5th Islamabad Literature Festival: 14, 15, 16 April 2017 at Hotel Margala
*The Festival reserves the right to change the programme at any time. Every effort will be made to ensure a program of equivalent standard.
Full Day events throughout the Festival: •Author signings •Book Fair •Food Court •Media Rooms
Inauguration, Margala Hall Friday, 14 April 2017
4.00 pm: Arrival of Guests
4.30 pm: Welcome Speeches by KLF, ILF Founders, Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi
4.40 pm: Speech by ILF Sponsor
4.50 pm: Keynote Speeches by Arfa Sayeda Zehra and A.G. Noorani
5:45 pm: Performances: 1) Tillana (Bharatanatyam) performed by Amna; choreography: Indu Mitha; recorded music: Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan (vocals); Ustad Ajmal Khan (pakhawaj); bol, manjeera: Indu Mitha
2) Speech by Amna Mawaz Khan regarding Mashal Khan’s murder and dramatic reading of poem written by Mashal Khan, Mai Laa pata ho gaya hoon, by Imran Nafees Siddiqui
3) Habib Jalib’s Zulm Rahe aur Amn Bhi Ho. Performers: Amna Mawaz Khan, Imran Nafees Siddiqui; vocals, guitar: Huzaifa Awan; music composition: Huzaifa, Amna; choreography: Amna.
Fri 14 Apr
Judiciary and the Common Man
The Challenges facing ordinary people in the search for justice
Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, Afrasiab Khattak, Hamid Khan, Bushra Gohar and Huma Price
Moderator: Mujahid Barelvi
Other Tongues, Other Wonders: The Burden of the Translator
Searching for the right word when it doesn’t exist
Bilal Tanweer and Hoori Noorani
Moderator: Mohammed Hanif
Heritage and Social Mobilization in a Post-conflict Reality
Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro in conversation with Elisa Iori
Book Launch. Hold Your Breath by Waqas Khwaja
Moderator: Waqas Naeem
Fri 14 Apr
Book Launch: Prison Narratives by Akhtar Baloch
Her inspirational story provides a unique insight into prison life
Sassui Palijo, Naseer Memon, Akhtar Baloch, and Nazir Leghari
Moderator: Farzana Bari
The Power of the Progressive Pen: A Tribute to Ahmed Nadeem Qasimi
Qasimi’s daughter talks about her father with panellists
Masood Ashar, Naheed Qasimi, and Asif Farrukhi
Moderator: Zia ul Hassan
The Blood-Stained Dawn of Freedom
Human rights and the Partition’s continuing legacy of violence and loss
I. A. Rehman, Ilhan Niaz, A.G. Noorani, and Anam Zakaria
Moderator: Rasul Bakhsh Rais
Saturday, 15 April 2017
Sat 15 Apr
Preparing the Citizens of Tomorrow: Are We Succeeding or Failing?
A critique of education in Pakistan
Shahnaz Wazir Ali, Nadia Naviwala, Shahid Siddiqui, and Ishrat Husain
Moderator: Fasi Zaka
Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan
A search for historic monuments and temples eroded by time
Amardeep Singh and F.S. Aijazuddin
Moderator: Reema Abbasi
Young Women Writers from Peshawar
Hira Nazir, Sidra Amin, Spougmai Ali Khattak, Tehreem Hassan, Neelum Afridi, and Ishrat Shaheen
Moderator: Faiza Hussain
Sat 15 Apr
Book Launch. How Pakistan Got Divided by Maj Gen (R) Rao Farman Ali
A fresh look at an old tragedy in the light of an eye-witness account
Shafiq Ur Rahman, Abdul Sattar, Talat Masood, and Ashraf Jehangir Qazi
Book Launch. Hayat-e-Shayr and Sur Mandal ka Raja by
Ali Akbar Natiq
Moderator: Mohammed Hanif
Where has all the Water Gone?
A debate on the water crisis in Pakistan
Nisar A. Memon, Kaiser Bengali, and Aaron Mulvany
Moderator: Rina Saeed Khan
Book Launch. The Arts and Crafts of Hunza Valley in Pakistan: Living Traditions in the Karakoram by Jurgen Wasim Frembgen
Moderator: Samar Minallah Khan
1.15 to 1.45 pm Break
Sat 15 Apr
Book Launch. Learning to Live with the Bomb: Pakistan: 1998–2016 by Naeem Salik
Can Pakistan afford to live with the risks of nuclear power?
