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September 23, 2019

Two-day Lyari Literature Festival concludes

Karachi

September 23, 2019

The first-ever Lyari Literature Festival (LLF) concluded at the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University, Lyari on Sunday. During its two days, the event attracted thousands of local residents, writers, poets, intellectuals and book lovers.

A large number of families attended the festival on its last day on Sunday despite the hot weather in the city. The Mehrdar Art and Production, a Karachi-based film organisation specialising in positive socially motivated content was the event’s main organiser but a number of other literary outfits, civil society organisations, and community-based groups also collaborated in organising the festival in Lyari, a troubled neighbourhood that made the headlines for its gang warfare until the recent past.

Parveen Naz, the LLF’s project coordinator, said the festival’s main purpose was to revive the glorious past of Lyari through highlighting the contribution of its residents for Balochi poetry, fiction and culture. The festival featured cultural exhibitions, art corners, food corners, bookstalls, screening of short films, book launches, literary gatherings and panel discussions.

Prof Dr Akhtar Baloch, the vice chancellor of the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University, Lyari, said in his inaugural speech that the LLF provided a glimpse of rich culture and heritage of Lyari.

He said such events should be supported by the educational institutes. During the session, titled ‘Karachi. A concrete jungle: environment and encroachment issues’, journalist Hanif Dilmurad, political leader Usman Baloch, fisherfolk leader Saeed Baloch and activist Laila Raza spoke.

In another session titled ‘Women’s contribution to creating a peaceful society’, Sindh Commission on Status of Women head Nuzhut Shirin, activist Farhat Parveen, educationist Zaitoon Karim, social activists Nasreen Hussain and Aseela Abdullah spoke about the women’s role in peacebuilding.

Dilmurad, who also helped in organising the LLF, said it was the need of the hour to revive the human-friendly environment of Lyari, which had not only been the mother of Karachi but also was the nursery of socio-political activism.

Prominent personalities, including Pakistan Peoples Party leader Taj Haider, journalist Wusatullah Khan, rights activist I A Rehman, Asif Farrukhi, Edhi Foundation head Faisal Edhi and others participated at the festival.

The last day of the event ended with a number of cultural activities such as an Urdu Mushaira that paid rich tributes to Josh Malihabadi and musical performances by different bands.

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