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February 23, 2020

Literary Festival on second day: Session on Kashmir stresses a political solution

National

February 23, 2020

LAHORE: The Lahore Literary Festival (LLF) continued at Alhamra halls, The Mall, on the second day on Saturday.

Senior journalist Arif Nizami, London-based academic, author and poet of Kashmiri origin Nitasha Kaul, Iranian-American academic and author Vali Reza Nasr, former foreign minister of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khar, PPP leaders and renowned lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan, Urdu poet and scriptwriter Zehra Nigah, founder of Salman Sufi Foundation Salman Sufi, and Pakistani author Fatima Bhutto were prominent among the panellists at different sessions.

Arif Nizami said India’s secular face had been exposed to the world after imposition of the ongoing curfew and illegal occupation of Kashmir. He said, “We are unable to do anything because of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and Hafiz Saeed. The Muslim Ummah had also done nothing so far for Kashmir and Palestine.”

Speaking at the ‘Terror in Kashmir’ session, the senior journalist said that the voice raised for Kashmir by Prime Minister Imran Khan was not sufficient.

He said Pakistan had presented its soft image before the world community lately, but a lot more was needed to be done. He said war was no solution between the two countries as both were nuclear powers. He said diplomatic efforts were needed to resolve the issue of Kashmir.

Author and poet of Kashmiri origin Nitasha Kaul said Pakistan and India could not resolve the Kashmir issue until they protect the interests of Kashmiri people. She said US President Donald Trumps’ mediation offer was useless. Deaths in Pulwama and deaths in Kashmir show that solution to the Kashmir issue was only political. The response of different counties on the Kashmir issue was conditioned with economic ties with India. Talks between India and Pakistan were needed to resolve the Kashmir issue.

Iranian-American academic and author Vali Nasr said every country had its own agenda, adding that no country should make foreign policy on false assumption.

He warned that situation would further worsen after imposition of sanctions on Iran by the USA. He said India, USA, Saudi Arabia and Iran had their own agendas and if Chabahar port is established, India would have access to Arab countries.

Former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar regretted that the Muslim Ummah was not united. She suggested that Pakistan should make better use of its geography. Before playing the role of an arbitrator/ mediator, Pakistan needs to establish its worth among the comity of nations.

Hina Khar said Pakistan should not repeat mistakes committed in the past. Pakistan should reshape its policy to protect interests of people, she added. PPP leaders and renowned lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan said Faiz Ahmed Faiz was a revolutionary poet and wanted to bring about a revolution in Pakistan. He wanted to change the class-based society through a revolution.

His poem ‘Hum Dekhen Ge’ gives message of resistance, hope and struggle against any kind of oppression. He said his poem was being sung in India as well. He used to say that women should be wise and attractive. Patriotism, resistance and love for beauty could be observed in his poetry easily.

Urdu poet and scriptwriter Zehra Nigah said the word “corruption” was echoing everywhere in the country nowadays. Mental corruption is the worst thing as it destroys nations. Salman Sufi, founder of the Salman Sufi Foundation, spoke about importance of mobility for women at a session titled 'Women on Wheels’. He said, “mobility of women has never been taken seriously. They are mostly seen sitting with men (on bikes), mobility is as essential as eating.

Fatima Bhutto talked about the impact of a global cultural exchange, using examples from Bollywood, Turkish sop and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) operation and the influence they had in countries/places you cannot imagine. Fatima Bhutto said it was nice to see the governmental bodies supporting and allowing films/TV shows portraying a positive image of the armed forces, it would be even better if equal support is given to films like Zindagi Tamasha. A large number of people attended the festival on the second day. More than 25 sessions were held on the second day of the festival and over a hundred speakers are attending 63 sittings in all three days. Executive Director Lahore Arts Council Athar Ali Khan said the interaction of young people with intellectuals from all over the world was a great activity.