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April 17, 2016

Literature festival draws large crowd

Islamabad

April 17, 2016

Islamabad

Thousands of people thronged the star-studded fourth Islamabad Literature Festival (ILF)on its second day marking huge success for a large number of interactive sessions, dialogues, performances and literary activities here at Lok Virsa on Saturday.

Residents of twin cities portrayed their unbiased love not only for literature but for the literary icons belonging to different countries of the world by visiting fourth edition of capital’s very own Islamabad Literature Festival. People anxiously listened to the speakers and asked various questions to the legendary literary figures who spoke on various topics. Islamabad literature Festival is a three day event featuring hundreds of interactive sessions, activities and performances along with exhibitions, book fair and food courts. 

On second day of ILF, a session ‘Women’s Protection: Yeh Bill Maangay More’ was presented in which Lok Virsa executive director Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Nasira Iqbal, and Jan Achakzai took part in the discussion on one of Pakistan’s most hot topics in recent days while it was moderated by Khursheed Nadeem.

Pakistan’s renowned intellectual Late Jamil Ud Din Aali was paid huge tribute by Senator Aitezaz Ahsan, Zahida Hina. Satyapal Anand, Raju Jamil, Session was moderated by Mujahid Barelvi along with recitation by Saif Mehmood. In another session moderated by Saeed Ahmed, renowned poet Kishwer Naheed and Ravish Nadim discussed the new & old Urdu Nazam poetry. On this occasion, Shahid Siddiqui’s book ‘Education Policies in Pakistan: Politics, Projections, and Practices’ was also launched and discussed by Ameena Saiyid, Shahid Siddiqui, and A. H. Nayyar.

India’s well known journalist Piyush Jha participated in a session ‘Crime and Fiction: The World of Whodunnits’ along with famous Masood Ashar.

In another session on politics, former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar discussed ‘Regional Connectivity and Stability?’ with Anatol Lieven Omar Zakhilwal, and Jean-François Cautain. Hina Rabbani Khar also took part in a conversation ‘Softening the hard country’ with Anatol Lieven. 

Well known Pakistani journalist and analyst Rashed Rahman moderated a session ‘Pen on the Pulse of the Taliban’ in which senior journalist, Nasim Zehra, former secretary foreign affairs, Riaz Mohammad Khan and Omar Zakhilwal shared their valued views with the audience.

ILF marked to celebrate an evening in the name of renowned Urdu poet Anwer Masood on second day while the legend poet won the hearts of audience by reciting his own poetry. AAWAZ presented a session on ‘Qualified Equality: Minorities in the Constitution of Pakistan’ in which  Shaqaib Lilla, Zain Mansoor, Babar Sattar, and Romana Bashir took part along with the Moderator Irfan Mufti.

A conversation ‘Urdu hai jis ka Naam: The Ebb and Flow of Modern Urdu Literature in India and Pakistan’ was also held on this occasion in which Saif Mahmood and Ali Akbar Natiq presented their viewpoints.

‘Baloch Literature and Society’ was also discussed a session a moderated by senior journalist and anchor, Mujahid Barelvi. A session ‘August 1947: The Parting of Ways’ was moderated by F.S. Aijazuddin while Ishtiaq Ahmed, Sudheendra Kulkarni, and Ilhan Niaz took part in the discussion.

‘Niklay Teri Talaash Main’ was one of the most interesting sessions of the day in which Asif Farrukhi had a very productive conversation with known Mustansar Hussain Tarar. Hameed Shahid moderated a session ‘Nayee Kahani Nayay Log’ in which Irfan Urfi, Ali Akbar Natiq, and Zafar Syed took part.

A session on liberal arts ‘What’s Liberal about the Liberal Arts?’ was also arranged on this occasion in which Framji Minwalla, Bina Shah, and Aqsa Ijaz took part along with the moderator Aliya Iqbal-Naqvi. Amineh Hoti moderated a session ‘Swat: Transition from Tribal System to State to Pakistan” featuring Sultan-i-Rome, Zubair Torwali, Ahmad Fouad, and Nazish Brohi discussing the topic.

Aroosa Kanwal’s book ‘Rethinking Identities in Contemporary Pakistani Fiction: Beyond 9/11’ was also launched on the second day of ILF while Aroosa Kanwal herself and Muneeza Shamsie discussed the book with moderator Shehryar Fazli.

Art Now on this occasion presented a session ‘City as Art, Art in the City’ Editor in Chief Fawzia Naqvi in discussion with Ambereen Karamat- White Turban, Qudsia Rahim-LBF Stefan Winkler-Goethe Institute and Natasha Jozi-artist spoke about the need for more public initiatives and spending on public art by the private sector. She referred to artist Imran Qureshi’s contribution towards the purchase of an ambulance by placing his paintings up for auction. The panel stressed upon initiatives that should be brought forward with or without government backing.

On the eve of second day, ILF hosted an amazing ‘Mushaira’ (poetry recitation) which was moderated by Najeeba Arif while some of very known poets including Kishwar Naheed, Fahmida Riaz, Ahmad Fouad, Sarwat Mohiuddin, Manzar Naqvi, Harris Khalique, Shakeel Jazib, Zahoor Ahmed, Arshad Meraj, Ravish Nadim, Saeed Ahmad, Qasim Yaqoob, Rehman Faris, Akhtar Usman, Ali Akbar Natiq, Syed Mazhar Masood, Asim Bakhshi, and Imran Aami recited their poetry in front of a huge crowd in Lok Virsa Auditorium.

Islamabad Literature Festival will conclude on Sunday after day-long interactive sessions, dialogues and performances while displaying big names of literary circles from Pakistan and abroad as well.

Seemab Rizvi a visitor coming to the literature festival said that it is an amazing venue this time because we are not only able to attend various literary and art sessions but also buy so many cultural things from here with all the traditional beauty, that are being installed here. There is so much activity for the whole family and scrumptious food available that you can have between the literary sessions.

Sarmad Khan who was visiting the book stalls to avail the discount on variety of books while talking to this scribe said that “I am happy that all the publishers are giving discount on books available here. Specially in the book stall of ‘Academy of Letters’, they are giving 50% discount which is a great blessing for us, but was surprised to see a footwear stall among all the book stalls in the festival, they should not commercialize this festival instead focus on literature only.”

Naheeda Raza owner Jharoka art Gallery said that she wants to attend many sessions specially ‘What’s Liberal about the Liberal Arts? Discussed by Framji Minwalla and Aqsa Ijaz moderated by Aliya Iqbal Naqvi. She said that Islamabad needs to do so something about the closure of private art galleries. A lot has been done to promote art in Islamabad but the closure of art galleries in residential areas has seriously affected the promotion of art in the capital. We urge the mayor to do something about it before they cease to exist. The revenues of art galleries are not much that they can be shifted to commercial areas. Schools, parlours, guest houses all are running in residential areas, why they have put restrictions on us” she said.

Islamabad literature festival is being organised by Oxford University Press while this year its being sponsored by Embassy of France, USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project, Stylo, AWAAZ, Getz Pharma, Tapal, The World Bank Group, ICAS, British High Commission, Cinepax, and ArtNow, Lok Virsa premises, and Careem.

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