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November 17, 2019

Politics, democracy, censorship discussed on second day of Faiz festival

National

November 17, 2019

LAHORE: Thousands of people from all over the world flocked to the Alhamra Arts Centre for the second full-fledged day of the Faiz International Festival on Saturday.

Many sessions were held in Alhamra halls on the second day of the festival. People took keen interest in the session titled, “Politics of Left in Pakistan.” Addressing the session, Jalila Haidar and Farooq Tariq discussed left politics. According to them, the parties established on the politics of the left could run the country. They also highlighted the ups and down of leftist parties in the country.

In another session, “Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto: The Psychodynamics of his Rise and Fall,” Shamim Ahmad and IA Rehman spoke. The conversation was held on Bhutto’s political vision, his contribution and sacrifice for democracy and people.

A dance performance by students of Lahore Grammar School was also held. The students of LGS danced and entertained the audience with their beautiful performance.

In a session titled “Pakistan: the Way Forward,” Pakistan People’s Party leader Farahtulla Babar said the PPP had stopped the way of martial law after the 18th Amendment.

“We secured democracy,” he added. In the last 10 years, it was the first democratic transition when the PPP had handed over the power to PML-N after the general election. In this first democratic transition, the peaceful transition of power was a big step forwarded strengthening democracy in Pakistan, the PPP leader said. After that democracy was sabotaged by interference, he added. Freedom of expression was curbed. Distribution of some newspapers and TV channels were banned in some areas which is unfortunate, he said.

Andleeb Abbas, central leader of PTI, said that news items without checking their accuracy circulated on social media and the mainstream media carried them. According to her, the media is a market and huge wealth is involved to get projection.

The media is private while billion of rupees from nation’s exchequer were paid to the media for projection of individuals only.

Human development was ignored in the past, the PTI leader said, adding institutions’ development was not top priority in the past. “We need to bring reforms in National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Pakistan International Airline (PIA), Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR), etc,” she said. “We brought reforms in the health sector and doctors went on strike,” she said.

PTI central leader Asad Umar said that politics of Pakistan had changed as global politics changed. He said the issues of the common man were discussed in the parliament, unfortunately, political elites discussed their issues there.

Shafqat Amanat Ali Khan said classical music was not dying. People should come up and sponsor the artistes to encourage and support classical music, he said.

Peter Jacob, a rights activist, talked about challenges in reforms in the Christian Marriage and Divorce Act. Kalpna Devi from Sindh said pygmies did not want people to speak the truth.

In a session, “Free Journalism in the Period of Political Restriction,” Nasim Zehra questioned who was trying to control the conscience of people. Debate must go on and criticising government or state organs should not be labelled as dissent or treason voices, she said. Zehra said women were creating platforms to protest themselves. “Reham has won a liable case against her in London. Her victory is very important. We need to get united,” Naseem Zehra said.

Noted anchor Hamid Mir said Faiz Ahmed Faiz faced jail in democratic and martial law eras.

Wusat Ullah Khan said young journalists should be given due training before they joined the profession. They should focus on personal skills, he added. “Everything was clear in dictatorship where journalists or activists were kept in prison or lashed. Zia’s dictatorship was innocent, he criticised and said cruelty was a fine art in 2019. Censorship is ruthless and being practiced everywhere, he said. Picking up a person is not a problem now. Do cruelty with maturity, he added. Wajahat Masood said he was hopeful of the future of the Pakistani nation.

Legend human rights activist Asma Jahnagir was paid tribute on the occasion. The issue of climate change was also discussed. A German jazz group also performed.

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