PESHAWAR: The five-day first women’s literature festival concluded here on Friday amid pledges to protect women’s rights.

Organised as a joint venture of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Women University (SBBWU) and Dosti Welfare Organisation (DFO) at a local hotel, the event began on Monday with the theme of “our words, our world.”

Members of literati, scholars and rights activists from across the province attended it. The participants also included students of educational institutions for girls.

Caretaker Chief Minister Mohammad Azam Khan’s wife Dr Parveen Azam Khan and Peshawar mayor Zubair Ali were also in attendance there.

Shields and commendation certificates were given away to guest speakers and members of literati.

SBBWU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Safia Ahmad said such events would continue to be held on campus to instill the spirit of contributing to society among students.

She said the province’s women had the “potential and strength” to face challenges coming in the way of their development.

The speakers shed light on women’s role in society and said more efforts would be made to ensure women’s access to quality education and healthcare and their empowerment for making decisions.

They added that literati should come forward to highlight women’s issues in their own ways.

A book fair, an art exhibition, book launches and poetry recitals were part of the event, while several workshops and sessions of authors were also arranged where women scholars and writers expressed their views and suggested pragmatic solutions to the problems of womenfolk.

DWO programme officer Irfan Khan said his organisation arranged the event to provide women of all ages from every field with an “open platform” to highlight all relevant issues and find out their plausible solutions.

Khwendy Adabi Lakhkar president and author of several books Kalsoom Zeb appreciated the SBBWU and DWO for holding the first women’s literature festival in the province and said it was encouraging to see women show up from all over the province and share their thoughts on different issues to “pave the way forward for the future.”

Women writers and intellectuals from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds spoke out their minds and hearts.

Senior Urdu writer and chief of the Karwan-i-Hawa Organisation Bushra Farrukh said the holding of the literature festival was a positive step in the right direction.

She said women of all age groups came up with “bold expression” and shared their every single issue at the forum with a clear mind.

Published in Dawn, November 11th, 2023

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