars?

There is no invention of modern science that can be attributed to Muslims and it is not for lack of money. Look at Saudia Arabia they spend so much on education and they produce exactly zero. – Pervez Hoodbhoy

11:10 Qalam sey Awaz Tak: Readings and Conversation with Raza Ali Abidi

From L to R: Ghazi Salahuddin, Raza Ali Abidi, Khurram Suhail. – Photo by Asif Umar
From L to R: Ghazi Salahuddin, Raza Ali Abidi, Khurram Suhail. – Photo by Asif Umar

11:10 am The Goal of Higher Education: Creating Professionals or Scholars?

The habit of research starts from Class 1. – Zubaida Jalal

11:10 am The Goal of Higher Education: Creating Professionals or Scholars?

We need to have trained and accomplished teachers especially for primary education to help strengthen the foundation of our children's education. – Zubaida Jalal

11:05 am The Goal of Higher Education: Creating Professionals or Scholars?

Very few perhaps only five, 10 or 15 per cent of the students will prefer to go towards become scholars. – Ishrat Husain

11:05 am Book Launch: The Scatter Here is Too Great by Bilal Tanweer

Moderator, Ali Sethi (L), with Bilal Tanweer. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Moderator, Ali Sethi (L), with Bilal Tanweer. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

11:05 am The Goal of Higher Education: Creating Professionals or Scholars?

There is a proliferation of college and universities who are doing more damage in society than helping us meet our societal needs. We have a high number of quacks. For example medical bodies have failed to regulate the standard of doctors being produced. – Ishrat Husain

11:00 am The Goal of Higher Education: Creating Professionals or Scholars?

We need to take a closer look at the importance of scholars as well as professionals. They both serve separate purposes. Professionals meet societal and economic needs while scholars do not care about making a name for themselves. The success of any research is not a guarantee but is a very different kind of information. – Ishrat Husain

10:50 am Puppet Show by Ritz Theatre

Children enjoying the Puppet Show organised by Ritz Theatre. – Photo by Mahjabeen Mankani
Children enjoying the Puppet Show organised by Ritz Theatre. – Photo by Mahjabeen Mankani

10:45 am The Goal of Higher Education: Creating Professionals or Scholars?

From L to R: Ishrat Husain, Ismat Riaz, Pervez Hoodbhoy and Abbas Rashid. – Photo by Taahira Booya
From L to R: Ishrat Husain, Ismat Riaz, Pervez Hoodbhoy and Abbas Rashid. – Photo by Taahira Booya

10:42 am Apni Beyaz say: Zehra Nigah

Beeti jo taqdeer nahin thi, bachon ne jo dekha nahin tha, kis tarha karein dor-e-aseeri ki shikayat, chupne ka irada toh hamara bhi nahin tha. - Zehra Nigah

Zehra Nigah. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Zehra Nigah. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

10:35 am Apni Beyaz say: Zehra Nigah

Zehra Nigah reading classical poetry in her session, which was immensely enjoyed by the audience.

10:34 am The Goal of Higher Education

What worries me in Pakistan is that the quality of competency is decreasing with time than increasing.- Pervez Hoodbhoy

10:31 am The Goal of Higher Education

We have so many PhDs and so many doctors coming out from our universities but how much do they really know? What do we do when we have so many fake notes in circulation especially when they exceed the genuine ones? Pervez Hoodbhoy – Speaking about low quality and standards of education

10:24 Puppet Show Children are being adequately entertained at the Puppet Show with loud, merry songs.

10:20 am

10:17 am

10:00 am It's a chilly morning on the second day of the fifth Karachi Literature Festival at Beach Luxury Hotel. The crowd turnout is a little low with MQM’s call for a day of mourning but we are hoping it will pick up. Stay tuned with Dawn.com for updates of the event throughout the day.

Karachi Literature Festival | 7th, 8th & 9th February | Beach Luxury Hotel
Karachi Literature Festival | 7th, 8th & 9th February | Beach Luxury Hotel

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

From L to R: Aman Aziz Siddiqui, Kamila Shamsie, Asif Furrukhi, Ameena Saiyid and Raza Ali Abidi. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
From L to R: Aman Aziz Siddiqui, Kamila Shamsie, Asif Furrukhi, Ameena Saiyid and Raza Ali Abidi. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

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.

