Three-day Islamabad Literature Festival ends


ISLAMABAD: The 6th Islamabad Literature Festival, a three-day event offering many intellectually stimulating literary activities, organized by Oxford University Press concluded here at a local hotel.

Literature festivals infuse new life into the intellectual wellbeing of people and provide an opportunity for exchanging constructive thoughts and ideas across the social and economic boundaries.

A large number of book lovers and culture enthusiasts visited the festival to learn more about the literary endeavours of Pakistani authors from all parts of the country and to experience the nation’s cultural heritage from close quarters.

Federal Minister of Education, Professional Training, National History and Literary Heritage Shafqat Mahmood was the chief guest at the closing ceremony.

In his remarks, the minister said that ILF has become a regular event in this city that we all look forward to with great excitement. “I must congratulate Arshad Saeed Hussain, Managing Director, Oxford University Press (Pakistan) and his entire team for organizing the festival so competently and bringing together so many men and women of letters as well as renowned exponents of Pakistani culture and the arts” he said.

The minister said that they have given to the people a sense of pride in Pakistan’s literary and cultural traditions which are second to none.

He said that this is also one of the prime agendas of our national education policy. “We are adopting all means at our disposal to keep up with technology and to bring our education system in line with technological advancements around the world, we are also fully cognizant of the need, especially of our young population, to quench their thirst for knowledge through the reading habit”, he said.

In his closing remarks, Arshad Saeed Hussain, Managing Director, Oxford University Press (Pakistan) said, “I am really privileged to have organized the 6th Islamabad Literature Festival with the help of my team”.

He said that these were three days of unparalleled inspiration and enlightenment for all of us and I am sure the people of Islamabad will savour the literary and cultural enrichment that they experienced. “It was great to see an interesting amalgamation of the different cultures of Pakistan and a blending of our aesthetic sensitivities” he added.

Arshad Saeed Hussain said that the response from the participants and visitors, whether belonging to Islamabad or elsewhere, was highly positive. “We had an amazing event with lovely audiences at all times”, he said.

Eminent scholars and writers attended the festival including Talat Masood, Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Abdul Basit, Salma Malik, Haseena Moin, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Shahnaz Sheikh, Maheen Usmani, Anwar Maqsood, Fateh Muhammad Malik,

Shayan Haqqee, Sakib Sherani, Humayun Saeed, Usman Mukhtar, Khalid Saeed Butt, Naghma Begum, Areeba Alvi, Nadeem Baig, Raju Jamil, Amin Gulgee and Niilofur Farrukh, Aasim Akhtar, Nadia Batool, Salman Asif, Nadeem Farooq Paracha, Soniah Kamal, Haroon Khalid Akhtar, Taha Kehar, Sana Munir, Ilona Yusuf, Fateh Muhammad Malik, Saima Jaffery, Yasmeen Hameed, Mujahid Barelvi, Tahmina Aziz, Nida Kirmani, Ilhan Niaz, Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Sharif Awan, Muhammad Athar Masood,

Tauseeq Haider,  Athar Tahir, Aurangzaib Khan, Harris Khalique,  Eissa Saeed, Mehvash Amin, Orooj-e- Zafar, Salman Tarek Kureshi, Ali Usman Qasmi, Harris Khalique, Ali Raza and Aliya Iqbal-Naqvi.

A “Ghazal Night” featuring the semi-classical music maestro Ustad Hamid Ali Khan was organized with support from the Tehzeeb Foundation.

The 6th Islamabad Literature Festival was a very informative and insightful event. It underlined the need for more such events to be held in other cities of the country. Karachi and Lahore already have their own annual literature festivals but other parts of the country must also receive such rich exposure.