Thursday, 2 March 2017

Karachi Literature Festival #KhiLF

Karachi Literary Festival 2017
The event that takes place only once every year, which took place on Sunday, the 12th of February 2017 in the heart of Karachi was one of the phenomenal events this particular festival has ever taken place with attracting a record breaking audience from all around the city, KLF has experienced a continuous exponential growth over the past few years from a mediocre audience of around 5,000 back in 2010. A festival based on literature, Open and free to all, its targeted audience showcased many astounding celebrities from Shabnam, Nadem, and Mustafa Qureshi to Bushra Ansary and literary legends like Mushtak Ahmad Yousafe, Aysha Jalel, Muneza Shamsi and so many other famous name in the genre this year.

Establishing itself as the biggest festival related to literature in the biggest city of Pakistan, KLF also reaffirms its importance as a premiere literary affair in Karachi’s cultural and social calendar. Around 136 Pakistani and 40 international authors and speakers from ten countries participating in this festival symbolizes the success of the festival itself.

This year, the 8th Karachi Literary Festival that took place from 10-12 February 2017, at the Beach Luxury Hotel started its opening day by a mind blowing performance by musician, Asif Sinan. Sinan, who specializes in bridging the East and the West through his musical innovation. Mustansar Hussain Tarar and Ayesha Jalal were the keynote speakers at the inauguration. Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, the jury member, announced the winner of the prize for the non-fiction book of the year. Yasmeen Khan won the award for her book, “The Raj at War”. The Getz Pharma Prize for fiction was won by Omar Shahid Hamid for the book “The Spinner’s Tale”. The Infaq Urdu literature prize went to Nasir Abbas Nayyar and Admiral Baqir gave away the prize. The first day reached its end by a captivating ‘Kathak’ performance by Shayma Saiyid.
The second day started with multiple sessions, one of them was based on bringing the Past into the Present in which Dr.Framji Minwalla and Nomanul Haq had a conversation with Ayesha Jalal. The other significant session most praised was about International and Regional Politics impacting South Asia which was being conducted by Dr. Huma Baqai and the panel for this session included many personalities like Mathew A. Cook, Zia Mian, Najmuddin Shaikh, and Asad Sayeed. The most important issue being discussed in the session was Pakistan’s strategic position in this fiasco of whether CPEC is in our favor or it’s just another attempt towards the development by our government.

The closing day of Karachi Literary Festival began with a Video competition based on the topic of making a change in Pakistan:  What Works, and what doesn’t. The winners were later announced by renowned personalities like Sarmad Khoosat and Parvez Hoodbhoy. Faisal Raza’s documentary on transgender issues won the first award. The day proceeded with a session related to “Celebrating Faiz” in which Adeel Hashmi recited a poetry of his grandfather and master poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz “Partition: Drawing Borders in Blood” based on the story of a family that was separated at the time of Partition and its aftermath and was reunited. Harbhajan Kaur also known as Shehnaz Begum whose son Rizwan was separated from her were also present at the session and were introduced to the audience. KLF17 ended this year’s festival with a remarkable dance performance by Shayma Saiyid and Suhaee Abro along with a concert by Saif Samejo and dhamaal of Sufi group.
With over 200,000 people attending KLF this year and expecting to grow even more next year was an achievement unlocked for the whole KLF team. The Managing Director of Oxford University Press and Founder/Director of Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festivals, Ameena Saiyid thanked everyone in her closing speech for contributing towards the success of this event. She particularly congratulated all the speakers and performers who set the underlying theme of the Festival. 

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