6:10 pm

Visitors at the book stall. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Visitors at the book stall. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

6:07 pm Book Launch: Intikhab-e-Kalam: Parveen Shakir

Amjad Islam Amjad with Fatema Hassan (moderator). – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Amjad Islam Amjad with Fatema Hassan (moderator). – Photo by Muhammad Umar

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

Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (L) with Bina Shah (moderator). – Photo by Asif Umar
Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy (L) with Bina Shah (moderator). – Photo by Asif Umar

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

From L to R: Rasul Baksh Rais (moderator), Mubarak Ali and Sarah Ansari. – Photo by Asif Umar
From L to R: Rasul Baksh Rais (moderator), Mubarak Ali and Sarah Ansari. – Photo by Asif Umar

5:49 pm Readings and Conversation with Amar Jaleel

Moderator, Shah Muhammad Pirzada (L) with Amar Jaleel. – Photo by Asif Umar
Moderator, Shah Muhammad Pirzada (L) with Amar Jaleel. – Photo by Asif Umar

5:40 pm

Karachi Literature Festival is packed with visitors. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Karachi Literature Festival is packed with visitors. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

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

Iftikhar Salahuddin. – Photo by Muhammad Umar
Iftikhar Salahuddin. – Photo by Muhammad Umar

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

Aliya Iqbal Naqvi with Mohammed Hanif. – Photo by Asif Umar
Aliya Iqbal Naqvi with Mohammed Hanif. – Photo by Asif Umar

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

– Photo by Asif Umar
– Photo by Asif Umar

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?

Richard Olson. – Photo by Asif Umar
Richard Olson. – Photo by Asif Umar

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

Zia Mohyeddin. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
Zia Mohyeddin. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

3:35 pm In Conversation with Nahid Siddiqui

Nahid Siddiqui (L) with Kamila Shamsie. – Photo by Asif Umar
Nahid Siddiqui (L) with Kamila Shamsie. – Photo by Asif Umar

3:32 pm

Visitors at the puppet show. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Visitors at the puppet show. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

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

Abdullah Hussain (L) with Muhammad Ahmed Shah (moderator). – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Abdullah Hussain (L) with Muhammad Ahmed Shah (moderator). – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

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

Framji Minwalla (moderator), Rob Crilly and H.M. Naqvi. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Framji Minwalla (moderator), Rob Crilly and H.M. Naqvi. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

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

1:34 pm

Visitors from one of the morning sessions. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
Visitors from one of the morning sessions. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

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

Visitors listening to Ata ul Haq Qasmi. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Visitors listening to Ata ul Haq Qasmi. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

1:15 pm Ba-Zuban e Qasmi: Readings and Conversation with Ata ul Haq Qasmi

Ata ul Haq Qasmi (L) with Irfan Javed (moderator). – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
Ata ul Haq Qasmi (L) with Irfan Javed (moderator). – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

1:07 pm The Legacy of the Mahatma

From L to R: Zaffar Junejo (moderator), Dr Rajmohan Gandhi and Sarah Ansari. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
From L to R: Zaffar Junejo (moderator), Dr Rajmohan Gandhi and Sarah Ansari. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

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

**12:50 pm*

Performance by Thespian theatre. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
Performance by Thespian theatre. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

12:46 pm Baloch Literature and Landscape

From L to R: Ayub Baloch, Zobaida Jalal, Baela Raza Jamil (moderator) and Tariq Rahman. – Photo by Taahira Booya
From L to R: Ayub Baloch, Zobaida Jalal, Baela Raza Jamil (moderator) and Tariq Rahman. – Photo by Taahira Booya

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

From L to R: Asad Sayeed, Zoya Hasan, Amina Yaqin, Mandira Sen and Taimur Rahman (moderator). – Photo by Kurt Menezes
From L to R: Asad Sayeed, Zoya Hasan, Amina Yaqin, Mandira Sen and Taimur Rahman (moderator). – Photo by Kurt Menezes

11:55 am Dhoop Kiran: Readings and Conversation with Imdad Hussaini

From L to R: Kishwar Naheed, Imdad Hussaini, Fahmida Riaz and Sahar Imdad (modertor). – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
From L to R: Kishwar Naheed, Imdad Hussaini, Fahmida Riaz and Sahar Imdad (modertor). – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

11:40 am Karachi: From Stone Age to Cyber Age

From L to R: Alia Iqbal Naqvi (moderator), Rumana Husain and Asma Ibrahim. – Photo by Asif Umar
From L to R: Alia Iqbal Naqvi (moderator), Rumana Husain and Asma Ibrahim. – Photo by Asif Umar

11:30 am Karachi: From Stone Age to Cyber Age

Arif Hasan (L) with Kaleemullah Lashari. – Photo by Asif Umar
Arif Hasan (L) with Kaleemullah Lashari. – Photo by Asif Umar

