Seventh LLF begins despite absence of delegates from India


–Zehra Nigah presents keynote address on life, legacy of Faiz

LAHORE: The seventh edition of Lahore Literary Festival (LFC) commenced on Friday despite the absence of guests from India as renowned poet and scriptwriter Zehra Nigah presented keynote address on the life and legacy of Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Pakistan Today learnt that the LLF administration had invited delegates from India who failed to participate in the event. While talking on the issue, Nusrat Jamil, a member of the Festival’s Board of Directors, told Pakistan Today, “Indian delegates were invited but they did not come”.

During the opening ceremony, Zehra Nigah read the poetry of Faiz. While sharing her thoughts on the life of one of the most celebrated writers of the Urdu language, she said, “Faiz was a unique kind of poet. While writing a poetry a poet and his poetry are two separate things but Faiz was the poet whose poetry and personality was never separate. He was well aware of everything around him when he was an editor, poet and even in exile.”

Former chief justice Mian Saqib Nisar shared his views during a session titled “Securing Pakistan’s Water Future”. He said, “We need to construct the dams as we are facing a water crisis. Kalabagh dam is very important and without its completion, we cannot bring the provinces on the same page. We should think about the water shortage in the region especially in Karachi. We have a beauty in our constitution that we have fundamental rights and our utmost right is the right to live. We directed the government of Pakistan to secure the fundamental rights for the people of Pakistan.”

During the session of book launches the author Alexander John Malik talked about his book “My Pakistan: The Story of a Bishop”. He revealed his experiences regarding extremists in Pakistan who communicated to him that he would not find a job in Pakistan. “Difficulties doesn’t mean to leave. I am a Pakistani and Pakistan is in me. Our forefathers worked with Jinnah for Pakistan and we should not leave our country,” he said.

Faizan Ahmed, the author of “Metro Lahore (A photographic journey along Lahore’s Metro Bus)”, said, “Metro is much more than transit and in my opinion, it is a place of joys and stories of different people in the same bus and I have taken down 10,000 stories. I started to use the Metro Bus in 2013 where I began talking the people on the bus. I also started to take the pictures of the people and sharing them social networks with their stories.”

While speaking during the session regarding “Populism and the Future of Global Democracy”, historian and political commentator Ayesha Jalal was of the view that “history is never irrelevant but it is a dialogue between past and present.”