The Second International Conference on Karachi wants to dig deeper into the city’s roots and promote those researchers that are looking into its history.
The three-day conference is being held as part of the ‘I Am Karachi’ peace campaign from November 21 to November 23 at Arts Council and will be open for public. The organisers made the announcement at a news briefing at Karachi Press Club on Saturday.
“The subject [of the conference] was taken from the scientific, archaeological and historical potentials of this city,” said Kaleemullah Lashari, a member of the executive committee of the Karachi Conference Foundation. “Last year’s conference became a show window for research work on the history and heritage of Karachi.”
This year’s conference is bringing a large amount of research work from foreign researchers and explorers as well, Lashari announced, adding that the event will be bigger and more diverse than last year.
“The conference will cover some important aspects of the city, such as the early history of the city, its growing population, gender issues, demography, role of women, urbanism, citizenship conflict and intangible cultures within the city,” he listed.
Lashari recalled a paper on ‘Pathar ka dor Karachi mai [The Stone Age in Karachi]’ that was presented at the conference last year. It describes the archaeological past of Karachi which comes from the Indus Valley civilisation that has a long-lasting history spreading over 7,000 to 10,000 years, he added.
The city is relatively young but this is the region into which the small trading post expanded a rich heritage. “Karachi is a city which is a home to 10 per cent of the total population of Pakistan and 22 per cent of the urban population of Pakistan,” he said, adding that 32 per cent of the country’s industrial development belongs to Karachi.
The president of the Karachi Conference Foundation, Dr Asma Ibrahim, said that Karachi does not start from ‘Kolachi’. The heritage speaks about the history itself that is far older than Partition, she added. “We have been working on archaeology and history for the last 28 years,” she said.
Through this conference, the organisers want to unite the various ethnic groups of the city. “We are promoting the heritage of Karachi to get a solution to those issues and the problems of the city that are hidden from the people,” said Dr Ibrahim.
The recent decades of Pakistan’s history have been a time of undocumented social disturbance, unacknowledged by the dominant discussion. “The conference will bring together a discussion on the subject of history by different national and international speakers,” she added.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2014.