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

– Photo by Aliraza Khatri
– Photo by Aliraza Khatri

10:53 am Writing History

From L to R: Hamida Khuhro, Mushirul Hasan, Syed Jaffar Ahmed (moderator), Mubarak Ali and Ismat Riaz. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri
From L to R: Hamida Khuhro, Mushirul Hasan, Syed Jaffar Ahmed (moderator), Mubarak Ali and Ismat Riaz. – Photo by Aliraza Khatri

10:30 am Puppet Show by Ritz Theatre

A show on Dora by Ritz Threatre. –Photo by Kurt Menezes
A show on Dora by Ritz Threatre. –Photo by Kurt Menezes

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.

Children enjoying the puppet show by Ritz Theatre. – Photo by Kurt Menezes
Children enjoying the puppet show by Ritz Theatre. – Photo by Kurt Menezes

Dawn.com's KLF team

Aliraza Khatri

Asif Umar

Bilal Mazhar

Fatema Imani

Hammad Abbasi

Kurt Menezes

Mahjabeen Mankani

Mahnoor Sherazee

Muhammad Umar

Qurat ul ain Choudhry

Soonha Abro

Suhail Yusuf

Tahira Booya

Zainul Abideen Siddiqui


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Bilal Abbas Feb 07, 2014 07:07pm

Excellent coverage DAWN! Way to go!

Anwar Khawaja Feb 07, 2014 10:30pm

It is strange to read news about the Literary conference in which the English Writers are participating. The language of Literature in Pakistan is Urdu. There is mention of any Urdu writer.I am wondering why Intazar Hussain and Mustansir Hussain Tarar have accepted the invitation to participate in this Conference. They have written some material in English but they are not English writers. There is lot of confusion about this Literary Conference. It looks like conference have been Organized by the English Publishers.

temporal Feb 08, 2014 03:22am

mesmerising

Raza Feb 08, 2014 06:51am

Excellent coverage. And thanks so much for the excellent photos Dawn. Keep up the good work!

reader Feb 08, 2014 01:24pm

Wonderful coverage agaib. Bravo!

Altafahmad Feb 08, 2014 01:48pm

Please fellow the rules.this waste of time only.where is rules.

Hassan Bana Feb 08, 2014 04:03pm

Great event

Maqsood Ahmad Feb 08, 2014 06:50pm

GREAT.

Daniyal Wali Feb 08, 2014 07:50pm

Finally something to joy for those who are in love with LITERATURE.

Sridhar Feb 08, 2014 08:36pm

The fact that the literary festival is happening is great news. Stands in bright contrast to the depressing headlines emanating from Karachi on a daily basis. Such events have a definitive humanizing effect on society. If literature is to broaden minds further diversity among participants is the next goal to achieve. Just a month ago, I attended the Jaipur Literary Festival. Represented on the stage as also in the audience were lovers of literature from diverse religions, countries, and diverse perspectives. When I see the names in the captions in the above report on KLF, by golly, we can use some diversity.

Ali Raza Feb 08, 2014 10:21pm

Thought provoking....

Salim Chowdhrey Feb 08, 2014 11:02pm

What a treat for a forlorn former Karachiwala! Thanks DAWN.you took me home to my teens in 50's and 60's. Oh yes the British Council my after school and Summer refuge. S.C.

Bisma@foodstories Feb 08, 2014 11:36pm

It's like I was there, very well done, as expected:)

azhar Feb 09, 2014 12:09am

Good Coverage. Enjoyed the read

Mahmood Mir Feb 09, 2014 02:58am

It is a Great Event, Being a Karachiites myself now living in US, I definitely missed this 5th Karachi Literature Festival held at Beach Luxury Hotel and DAWN.com did a good job covering the whole event, they should put a Live Doumentry on this site.

Mohammad A Qadeer Feb 09, 2014 06:06am

Thank you,KLF for projecting soft image of Karachi,i.e Centre of literature,poetry & tolerence .

Ghazal Feb 09, 2014 06:17am

I suppose the intellectuals in Pakistan have nothing better to do than to spread despair - unfortunately it is only a testament to their own impotence. What good are they doing for the common people of Pakistan? The best picture was the one of the poor man serving food to the elite: he represents the people of Pakistan, not these snooty literati.

Intilec Feb 09, 2014 08:43am

Too much commercial in nature! New Year but same old people!

