Mardan university incident dominates debate at ILF
Islamabad’s own 5th Literature Festival kick started here on Friday at Margalla Hotel on a positive note that the festival will pave the way for dialogue and tolerance in society. Though one felt overjoyed rather quite thrilled to find noted writers and poets on the inaugural day of the Book Fair, the general mood of the event was pensive due to ruthless murder of a student a day earlier (Thursday) at the Wali Khan University of Mardan. Writers and intellectuals could be seen expressing serious concerns at the level of tolerance by our university students and no one was ready to believe how inhumanly and in cold blood manner one could kill an individual without knowing his fault.
First, it was Punjab University’s incident where Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba brutally thrashed Pakhtun students and now Mardan University, said Amir Wasim a young writer hoping the government would take action against those responsible.
The Islamabad Literature Festival is featuring a line-up of around 150 leading Pakistani and international authors, academics, journalists and artists along with exhibitions, book fair and food court. Three-day festival is being organized by Oxford University Press (OUP). While addressing the inaugural session, OUP Managing Director Ameena Saiyid said her goal was to make reading a pleasurable activity for the young and the old, men and women.
“We are aware that engaging and appealing books can entice children into the golden web of readership, promote creativity and imagination, and kindle hope for a more inspired and accomplished Pakistani generation in the future,” she said.
This year celebrities from 8 countries including Germany, France, Canada, Singapore and Italy will be participated, she said while adding that this year we are celebrating the 70 years of Pakistan in the 5th Islamabad Literature Festival, more than 150 popular poets and journalists will be participated in more than 50 sessions and programs. A G Noorani and Arfa Syedah Zehra addressed the inaugural ceremony; Iftikhar Arif, Shahid Hamid and Nafeesa Shah were also present at the session. The inaugural session was concluded by dance performances by Amna Mawaz Khan, Imran Nafees Siddiqui.
After the inaugural session on the first day ILF sessions including – Judiciary and the common man participated by Ashraf Jahangir Qazi, Afrasiab Khattak, Bushra Gohar while the session was moderated by Mujahid Barelvi; a conversation between Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro and Elisa Iori was held on heritage and social mobilization in post-conflict reality; Prison Narratives, a book of Akhtar Baloch was also launched on this occasion while renowned writer Mohammad Hanif discussed the burden of a translator for searching appropriate word. Three-day literature celebrations will continue on Saturday and Sunday as well while a number of interactive session, performances and activities featuring prominent literary personalities in different sessions and several book launches.