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November 2, 2019

THAAP moot starts


November 2, 2019

LAHORE:THAAP’s 10th international conference took a successful start here Friday and will continue until tomorrow (Sunday).

The conference was organised by THAAP in collaboration with the Institute of Art and Culture. With the objective of progressing into a more evolved state of society; THAAP conferences provide a platform to people from around the world, to have a healthy discussion on the papers presented by professionals, scholars and students.

The inaugural session commenced by Prof Pervaiz Vandal’s warm welcome address to the conference delegates, guests and participants. He opened his speech from Late Rati Framroze Cooper’s demise followed by a moment of silence, who had been with the NGO from its inception and left the world last year.

The theme for the year 2019 is “Citizen and the City”. The chief guest for this year’s moot was Prof Dr Tariq Rehman who is D. Litt., Distinguished HEC Professor, and Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at a private university. The Guest of Honour was Prof Dr Mohammad Nizamuddin, former chairman, Punjab Higher Education Commission.

The keynote address was given by Ar./Plnr. Kalim A Siddiqui, Chairman of Pakistan Council of Architects and Town Planners & President of Commonwealth Association of Architects. He talked extensively about the crisis of global urban sprawl highlighting the issues of migration and incompatible by-laws in major cities of Pakistan. As a president of Commonwealth Association of Architects, he also talked extensively about sustainable development goals set under Commonwealth and brought to light the urgency to work on development of Architectural and Urban Planning profession and education to strengthen the weak built environment of cities in South Asian region.

The keynote address was followed by opening remarks by Dr Nizamuddin who talked about the need for acceptance of aging population and marginalised gender spaces.

He talked about the paradoxical situation where even living in the democratic countries, there is a need to address citizen’s rights to the cities. He highlighted some of the key issues of Pakistani society, population being one of the major issues, which will later aggravate issues of food safety, health, housing and infrastructural incompatibility.

Dr Tariq Rehman started his speech with a very personalised comment on Prof Pervaiz Vandal’s non-profit efforts for conducting academic conference that undergo a very systematic process of selection and analysis of papers. He talked about human rights, linguistic history, politics, philosophical questions as to what is a right to the city, apart from its like to art, architecture, urban development, human rights and public and social policy. In our society, rights of citizens are mostly related to power or the idea of genial line. He talked about how modern cities of Pakistan have lessened down avenues of social inclusion, leading to psychological problems in citizens by comparing human instinct with hunter gatherer societies. The problematic aspect of cities is also deeply rooted in high culture and complexity and disparity between the urbanised and the “paindoo”.

Later, Prof Shahnawaz Zaidi, a professor at IAC, recited a poem Lahore, Ramzan, Perdais & Perdaisi. Highlighting the little details of everyday life primarily in the city of Lahore by presenting it in a reminiscing essence of Urdu poet appalled and amused the audience with the finesse of oration. The first session of the conference was chaired by Prof Dr Anis Siddiqui, Dean School of Architecture, Art and Design, Humanities and Social Sciences at a private college.

Papers were presented by Dr Khataumal on “Citizens and the City: Urban Dynamics in Pakistan and the Region”.

He highlighted issues of how road and infrastructural development has disrupted the traditional village setup of Tharparkar, resulting into drought, health problems and food shortage. He emphasised how technology connected the cities but divided the inhabitants. Muhammad Waqas presented on “Negotiating Identity in Smart Urbanity: A Case Study of Lahore”.

He highlighted how the provision of smart utilities go hand in hand with making sure that the people are also made smart and critique about technology not being an instrument but a way of getting an insight about the world. Raza Naeem on “Manto’s Amritsar, Amritsar’s Manto: Saadat Hasan Manto, the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and the Trauma of a Rebel City” went on to narrate from few of Manto’s writings, the themes that show how Jalianwala Bagh’s incident is prevalent in many of Manto’s writings, including Tamasha, 1919 Ki Ek Baat, Dewana Shair and Swaraj K Liey. He went on giving a descriptive historical narrative of the turn of events that led to psychological turmoil that has been reflected quite vividly in Manto’s writings. The insightful and quite descriptive paper presentation was not only captivating, the power of prose by the presenter together with Manto’s imagery threw an insight on a writer’s experiences of rebellion, struggle and compromise that fruited in a form of powerful and artistic rendition of his short stories. A lively discussion session commenced which was followed by the inauguration of the photography exhibition on the same theme.

The second session of the conference was chaired by architect Ahmed Pervaiz Mirza of Architects Affiliation Lahore. Papers were presented by Sofia Wanchoo Mir on “Transforming Cultural Dynamics in Cities”, the research investigates how cultural and socio-economic values of the gardens can be improved with special focus to the awareness, involvement and initiative of the youth in the current generation. The Shalamar Gardens has been chosen to highlight how Lahore possesses a magnificent treasure that is facing numerous issues causing it to be a World Heritage Site in Danger.

Dr Kanwal Khalid on “The Bow Makers of Muhallah Kaman Garani” focused to explore various dimensions of one family in Lahore and the price they had to pay to survive in the field of technology. Prof Simon YinFudan presented a paper titled “China - Educated Returnees in Karachi”, the paper examined the transforming role of vast number of Pakistani students studying in China and how they make great contributions, both in economics and social terms and transform the urban landscape.

The evening ended with a film screening and a hearty musical evening. Days 2 and 3 of the conference will continue on THAAP premises on Saturday (today) and Sunday (tomorrow).