Haroon Rooha Feb 09, 2014 09:33am

Good reading.March of Time.Spread of knowledge.Inevitable corrosion of dogmas. inquisitive human mind,Every where yearning to progress,ready to remove the shackels of isolation and ignorance,refuses to live ,think in a box.The human spirit, ever ready to to be free,not a bounded or bonded slave of any body ,ANYBODY,through KNOWLDGE,not forced idealogies/revelations.DAWN's effort and services are deeply appriciated.

Suhail Mirza Feb 09, 2014 10:08am

Since yesterday, the first thing I do every morning is open my laptop and got to the Dawn's KLF page. I am overwhelmed at the content and so missing the event. The people, the extensive and inexhasutive topics... hats off to the Oxford University Press for bringing together the literati of Pakistan at a forum that is befitting and honours them, to Dawn for the coverage and most of all the people of this country (and the so compromised, victimised Karachiites) who deserve and need to understand the necessity of literature.. which is vital to develop any sense of QUALITY....

Ali Raza Feb 09, 2014 11:48am

Excellent coverage by DAWN.

Wasif Feb 09, 2014 06:39pm

A job well done by OUP and exceedingly well covered by Dawn. The only challenge, and a formidable one, is to somehow engage the thousands of marginalised teachers and students from the less fortunate areas of Pakistan so they go home with some ideas and inspiration...otherwise, like the English papers and their columnists it will end up being the same views being read by the same people.

Naeem Feb 09, 2014 06:51pm

What a thrilling event. Thanks for the extensive coverage and the content. I wish I was there to attend such an interesting event. Pakistan is alive and well with such eminent writewrs

ADNAN AFTAB Feb 09, 2014 07:16pm

Keep it up . Session with Ameer Jalil ,Hamida Khuro , and Parveen Shakir was very informative .. overall program was superb!

N-S Feb 09, 2014 08:15pm

@Ghazal: Stop crying and appreciate good step!

suhail kausar Feb 09, 2014 10:04pm

I am an enthusiast follower of this festival, which I attended last year. I wished somebody may have written more details about it for followers like me living thousands miles away with deep interest to know if Pakistan can bounce back from its lowest ebb

ZAFAR J KAZMI Feb 09, 2014 10:19pm

@Anwar Khawaja:

It is a wonderful assembly of huge talent that Pakistan has so richly displayed and I am so happy and so thrilled beyond any words to see young, old and all with such diversity in style, fashion and heritage. Dawn, and every citizen of Pakistan, especially the Karachiites and all participants deserve a thunderous, standing ovation for this splendid performance. Long live Pakistan that still knows to smile and is so pluralistic at core.

Asad Feb 09, 2014 10:20pm

@Ghazal: And you are saying that because you've done loads for the poor in Pakistan I take it?....... Oh wait, you probably haven't!

At least they're doing something productive with their time albeit it only appeals to a certain segment of the society.. Time better spent than posting negative comments in my opinion.

Looks like a great event. Good to see something positive coming out of Karachi.. It's been a while!

Syed Amir Feb 10, 2014 12:04am

Mostly, the news from Karachi is depressing. However, the excellent coverage of the literary festival and especially the participation of so many women is like a breath of fresh air, raising much optimism. The sight of children laughing and enjoying the puppet show is heart warming.

The organizers deserve all compliments

Rizwan Feb 10, 2014 12:32am

It is heartening to see that such a nice event has been organized in Karachi, Pakistan. We need to arrange such event more frequently so that we can keep in touch with our culture, tradition and values. This is equally important in a time when there is continuous attack of narrow minded extremist group and people who are bent to bring in their brand of lifestyle. Congratulation and thanks to the organizer of this event for organizing this event.

Saleem Mir,MD Feb 10, 2014 12:57am

The literature festival coverage is excellent as far as photography is concerned,however there is very little written about what is read and spoken at the forums. It is a pity Urdu and other language literature did not get as much coverage but I am content to know there is a stir in the air and a trend is being set for reading real books than face books.

erudite Feb 10, 2014 01:58am

I am so happy to see Karachi Literature Festival. And the coverage by Dawn all three days was AMAZING. The reporters, photographers, editors and web editors all deserve credit for bringing us this absolutely great coverage.

