LAHORE: The 10th Thaap Conference, held in collaboration with the Institute for Art and Culture, in Gulberg, concluded on Sunday after providing a platform to scholars and researchers to present their papers on the theme of ‘Citizen and the City’ for an in-depth dialogue between them and the audience.

The conference was divided into eight sessions, said a press release. The last day commenced with the seventh session, chaired by Mushtaq Soofi of the School of Culture and Language, Institute for Art and Culture.

Dr Kashif Khan presented the paper, on ‘Military Offensive and Forced Migration: Analysing the Plight of the North Waziristan IDPs’.

He said the war and operation Zarb-i-Azab in North Waziristan had destroyed the social and economic life of the tribal people.

“As internally displaced persons have faced financial crises and are not able to build their destructed structures again, hence the government should reconstruct their schools, markets and hospitals on an emergency basis,” he said.

Ghiasuddin Pir and Sahar Saqlain’s paper, ‘Confinement and Refinement: The Origins and Evolution of Confinement Spaces for the Treatment of Mentally Challenged Citizens in Lahore, Punjab,’ went through an evolutionary account of prevalent mental health disorders and associated treatments. The paper provided an overview of evolving rights and responsibilities of mentally challenged citizens through a study of the social and built environment, laws dictating the rights of the insane, historical case studies and firsthand accounts of the current members of Punjab Institute of Mental Health.

Prof Jakelin Troy’s paper, titled ‘Nalawangun We Remain: Aboriginal Citizens Shaping the Urban Dynamics of Sydney, Australia,’ presented a case for the important continuing presence of the aboriginal traditional owners of Sydney, helping to maintain and renew their language and cultural life. The eighth session was chaired by Syed Faisal Sajjad, head of Department, of Architecture, National College of Arts, Lahore. Asad Ahmed presented his paper, titled “Urban Transphobia in Cityscapes: Interrogating Lahore as a Safe Space for Transgenders’. His research aimed at raising awareness about urban transphobia and highlighting the problems faced by these individuals. Since these individuals challenge the deep-rooted binary gender forms of society, they often become the epicenter of discrimination, repression and intolerance.

Amrita Alam and Intikhab Alam’s documentary, titled “Delhi – A Home Away from Home’, was presented in a video format focusing on the refugees from Afghanistan.

Prof Dr Samra Mohsin Khan’s paper, titled ‘The Dual City: Political, Cultural and Spatial Segregation of Peshawar during the Colonial Era,’ was presented by Sofia Wanchoo Mir.

Dr Humera Naz, in her paper titled ‘Urbanism, Urbanization and Acculturation in Medieval South Asia: A Case Study of Delhi City’ said that urbanisation was not merely an increase in the proportion of urban population but was a continuing process which encompassed all factors underlying the process of economic growth and sociocultural change.

Neha Fatima, in her paper, titled “The Role of an Urban Space and Citizen” said that Lahore, once a city of gardens, was always planned and lived in a way that it provided a neighborhood living, the organic growth and winding narrow streets with squares every now and then of the Walled City was a true example of this. The chief guest for the closing session was Prof Dr Fazal Ahmed Khalid, chairman Punjab Higher Education Commission (PHEC). The Guest of Honour was Shaista Pervaiz Malik, the chairperson SAARC Chambers Women Entrepreneurs Council. The session had Aabidah Shujaat Ali giving a report on the proceedings of the conference which was followed by Prof Pervaiz Vandal’s discussion on the future plans of Thaap.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2019