Monday October 03, 2022

An Unconventional Visit by director Siraj Ul Haq launched

By Our Correspondent
February 24, 2022

Famed drama writer and director Siraj Ul Haq launched his novel, ‘An Unconventional Visit’, at the Liberty Books near Boat Basin on Wednesday.

The novelist, who has been involved in direction of television plays for 20 years, hails from Hyderabad. Talking to The News at the event, he said he has been an avid reader since childhood.

“World opens to you when you read books,” he said, adding that one’s creativity and wisdom also expand with book reading. In his long career in drama direction, he said he could not get time to write a book, but when the pandemic struck, he made the best use of lockdown restrictions by deciding to write a novel.

He remarked he felt privileged to have written and published a book. Explaining the title of the book, he said ‘An Unconventional Visit’ pertained to a question in every Pakistani’s mind. He said every citizen of the country wanted an Awami (public) leader who understood their woes and who did not consider politics a method for increasing wealth.

The novel, he said, is an innocent story of a young man belonging to a rich political family of Sindh who chooses to stand with the people of his country. The young man returns to Pakistan from London as a lawyer and then has no option left but to contest an election against his will. During the election process, he realises the fact that in our country, votes are garnered from the poor but promises are made with the rich. “This annoys the young man,” Haq said, adding that the novel’s protagonist then challenges the election norms and decides to make promises with the poor.

When asked what prompts this realisation in the young man, the writer responded that when he sees schools in his own village having no students but buffaloes of the village’s feudal lord, and dysfunctional dispensaries, it rattles his conscience.

“The man thinks that they gather votes from these people, reach assemblies and then don’t do anything for them. After that he stands for his own people. This is his journey,” Haq said. The novelist remarked that when former president Gen Pervez Musharraf passed a law that allowed only graduates to contest the general elections, many feudal lords seemed to have lost their hegemony over politics but then, in order to safeguard their political dynasty, they had to make someone else from their family contest the election.

Another major character in the novel is of a British girl who comes to Pakistan and meets a Robin Hood of Sindh. “The Unconventional Visit is an answer to a question, whether we will get a real leader ever,” Haq said. The young man in the novel, he shared, is struggling for the problems of a common man.

“An Unconventional Visit spins a sizzling tale that combines the ugliness of political intrigue in rural Pakistan with the splendor of new discoveries in foreign land,” writes Taha Kehar, author of Typically Tanya.