The Karachi Literature Festival held annually was once again the highlight of the week, having been conducted on the 5th, 6th and 7th February. Known for being an intellectual hub for scholars, literary personalities, authors, actors and celebrated individuals from varied fields, the three-day festival was a blooming success, especially for the founders, Habib University’s own Dr. Asif Farrukhi and Ameena Saiyid.
The festival included several panels, seminars and talks wherein Habib University members represented, along with student participants and volunteers who actively participated in ushering and monitoring duties.
Some of the panels held at the festival included “Writing History”, where in Dr. Nauman Naqvi sat down with Barbara Metcalf, Professor Meritus at the University of California. The School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) faculty Dr. Hafeez Jamali sat down with Ziauddin Sardar on Saturday, to touch upon the topic of “Diversity and Dissent”. Education systems in Pakistan as well as the global scenario were also talked about, in the talk moderated by Framj Minwalla called “What’s Liberal about the Liberal Arts”. Several book launches were also held during the KLF, some of which were moderated by HU faculty and renowned author Mohammad Hanif as well as Dr. Hafeez Jamali. These included the book titled “Risk” by Stephen Kopetzky, “A Princely Affair: Accession and Integration of Princely States of Pakistan, 1947-195” by Yaqoob Khan Bangash, and “Eqbal Ahmed: Critical Outsider and Witness in a Turbulent Age” by Stuart Schaar, which was moderated by Dr. Nauman Naqvi.
One of the highlights for this year’s literature festival for Habib University was the panel discussion held on Sunday, wherein HU President Wasif Rizvi was joined by the leadership of several other universities to talk about “Higher Learning or the Wholesaling of Degree”. Moderated by Mehtab S. Karim, the panel on this talk included Dr Ishrat Hussain, Talib Syed Karim and Shahnaz Wazir Ali, and was a very insightful discourse on the systems of education in place in Pakistan, along with their processes and the wider impact on society due to them. A tribute to the late author of Urdu novels Intizar Hussain was also held on Saturday as well, titled “The Story is a Vagabond”, a quote from Intizar Hussain himself from the previous year’s KLF. Moderated by Dr. Asif Farrukhi himself, the panel was an emotional, heart-felt tribute to the amazing literary figure, and was made up of all the major names in Urdu literature, including Asghar Nadeem Syed, Masood Ashar, Afzaan Ahmed, Fehmida Riaz, Zehra Nigah and Ameena Saiyid.
The Karachi Literature Festival has always been a bustling avenue of activity, brimming with lovers of literature, culture and Karachi as a whole. Held at the Beach Luxury Hotel overlooking the ocean front, the festival was a riveting success this year as well, with a very organized administration set in place. The food court as well as the book mela set up in the heart of the hotel offered a great opportunity for people to mingle, meet and greet each other, while the events provided an excellent way for fans of authors, celebrities and the like to interact with each other.