ISLAMABAD: Theatre Wallay, a volunteer group of actors and literary personalities, organised its annual event outside the National Press Club (NPC) on Saturday, but attendance remained thin as most of the citizens could not reach the venue due to the petrol crisis.
Those who managed to attend the Sham-i-Sukhan gathering recited poetry and remembered the over 150 children and teachers of the Army Public School Peshawar who were killed in a terrorist attack on December 16.
Sham-i-Sukhan is an annual function which is held in halls and auditoriums. However, this year it was organised in the open to promote the narrative of liberal society that despite the Peshawar incident the civil society and literary people were not scared of the outlawed Taliban.
Poet and columnist Harris Khalique recited poetry and got appreciation from the participants. Talking to Dawn, Mr Khalique said he did not believe that the nation was on one page after the Peshawar incident. “Though there is a consensus that action should be taken against terrorists, there is still no consensus on changing the mindsets. Moreover, there are not enough efforts on part of the state to radically change its policies,” he said. “There is also an issue of consistency but still I am not pessimist. We will continue raising our voice against the policies,” he said. “It is about converting Pakistan into a normal livable state and the civil society will continue its efforts for it,” he said.
Salman Haider, a teacher at the Fatima Jinnah Women University, added that terrorism was a multidimensional issue. “Though the government should take action against the terrorists, the society should also realise why we are not ready to show tolerance towards others,” he said.
“Difference of opinion is not unusual in all countries but violence is not allowed in the name of difference of opinion.”
Ammar Khalid, a teacher and researcher, said it was difficult to predict about the future and come up with a solution to the issue of terrorism but we should take advantage of the national consensus after the Peshawar incident.
“We have to take the issue of terrorism above ideological differences and make the country peaceful,” he said. In reply to a question, Mr Ammar said the objective to hold the Sham-i-Sukhan gathering in the open was to give a message that civil society was not scared.
Artist Fiza Hassan also recited poetry on the occasion.
Published in Dawn January 18th , 2015