HU Involvement at the Annual Gwadar Book Fair 2016

Habib University faculty members Dr. Hafeez Jamali and Dr. Sahar Imdad Shah recently represented the university at the Annual Gwadar Book Fair 2016, held from the 11th to the 16th of February. Organized by the Rural Community Development Council (RCDC), the book fair was a literary and artistic festival that included poetical performances, theatrical presentations, historical presentations, and debate and dialogue on contemporary megaprojects in Balochistan.

The RCDC recognized the need for an educational fair in 2014, inspired by educational and cultural avenues like the Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) and the like. Understanding the need for a well-developed educational platform for the population of the region, the RCDC organized a book fair initially, expanding on to include panel discussions and public lectures to spread educational, historical and cultural awareness. The inspirational concept has since bought together intellectuals and like-minded people not just from the immediate vicinity, but people from neighboring areas as well.

HU faculty members Dr. Hafeez Jamali and Dr. Sahar Imdad from the Social Development & Policy (SDP) Program were invited as special guests for the Annual Gwadar Book Fair 2016. Dr. Hafeez Jamali gave a public lecture on The Role of Gwadar and Makran Coast in the Indian Ocean Trade. The audience appreciated the historiographical research which highlighted the role of Baloch and African descent people in trans-oceanic trading and military networks in the 19th century.

He also participated in a special panel discussion on Megaprojects and the Future of Makran Coast in which he was joined by former Federal Minister Mrs. Zubaida Jalal, BBC analyst Wusatullah Khan, and local political activists Dr. Aziz Baloch and Mr. Ghaffar Hoat. The panel criticized the ill-effects of megaprojects on the livelihoods of local people and urged the government to adopt a more transparent policy on megaprojects that involves the opinions of the local people, especially the fishermen of Gwadar.

Dr. Sahar Imdad and her husband and noted Sindhi poet Imdad Hussaini recited their Sindhi and Urdu verse in the Mushaira held in memory of noted Baloch poet Atta Shad. Dr. Sahar especially dedicated one of her poems to the city of Gwadar which received a standing ovation from the audience who appreciated her love of the people and the sea of Gwadar.

Being a unique and highly important part of the society in the Gwadar region, the festival and exhibition organizers sang praises of the RCDC as well, calling it an exemplary attempt at promoting regional languages and culture, something that is not as frequently highlighted in the mainstream media.

This year’s book fair had a much stronger impact, with various sessions being held simultaneously, including threatre performances by the Khair Jan Arts Academy, Gwadar and Mehrdar Arts Academy, Karachi. The celebrated Balochi novelist Muneer Badini and author Dr. Shah Mohammad Marri were also present. Professor Ramzan Bamari, Ahmed Iqbal, CEO of Vash TV, illustrious author A. R. Daad, and several other personalities attended the festival with gusto.


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