Alexa Feb 10, 2014 04:12am

Why does Kamila Shamsie need to appear every year? She isnt the single face of Pakistani Literature in English, there are a dozen other good writers who deserve recognition, respect and publicity. And if you notice, she had achieved some standard of success almost a decade ago. And after that she couldn't produce anything that received much praise or success.

zeenia Feb 10, 2014 09:03am

How come there is no mention of the amazing session on Dastangoi? It was perhaps one of the best sessions of the festival.

dr obaid Feb 10, 2014 10:04am

Very healthy and good conversion

Syed A Zafar USA Feb 10, 2014 10:56am

@Ghazal: Very well said Ghazal, It is a mockery of Pakistani literature/culture which was supposed to be in Urdu and regional Pakistani languages, and it should have been organized by local literary associations/groups who do not have complexes for foreign culture/literature. But unfortunately, it is being hijacked by foreign oriented highly influential Pakistani elites of all kind who spare no chance in publicizing themselves and promoting others culture under the umbrella of their foreign masters. It is more like a showbiz, a cat walk of so called literati in the name of local literature. I do not understand why these elite participants especially ladies are so much desperate to prove their intellectualism in foreign language and appearances? Is the local literature/culture on sale and by whom? zafarsyed40@yahoo.com

Danish Feb 10, 2014 10:57am

Had a wonderful day at KLF, specially kids loved all fun-filled events. I congratulate the organizations and sponsors to organize such a great event in Karachi. Karachiites needs more such peaceful activities.

Syed A Zafar USA Feb 10, 2014 11:09am

@Anwar Khawaja: Very well said Khawaja Saheb, I wonder why our elites are so desperate to think, speak, read, write and represent our own local literature in foreign language? It is amazing, people like Intezar Hussain... come on, What are we up to? Are we that ashamed of our own culture/language that we still have to seek certification from our old masters, or is it new form colonialism? zafarsyed40@yahoo.com

Ifrah Feb 10, 2014 11:38am

I missed this awesome event :(

Miyaan Feb 10, 2014 12:19pm

Sir Zia Mohiuddin was the only reason to click on this news but after that I am impressed with the coverage. DAWN gave a complete festival to people like me who is living far away from Pakistan. Hats off

Adnan Kirmani Feb 10, 2014 01:07pm

To the people pouring cold water on this event - There are so many negative stories swirling in the media in Pakistan and beyond. This event is a ray of light so please support Literature (be it English or Urdu).

Critical that our youth doesn't lose touch with the soul by not reading and reflecting.

Napier Mole Feb 10, 2014 01:12pm

Amid all the gloom and doom around, I am often crticized for being the Rational Optimist that I claim to be. However, it is events - and coverage - like this which adds fuel to my fodder. I maintain this is the real Pakistan - one which the Talibans of the world may damage, dent and bruise but would never be able to overcome.

Riaz Pirzado Feb 10, 2014 02:15pm

I really enjoyed KLF... met with friends and listened intellectuals... enjoyed poetry with my family... children enjoyed a lot... KLF became my family festival, as most of my relatives were there :)

syeda ali Feb 10, 2014 02:42pm

I wasnt able to attend KLF this year. It was really a pleasure reading this coverage.

Farrukh Feb 10, 2014 06:08pm

excellent event ! family fun and learning together makes it a must visit place on my calendar ! Kudos to the KLF team !

majid Feb 10, 2014 06:18pm

Paracha sahab is missing.

Sajjad Ali Feb 10, 2014 09:13pm

I would like to thank Oxford press and others for organizing such an amazing Literature festival where the talks with great personalities were really refreshing. I personally attended closing ceremony and a session with Amar Jalil who is one of my favorite personality. Along with that, I had the chance to sit beside Rajmohan Gandhi the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi which is itself an honor for me. The Kathak dance and Laal band's performance made the festival unforgettable for me. So one thing I realized is that I should have also come on 1st and 2nd day but in future I won't miss this for sure :)

zafar j kazmi Feb 10, 2014 10:56pm

@Ghazal:

Thank you for saying what you have said and that brings one more yet quite an important perspective to this forum. Poor and the downtrodden which constitute the most of human lot, not just in Pakistan but through out the entire world, should never be forgotten and left behind and that part of human society should always occupy our attention. But at this moment, let's all sing and celebrate the color, the joy and the melody that have united into this lovely rainbow all across the sky over Pakistan. Pakistan needs this and a lot more like this. Congratulations Pakistan; I love you though from very far.

Azhar Salahuddin Feb 10, 2014 11:59pm

@Alexa: Kamila is an excellent writer and deserves all the recognition she gets.

EyeGuy Feb 11, 2014 12:04am

Dr. Iftikhar Salahuddin's book and presentation were the most remarkable of all. He is an ENT surgeon by profession, yet he found the time to dedicate 6 years to understanding and photographing one of the world's most complicated regions. His book is a visual delight and this presentation inspirational. Pakistan is lucky to have such a person.