6thKarachi Literature Festival continues to attract Karachiites on 2nd day

Sameer Nazir
The sixth Karachi Literature Festival on its second day, Saturday, conducted 43 sessions which included a total of 14 book launches.
Highlight of the day was the session “Shayer-e-Awam”, where renowned lawyer and politician Aitzaz Ahsan along with popular human rights activist Asma Jahangir stole the show with their open discussion on the role of army in Pakistan. The session was moderated by senior journalist Mujahid Barelvi who tried his level best to keep the focus of the discussion on famous poet Habib Jalib.
The event, taking place at the Beach Luxury Hotel began with a conversation with Najam Sethi which was moderated by Agha Ghazanfar. Speakers in the session—titled Politics and Personalities: In conversation with Najam Sethi walked the audience through the different eras in Pakistani politics. Najam Sethi narrated his personal experiences with different leaders of Pakistan through the years. Reminiscing his relations with Benazir Bhutto he explained how he saw the leader evolve through time.
Alongside, a session, including Haseena Moin, Amjad Islam Amjad, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Zaheda Hina and Neelofer Abbasi looked over the shift in the importance of books.
Addressing the participants, Zaheda Hina stressed that we as a nation have distorted history to such an extent that it no longer exists in its original form.“The government needs to play its part in bringing back history into the lives of the citizens,” she said.
Apart from conversations and debates, 14 books were launched on Saturday which among others included Where Worlds Collide: Pakistani Fiction in the New Millennium by David Waterman, Koozah: Naye Likharion ki Kaawishoun ka Intikhab compiled by Zahra Sabri, Benazir Bhutto: A multidimensional portrait by Anna Suvorova and The Emergence of Socialits Thought among North Indian Muslims (1917-1947) by Khizar Humayun.
Benazir Bhutto: A multidimensional portrait by Anna Suvorova was launched in a session conducted by Zafar Hilaly, Hussian Haroon, Syeda Abida Hussian and was moderated by Victoria Schofield. Narrating her experience of what forced her into writing a book on Benazir, the author, Anna said that despite only meeting with the leader for 10-minutes she felt that Benazir was the only leader who heard her “humanly”. “People in Russia were indifferent to Benzair’s death in 2007 and it was then that I decided that I wanted to bring her to light in my country”.
Launch of The Emergence of Socialist Thought among North Indian Muslims (1917-1947) by Khizar Humayoun was conducted in a session held by Babar Ayaz and was moderated by Nomanul Haq.
Jugnu Mohsin in her distinct style mimicked a number of politicians to a lauding audience. The journalist in her session, An Eloquent Truth: In conversation with Jugnu Mohsin, discussed her columns and her views over the political history of Pakistan.
The most welcomed session of the event, Shayer-e-Awam: Habib Jalib was enjoyed by most of the people. Renowned lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jehangir and Aitzaz Ahsan narrated their experiences with the great writer. Moderator Mujahid Barelvi recited verses from the works of the poet to a lauding audience. The session concluded with a performance by the Laal band singer Taimour.
Sessions were also held on art and cinema among which was a session titled, Can Local Cinema Travel Globally which discussed the role of internet in promoting movies cross borders.
The session moderated by Mazhar Zaidi was conducted by Sanjay Iyer, Meenu Gaur and Tisca Chopra.
In The Satirical Pen: In conversation with Mohammed Hanif, the writer spoke on the power journalists carry. “Everyone has the right to speak, but who has the mic? Journalists have more responsibility in that sense”.
He further said that what we learn about Baluchistan is that it has great resources. “Ninety percent of Pakistanis know nothing about it beyond that. In our imaginations, it is a far-off place”.
A late evening session was held by Nayantara Sahgal who stressed on the writers evolving. “Should we copy Sita as history was or should we change the image for the new audience,” she questioned.
The event on the day concluded with a Mushaira and a concert by Fuzon.

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