LAHORE: The third edition of the Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFest is to begin from Saturday (tomorrow) at the Alhamra Arts Council, and will continue till Sunday.

As always, it will be open for all with a free entrance and will stress on focusing on a variety of issues on its discussion panels.

Scholars, thinkers, academicians and experts from across the world’s leading universities and think tanks are expected to participate.

This year, more focus is given on foreign affairs revolving around Pak-US relations with former Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar, Dr Moeed Yusuf and Ejaz Haider, and a panel on Indo-Pak relations with former Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri, Dr Moeed Yusuf from USIP, Dr Happymon Jacob and Dr Dibyesh Anand from India. Brexit will also be discussed as well as the future of the UK with journalist Miranda Husain.

Mr Shafqat Mehmood, Federal Minister of Education will inaugurate the Think Fest on Day one, followed by the first plenary talk by Dr Christophe Jaffrelot from Paris who will speak on ‘Forms of Authoritarianism’.

Local topics will be covered by a session on changes in the Punjab, from Kartarpur to South Punjab, and a panel on cinema and popular culture led by Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed from Sweden. Senior Minister and Minister for Local Government Punjab Aleem Khan and MPA Jugnu Mohsin will also lead a panel on ‘Democracy from the Grassroots.’

There will also be book launches, including Professor Cemil Aydin’s ‘The idea of the Muslim World’. Also launching her book on the Samadhi of Maharaja Ranjit Singh will be Dr Nadhra Khan from LUMS with renowned Punjab scholar Jean-Marie Lafont from France. Dr Tariq Rahman will also launch his book on Jihad in South Asia. Other talks will cover topics like Afghanistan, urban planning in Lahore, fog and the environment, nuclear non-proliferation issues, and the #Metoo phenomenon. Acclaimed British-Jamaican author Kei Miller will also speak on ‘The Lies Maps Tell.’

Over a dozen book launches, and over forty panels will feature during the two days.

Recently ThinkFest also launched for the first time in Karachi.

Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2019

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