Huge turnout as PLF concludes at Alhamra

Published February 13, 2023
White Star
White Star

LAHORE: Three-day Pakistan Literature Festival ( Feb 10-12) concluded here at Alhamra Art Center, The Mall on Sunday.

The festival was a memorable one in terms of the huge turnout as hundreds of art and literature lovers attended it. The majority of the audience consisted of youth. The last day also witnessed throngs of people and there was hardly any space to sit in the halls in the evening and extra chairs were put in the halls for speakers and delegates. In the session Anwar Maqsood Ka Pakistan, Hall-I was totally jam-packed. People were standing on the stairs as well as at the entrances. There was a long queue of car parking outside Alhamra as the parking capacity of the centre had fully exhausted.

At the festival on Sunday, lifetime achievements awards were given to classical dancer Nahid Siddiqui, poet Kishwar Naheed and architect Nayyar Ali Dada.

Anwar Maqsood’s session was a much-awaited session and when he took the stage, the audience gave him a standing ovation. He said it was unbelievable that such a huge number of the youth were participating in a literature festival. He held Karachi Arts Council’s President Ahmed Shah in high esteem for giving space to the literature of every province and held such a grand litfest. He said Ahmed Shah deserved much praise as he had been holding the Urdu Conference in Karachi for the last 15 years. He said the rich of the country were upset that the dollar rate was so high while the poor were worried that Roti had become costly. He said Iqbal was the greatest poet of this century and after him was Faiz Ahmed Faiz, in the end he recited two poems, one by Zahra Nigah’s Suna Hai Jangloon Ka Bhi Koi Dastoor Hota Hai and other by Faiz, Meri Tei Nigah Mein Jo lakh Intizar Hai.

A condolence reference was also held at the festival in memory of Amjad Islam Amjad.

Speaking at the reference, Iftikhar Arif said Amjad remained associated with writing and poetry for over 40 years which itself was of great value. “Amjad was not a sycophant. He was a committed fellow who had great creativity”.

He said the youth must read Amjad’s book, Naye Puranay Chiragh.

Kishwar Naheed said Amjad Islam Amjad was a popular poet of the 1970s. He loved his people and wrote for his people whole life.

Asghar Nadeem Syed the way Amjad had depicted village life in his landmark play Waris, it made him a superstar overnight. Irfan Javed said besides a good poet and playwright, Amjad was also a great human being.

In the festival, Iftikhar Arif’s book Sukhan-i-Iftikhar was launched where he recited some of his poetry, such as Ghubar-e-Rah Mein Teerah Shabon Ka Sathi Ho and Barwanh Khilari. The panelists, Abbas Tabish and Huma Ghaznavi, held Arif in high esteem for his diction and his own footprint in literature.

The festival’s evening was a treat for performing art lovers as there was a classical dance performance by Nahid Siddiqui. Popular singers like Sahir Ali Baga, Natasha Baig and Asim Azhar also enthralled the audience with their singing.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2023

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