Saturday May 18, 2024

Call for stronger literary, cultural ties between Pakistan and Canada

April 23, 2024
Poets from Pakistan, Canada and the US reading out their poems in Mushaira held at the launch of the PST Canada chapter in Toronto. — Lead Pakistan website
Poets from Pakistan, Canada and the US reading out their poems in Mushaira held at the launch of the PST Canada chapter in Toronto. — Lead Pakistan website

Islamabad: Consul General (CG) of Pakistan in Toronto, Khalil Ahmed Bajwa has called for stronger literary and cultural ties between Pakistan and Canada as a large number of the expat Pakistanis live and work in the North American country and contributing to both the countries.

He was addressing as chief guest the Parveen Shakir Urdu Literature Festival organised by the Parveen Shakir Trust (PST) at a local hall in Toronto, says a press release issued here.A large number of the expat Pakistanis their families, local poets, Members of the Parliament (MPs) of Canada and fans of late Parveen Shakir turned up in large number to attend the event. Pakistan-origin Members of Parliament (MPs) of Canada Shafqat Ali, Yasir Naqvi and Iqra Khalid were guests of honour.

The festival also marked the formal launch of the PST Canada chapter and featured a number of engaging discussions and debates on stronger literary relations, promotion and projection of Urdu literature in Canada and above all paying tributes to the great literary figures and poetry sessions etc. Mr Bajwa said it was a matter of immense pleasure and privilege for him to attend the launching of the PST Canada chapter.

He called Parveen Shakir a role model and a spokesperson of Pakistan’s women, particularly young women who want to find their place in life and realize their dreams. She was indeed a great promising poet who was killed in a tragic road accident at the of 42 in 1994. It is quite reassuring to see that her memory is kept alive even 30 years after her death and the PST team deserves huge appreciation for that.

CG Bajwa said that only those nations which keep the memory of their national heroes alive attain greatness and success. MP Shafqat Ali also spoke on the occasion and congratulated the PST for hosting an event that will be remembered long.

To me, Parveen Shakir represents women empowerment as her poetry opened new pathways of possibilities for the women. After reading Parveen they were no longer scared to express their ideas openly and frankly on the subjects that were considered forbidden in society, he noted. MP Yasir Naqvi said the event provided a good platform to promote Urdu language and literature.

Iqra Khalid, MP, emphasised community building and strong linkages for better understanding. She also paid rich tributes to late poetess and congratulated the PST for opening its chapter in Canada. Earlier, the organizers of the event, PST Chairperson Parveen Qadir Agha, Vice Chairman and son of Parveen Shakir, Syed Murad Ali, lifetime member of the PST Mazharul Islam and Secretary of the PST Canada, Asad Naseer welcomed the guests.

They termed the launching of the PST Canada chapter a milestone event. Parveen Qadir Agha said, “With the formal launch, the trust becomes international and this is in continuation of the PST’s endeavors for growth and expansion.”

It will also lead to our opening such chapters in other parts of the world, she said giving the credit to the “dedicated son of Parveen Shakir” for the successful launch in Canada. She also spoke about “Aks-e-Khushbu Awards” which are given annually along with cash prizes to encourage young writers and poets.

Awards are also given for best fiction and foreign language book. Publication of books about Parveen Shakir’s poetry is also a regular feature of the trust’s activities.

In 2021, we introduced the institution of awards in the names of famous personalities which are sponsored by their families or institutions, she said. She also paid compliments to Mazharul Islam who has conceived and formulated the event in Canada.

Mazharul Islam paid rich tributes to Parveen Shakir and called her a true genius of our age. We find in her poems not only birds and butterflies, a woman’s longing and suffering but also a revolt against the stereotypes and taboos. This element distinguishes her from other women poets, he said.

Murad’s two daughters, Shanze 10 and Arya, 7 were also very much part of the PST festival and remained there till late hours. Murad expressed his gratitude to the overwhelming number of audience that had come to attend the event in memory of his mother.

He particularly mentioned PST Chairperson Parveen Qadir Agha and her selfless efforts to continue to keep the flame of his mother’s memory burning all these 27 odd years. He also read out his mother’s poem “Chehra” that was also sung by late Junaid Jamshed who was considered a great icon of music in those days, said Murad.