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KLF Day 3: From words to actions, building a sustainable World

The 15th Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) continued to captivate audiences as it entered its third and final day of striving for sustainability through literature. While the enriching discussions and cultural insights marked the day, the evening glittered with literary legends like Zehra Nigah, Iftikhar Arif, Kishwar Naheed, and Muneeza Shamsie being awarded shields for their outstanding contributions.

The day was punctuated with interesting discussions such as a panel titled In Pursuit of an Ethical State featuring Syed Kaleem Imam, Shahab Usto, Mazhar Abbas, and Huma Baqai, sharing their thoughts on how societies can endeavour towards creating ethical frameworks within their governance structures.
Pakistani literature in the English language has gained immense popularity, and the session Coming of Age: Pakistani English Language Literature, moderated by Claire Chambers, explored the evolution, significance, and contemporary trends with Muneeza Shamsie, Salman Tarek Kureshi, Maniza Naqvi, and Taha Kehar.

To discuss Karachi’s challenges, Masood Lohar moderated the session Urban Dialogues: Decoding Karachi’s Dynamics, chaired by Arif Hasan. The audience received the discussion between Murtaza Wahab, Tariq Alexander Qaiser, and Afia Salam. Murtaza emphasised the importance of open dialogues. He said, “I endorse the need for civilian participation in local administration. I invite every Karachiite to collaborate with me in whatever capacity they can for a Karachi we can all be proud of.”

Sanjay Rajoura, Mustafa Chaudhry, Murtaza Chaudry, and Faysal Chaudry engaged the audience in their session Hansna Mana Hai. To discuss the cognitive, emotional, and behavioural factors contributing to resilience, Shaha Tariq conversed with Imran Yusuf about exploring mental resilience via hypnotherapy. Another session that engaged the audience was Climate Change and Sustainability – a discussion on actions with youth and teachers.

The session By the Swaying Palms and the Mangrove Creek: Poetry in English celebrated the beauty and essence of poetry written in English. Salman Tarek Kureshi conversed with Sophia Bano, Minaa Shahzad, Zarmina Raza, Farida Faizullah, Moeen Faruqi, Moosa Gardezi, and Sanayya Saleem.

The session Film: The Power of Storytelling was moderated by Saba Karim Khan. The panellists Sanam Saeed, Faryal Mehmood, Abid Aziz Merchant, Muhib Mirzaand Bee Gul highlighted the unique ability of film to inspire, entertain, and provoke thoughts through the art of storytelling.

Mujahid Barelvi conducted the session Election 2024: Aik Naya Zawiya. It was a thought-provoking session where Justice (retd) Anwar Mansoor, Shaiq Usmani, and Shaheen Salahuddin shared their ideas and views.

Ghazi Salahuddin, Jibran Nasir, Harris Kahlique, and Afia Salam were a part of the session, Human Rights and Wrongs. Jibran Nasir said, “As Pakistanis, we need to understand that human rights go way beyond religious freedom, which is the constitution for ethical and civilised dynamics for an evolving society.”

Muhammad Azfar Ahsan engaged the panellists in a dynamic session, The Big Picture: Future of Pakistan. The discussion addressed various aspects such as economic development, political stability, social progress, technological advancements, and geopolitical dynamics. He said, “Critical dialogue and collective thinking will bring a holistic perspective on the future of Pakistan from both economic and educational angles. By embracing innovation, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, and prioritising human capital development, we can realise our vision of a prosperous and progressive Pakistan.”

Mohammad Ali said, “In envisioning ‘The Big Picture: Future of Pakistan’, energy security emerges as a cornerstone of our nation’s prosperity. Through strategic investments and sustainable policies, we are paving the way for a resilient energy landscape that powers progress and unlocks opportunities for all Pakistanis.”

Selma Dabbagh held the audience with her take on Ceasefire Forever, while Mahnaz Naveed Shah, Kamran Moin Anwar, and Qawal Najmuddin revealed The Untold Story of Classical Qawwali. Sameena Nazir’s theatrical production, Ladies Tailor, was well appreciated. Zehra Nigah and Aamir Jafarey explored the gems of Ada Jafarey’s collective works, A World of Her Own. Noorul Huda Shah, Attiya Dawood, and Mumtaz Bukhari engaged in a discussion Translations of Sindhi Classics: From Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai to Shaikh Ayaz.

The closing ceremony of the 15th KLF was an impressive lineup of thought leaders and literary giants. The organisers took this auspicious opportunity to celebrate literary legends, Zehra Nigah, Iftikhar Arif, Kishwar Naheed and Muneeza Shamsie, moreover for their support and patronage to the OUP helmed Literature Festivals since the very beginning.

Najeeba Arif, in her keynote speech, said, “It is important to note that promotion and understanding of literature is an essential part of ‘ILM’ that has been commanded in the Quran. KLF is that vibrant platform where we can immerse into Ilm in all its global contexts.”

Joseph Massad elaborated on the organisers’ efforts, “Liberalism and democracy are not separate entities but complementary ideals, together forming the bedrock of modern governance, ensuring justice, freedom, and opportunity for all.”

In their vote of thanks, Maya Inayat Ismail, Chief of Staff to the Chairman and Chairperson of Sustainability Forum, HBL, said, “As we come to the end of this literary journey, let us carry forward the spirit of curiosity, empathy, and imagination that has defined this festival. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to its success, and may we continue to celebrate the magic of words for years to come.”
Arshad Saeed Hussain, Managing Director, Oxford University Press Pakistan, expressed his gratitude to the sponsors and participants at the festival. He said, “On behalf of Oxford University Press Pakistan, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all the organisers, participants, and attendees for making this literature festival a resounding success. Your passion for literature and commitment to intellectual discourse embody the values that OUP Pakistan holds dear. Thank you, team, friends, and guests, for your unwavering support in promoting the power of education, knowledge, and storytelling. Together, we continue to shape a sustainable future through the magic encoded in literature.”
Following tradition, the evening they ended with a captivating Sufi Qawwali performance by Qawwal Najmuddin Saifuddin & Brothers, delighting the audience.

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