LAHORE: “My Pakistan: The Story of a Bishop” by Bishop of Lahore Alexander John Malik was launched on the first day of the LLF. It is his own biography of growing up and living in Lahore.

“I was not always a bishop – I was born here and grew up here,” reads one of the excerpts of his book.

Mr Malik had gone abroad to study at McGill University but the love for his homeland pulled him back – much to the dismay of his brothers.

“When I returned, they said to me the mullahs would take over the country and I would not be able to live here properly– I would not even find a job.”

He was assistant rector at the time but he resolved to work hard in the education sector, eventually set up nine Cathedral Schools in Lahore and a total of 32 schools across Punjab. He said he became a bishop in 1980 during the martial law.

Mr Malik talked about how Gen Ziaul Haq wanted to create his own lobby by pitting the communities against one another in order to achieve his objectives.

He said though he personally had an excellent working relationship with Gen Zia, he knew that Pakistan’s Christian community was going through its worst phase, and that they could not limit and lock themselves up in their own safe domains.

Another session in the same hall was about a book, yet to be published, on photography by Faizan Ahmed. The book, titled “Metro Lahore” is a collection of photos of the people who travel by the Metro Bus every day. Ahmed spent five years in collecting around 10,000 photos and stories of people and in doing so understood the desires and fears of the man-on-the-street.

“Using my iPhone, I started (my work) by offering people my seat to make them open up to me. It was more difficult with women as many did not want to communicate or be photographed,” he said.

Ahmed’s book has not found a publisher yet and he is looking to also publish some of these pictures abroad in magazines.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2019