KARACHI: The first Adab Festival Pakistan will be held on February 1-3 at the Sindh Governor’s House. This was announced by co-organisers, Ameena Saiyid OBE and Asif Farrukhi, at the launch press conference of AdabFest 2019 at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday.
“I am delighted to announce the first Adab Festival Pakistan in Karachi to celebrate authors, writings, artists, access to knowledge, and public spaces. Hope this becomes a movement across Pakistan,” said Saiyid at the press conference.
She added that Pakistan’s historically rich and diverse literatures and cultures have long been facing challenges, resulting in stifled diversity of expression and in stereotypes that are sometimes internalised.
“At the Adab Festival Pakistan, the audience will experience literature in diverse Pakistani languages, book launches, talks, interviews, discussions, mushairah and poetry sessions, a book fair, music, dance, theater, comedy, satire and film,” said the festival founder. “Over a hundred Pakistani and international authors, intellectuals, and media personalities will be participating in the festival,” she added.
Co-founder Farrukhi expressed the hope that the festival would become a regular series of events in as many cities of the country as possible. “We want to highlight and celebrate the depth and diversity of Pakistan’s many languages and literary traditions.
Our literature and authors are the best news that is coming out of Pakistan and we want the world to be as excited about these writers as possible,” he remarked.
The AdabFest is being organised in partnership with Getz Pharma, whose Chief Executive Officer Khalid Mehmood explained their interest in the venture.
“We are a Pakistani pharma company and we strongly feel that the health of a nation depends not only on a healthy body but a healthy mind and a healthy soul,” he said.
“Without literature, art and a dialogue carried out in a democratic civil manner, the nation’s body will not have a healthy soul or a healthy mind. It is because of this that we are supporting the Adab Festival.”
The keynote speakers at the 1st AdabFest will include Dr Ishrat Husain, Arfa Zehra, Peter Oborne and Haseena Moeen.
Over 100 speakers have so far confirmed their participation at the AdabFest, including Mustansar Husain Tarrar, Iftikhar Arif, Kishwar Naheed, Mohammad Hanif, Zia Mohyeddin, Zehra Nigah, Anwar Maqsood, H M Naqvi, Harris Khalique, Fawzia Afzal-Khan, Baela Raza Jamil, Kamran Asdar Ali, Tariq Khosa, Javed Jabbar, Attiya Dawood, Hameed Haroon, Salim Raza, Nadeem Husain, Richard Heller, Ian Vaughan-Arbuckle, Nafisa Shah, Nasim Zehra, Omar Shahid Hamid, Yaqoob Bangash, Nimra Bucha, Veerta Ali Ujan and Zarrar Khuhro.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2019.
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