The 9th Islamabad Literature Festival, organized by Oxford University Press continued its second day. With a focus on sustainability, diversity, and the potential of human imagination, this literary extravaganza continued to inspire and enlighten attendees who arrived in scores from all over.
The day featured panel discussions, namely Verses in Play: Celebrating Tradition through Urdu Poetry; Pakistan’s Wars: An Alternative History; Destined to Fail Democracy and State Building Experiment in Post Taliban Afghanistan; and Other Days by Arshad Waheed.
Moderated by Yaqoob Bangash, the session saw Rahman present his main findings of his work tracing the history of wars in Pakistan, followed by a discussion on the economic implications of such events. Moeed Yusuf, while commenting on the cost of wars which is not just fiscal said, “The cost of war is that no one who has been born after 1995 has seen a peaceful day in their lives. These people are our future, and they will be weighed down by this trauma tomorrow when they come forward.”
Engaging conversations were held around some thought-provoking and extremely diverse themes including: The Dark Side of Journalism-Culture and Political Economy of Global Media in Pakistan and Afghanistan; Mahmil o Jaras: Collection of Unpublished Poems by Josh Malihabadi; Pakistani Prose and Verse Exploring Contemporary English Literature; Qaidi by Omar Shahid Hamid translated from English by Inaam Nadeem; Grieving for Pigeons Twelve Stories of Lahore by Zubair Ahmad; Shaping the Future of Learning; Ink and Empowerment: Women in Publishing; Lahore’s Lost Legacy Unveiling the Life and Contributions of Sir Ganga Ram; The Other In The Mirror: Stories from India and Pakistan edited by Sehyr Mirza; Hans Kar Jeeyo; The Lost Heritage and Dandelion Blooms: The Evolution of Islamabad.
The insightful session, The Dark Side of Journalism-Culture and Political Economy of Global Media in Pakistan and Afghanistan, moderated by Fasi Zaka highlighted the role of stringers and fixers in the last few decades in KP region. Syed Irfan Ashraf spoke about the impediments faced by Pashtun journalists while Afrasiab Khattak shed light about the importance of KP region as a periphery within a periphery. Hamid Mir also acknowledged the various issues and lamented about the coverage of many events in the post 9/11 era where the fixers risked their lives for foreign media outlets.
Moderated by Mina Malik, Ink and Empowerment: Women in Publishing, raised various issues about the journey of women publishers. Muniza Shamsi and Mehvash Amin shared their experiences with publishing, distributing works, and the role of libraries in supporting local writers.