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February 12, 2018

‘Young writers must raise their voices for the good of Pakistan’

Karachi

 
February 12, 2018

Urging young inspiring writers to find and confidently express their voice, two-time Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy said on Saturday that Pakistan has a bright future because its youth is coming forward in fields of art and literature.

Speaking at a session titled ‘To Write or Not to Write?’ on the second day of the Karachi Literature Festival, Sharmeen along with her co-panellists Zoha Jabbar and Mushba Said highlighted the importance of the written word in all languages.

Along with the usual KLF crowd, a large number of students attended the session which featured the launch of a book titled ‘The Arzu Anthology: Student Voices Against the Odds’ – a series of writing and poems in English, Urdu and Punjabi compiled by the students of Habib University.

Speaking about her foray into writing, Sharmeen shared that when she was a teenager, her mother encouraged her to write stories because she wanted her daughter to have a voice. “I wrote on issues which people feel uncomfortable discussing. Now I encourage young people to explore more and write about those issues in their own languages like Sindhi and Punjabi,” she said.

The award-winning documentary filmmaker said women should be given the right to raise their voices and tell their stories of injustice or discrimination they have faced. “When society allows a woman to have a voice, it opens the world to her,” she said.

Poet Zoha Jabbar said, “We have very astonishing voices inside us but these voices need to be put together.” She added that a lot of diversity exists in other languages and that Habib University is working to promote regional languages in the country.

Answering a question from the audience, Sharmeen lauded the students who had presented their writings at the session and said the country’s future looks bright because of youth excelling in literature and the arts.

She also highlighted that it was still very difficult to be a woman in Pakistan because they do not have much liberty, but she urged them to not give up hope and to raise their voice. Speaking to The News after the session, Sharmeen said women from both lower income and upper class face injustices. She added that people who bring such stories of injustice with women to the fore should be encouraged.

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