International Urdu Conference to begin tomorrow at Arts Council

Published November 30, 2022
From left to right: Iftikhar Arif, Ahmed Shah, Anwar Maqsood and Noorul Huda Shah at the press conference.
—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
From left to right: Iftikhar Arif, Ahmed Shah, Anwar Maqsood and Noorul Huda Shah at the press conference. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The 15th annual International Urdu Conference organised by the Arts Council of Pakistan will be held from Dec 1 (Thursday) to Dec 4.

The city is hosting another big literary event within a week after two-day Adab Festival, which concluded at Frere Hall on Nov 27.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, council’s president Ahmed Shah said the event had gained global recognition, so much so that it’s eagerly awaited all across the world every year.

Those Urdu loving people who live abroad plan their vacations in such a way that they don’t disturb their participation in the moot. As per the annual routine, this year too scholars, writers and poets from the United States, Europe and the EU will be sharing the stage. Renowned Indian journalist Saeed Naqvi will also be in a session.

The annual event will continue till Dec 4

He mentioned that literary stalwarts Mustansar Husain Tarar and Ataul Haq Qasmi, who were supposed to be here as well, are indisposed. He then went down memory lane when the event was held with a host of literary luminaries despite unfavourable political circumstances.

Writer Noorul Huda Shah congratulated Mr Shah because he’s able to enliven the city and draw people to literature. “All the languages of our country are national languages. The council has played a special role in bringing them together.”

Poet Iftikhar Arif said, “Dialogue must keep happening. But where, that’s the question. I’ve seen literary institutions function all over the world, and I can say with conviction that the consistency with which the Arts Council in Karachi has worked is exemplary. It is not easy to collect big names representing all languages under a single roof. Some of the languages had been pitted against each other by the vested interests. I’ve always maintained that all languages in Pakistan are our languages.

“Mr Shah has been able to bring people with conflicting ideologies closer and all of them agree that dialogue must not stop. It’s not necessary that all of them agree with each other. But there are certain things that can’t be compromised upon, such as one country, one state and its ideology. We are passing through a hard phase, which is why it is important to join hands with the Arts Council. I’ve been coming to this cultural space since 1965, but anyone can see its remarkable performance in recent years and the diversity that it has been able to put on display,” he said.

Writer Anwar Maqsood lauded the efforts put in by Mr Shah and called him a jinn. “The way people wait every year for a child to be born in their family, he waits for the Urdu Conference to take place. He has also turned the building into a giant structure with studios and a library. It’s his love of culture.”

Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2022

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