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June 22, 2021

Literati celebrate Kishwar’s birthday at NPC

Islamabad:It was an extraordinary gathering in the lawns of the National Press Club (NPC) Friday evening where all the prominent writers, poets, intellectuals and prominent social activists gathered to celebrate 81st birthday of famous poet and writer, Kishwar Nahid.

Last year Kishwar celebrated her 80th birthday alone at home in quarantine with her family, friends and well-wishers online while she was fighting a tough battle against COVID-19.The guests shared their experiences with Kishwar Nahid through their lives and everybody seem to have a lot to tell. Memories from the good old days and the bad ones of tough struggle during periods of oppression, which were, somehow, much frequent!

Late in the afternoon, it was hot, particularly under the tent, but the guests remained glued to their seats because the memories shared by the speakers were worth bearing a little discomfort.

Iftikhar Arif spoke in his feeble voice, sharing his memories from the time he had spent with Kishwar Nahid, going a long way back. Unfortunately the sound system was not good and most parts of the narratives by the speakers were inaudible for those sitting beyond the third row of audience.

But, at least, Farhatullah Babar and Tahira Abdullah spoke loud enough, out of experience obviously, and were heard pretty clearly. Farhatullah Babar shared the memories when both, he and Kishwar Nahid, were working for the Information Ministry.

“When the PPP came in power for the first time in 1988, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto directed to appoint Kishwar Nahid as the Director of Urdu Science Board in Lahore. However, she was removed from the position within hours when Benazir Bhutto’s government was dissolved in 1990,” Farhatullah Babar recalled.

Ms Tahira Abdullah, an outspoken social and human rights activist, as she eulogized the struggle and efforts Kishwar Nahid had gone through and is still continuing.

Reflecting on her 38 year of comradeship and activism with Kishwar Nahid she said that she would refuse to compartmentalize, or lebel, or reduce the multifaceted renaissance woman to just one or two hats.

Legendary ‘Bharatanatyam’ dancer, Indu Mitha recalled her meeting with Kishwar Nahid when she became the Director-General of Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and how Kishwar gave a shock to her as she told her that she was not going to offer her any job in the PNCA and how that led to a strong bond between the two in the years to come.

Other prominent personalities who spoke on the occasion included Shoaib Sultan, Dr Fauzia Saeed, Hameed Shahid, Hassan Abbas Raza read a poem for Kishwar, Qasim Bhugio, Yousaf Khushk, Chairman PAL, Mehmooda Ghazia, Nasreen Azhar and Nasir Zaidi, the famous journalist who fought for journalists rights and freedom of press in the country throughout his life despite receiving lashes during military dictator Gen. Zia’s regime.

Haris Khaleeq, the Secretary-General of the HRCP conducted the programme which was organised by Shakeel Anjum, President, National Press Club (NPC) in close collaboration of the sitting Director-General of the PNCA, Dr Fauzia Saeed.

Later in the evening a small group was invited to dinner at Kishwar Nahid’s residence to celebrate her birthday where Shakeel Jazeb, Farrukh Yar, Hameed Shahid, Ms Nasreen Azhar, Haris Khaleeq and some other guests joined.It was a lively gathering in which Shakeel Jazeb and Farrukh Yar recited their most popular poetry before enjoying a sumptuous dinner.