Naeem Salik, Charles Kennedy, and Moeed Pirzada
Moderator: Ehtasham Anwar
‘Mein Tenu Phir Milangi’
Amrita Pritam: A Life in Love and Letters
A Performance by Nimra Bucha and Sarmad Khoosat
Beyond the Anglo-American Tradition: World Literature in English
A discussion on the challenges, trends, influences, and language across continents and cultures
Blaine Marchand, David Waterman,
Ilona Yusuf, and Mushtaq Bilal
Moderator: Muneeza Shamsie
Sat 15 Apr
Gender Violence, Law, and Power in Pakistan
Nafisa Shah, Sherry Rehman, and Ijaz Shafi Gilani
Moderator: Samar Minallah Khan
‘Rail Kahaani’ by Zambeel Dramatic Readings
Short stories by various authors based on railway journeys
Shama Askari, Asma Mundrawala, Saife Hasan, and Fawad Khan
Book Launch. Pakistan ki Tehzeeb o Saqafat by Kishwar Naheed
Kishwar Naheed, Masood Ashar, and Hameed Shahid
Moderator: Ashfaq Saleem Mirza
Sat 15 Apr
Book Launch. Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English by Muneeza Shamsie
A comprehensive guide to the contribution of Pakistani authors to English Literature
Navid Shahzad, Aroosa Kanwal, Muneeza Shamsie, and Waqas Khwaja
Moderator: Tariq Rahman
Mohabbat aur Dehshat Gardi: Aaj ka Urdu Adab
Themes and patterns in recent writing
Hameed Shahid, Irfan Urfi, and Ravish Nadim
Moderator: Qasim Yaqoob
Women and Excluded Groups in Political Parties and Legislative Bodies
Marvi Sirmed, Zafarullah Khan, and Bushra Gohar
Moderator: Shirin Gul
Sat 15 Apr
Living through Seasons of Fear: Iftikhar Arif
Life and poetry of a leading writer
Harris Khalique and Asif Farrukhi in conversation with Iftikhar Arif
Sufism: Legacies of Assimilation in our Times
An exploration of the philosophy and relevance of the tradition of syncretic thought
Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro, Jurgen Wasim Frembgen, and Sarwat Mohiuddin
Moderator: Reema Abbasi
Skewing the Narrative and Murdering History
Parallel Histories: A search for the truth
Qasim Aslam, Anam Zakaria, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, and Yaqoob Bangash
Moderator: Baela Raza Jamil
Sat 15 Apr
Nizamat: Shakeel Jazib
Akhtar Usman, Ali Akbar Natiq, Harris Khalique, Iftikhar Arif, Imran Aami, Kishwar Naheed, Manzar Naqvi, Nasira Zuberi, Qamar Raza Shahzad, Qasim Yaqoob, Rehman Faris, Saeed Ahmad, Saeed Shariq, Sarwat Mohiuddin, and Sarwer Javed
English Poetry. Mixed Voices: Poets from Home and Abroad
Blaine Marchand, Harris Khalique, Waqas Khwaja, Azka Khan, Orooj e Zafar, Waqas Naeem, Mehvash Amin, and Risham Amjad
Moderator: Ilona Yusuf
Sunday, 16 April 2017
Sun, 16 Apr
Book Launch. Crimson Papers: Reflections on Struggle, Suffering, and Creativity in Pakistan by Harris Khalique
Navid Shahzad, Afrasiab Khattak, Harris Khalique, and Rasul Bakhsh Rais
Moderator: Khayyam Mushir
Murder between the Covers: Crime Fiction
Two crime writers discuss their creative journey
Omar Shahid Hamid and
Moderator: Shehryar Fazli
Book Launch. Intikhab: Khalida Hussain compiled by Asif Farrukhi
Symbols, shadows, and silence define the rich, complex fiction of the renowned writer
Khalida Hussain and Asif Farrukhi
Moderator: Hameed Shahid
Book Launch. Intikhab: Masood Ashar
compiled by Asif Farrukhi
Versions of truth by the leading fiction writer
Masood Ashar and Asif Farrukhi. Moderator: Nasir Abbas Nayyar
Sun 16 Apr
Uljhay Suljhay Anwar
The face that launched a thousand laughs was not without a struggle
Anwar Maqsood, Imrana Maqsood, Hoori Noorani
Moderator: Sarmad Khoosat
Social Media: New Strategies for creativity and change
Adnan Khan Kakar, Leena Hashir, Moeed Pirzada, and Slimane Zeghidour
Moderator: Wajahat Masood
Pashto Mushaira by Young Women Writers’ Forum, Peshawar
Hira Nazir, Ishrat Shaheen, Neelum Afridi, Spougmai Ali Khattak, Tehreem Hassan, Ume-Kalsoom, Nosheen Islam, and Nazia Durrani
Moderator: Sidra Amin
1.15 pm – 1.45 pm Break
Sun 16 Apr
Kashmir: Two Sides to a Question
The future of a dispute: Is a solution possible?
Sardar Mohammad Masood Khan, A.G. Noorani, and Riaz H. Khokhar
Moderator: Harris Khalique
Dastangoi: Ismat Aapa aur Unki Kahanian
Performance from Ismat Chughtai's Kaghazi hai Pairahan and her short stories ‘Chirri ki Dukki’ and ‘Amar Bail’
Fawad Khan, Syed Meesam Naqvi, and Bakhtawar Mazhar
Book Launch. The Aleph Review-Taufiq Rafat: Defining the Pakistani Idiom
The introductory issue of the yearly literary anthology featuring a cover story on the late Pakistani poet, Taufiq Rafat.
Ilona Yusuf and Mehvash Amin
Moderator: David Waterman
Book Launch. Teesra Qadam by Nasira Zuberi
Nasira Zuberi and Hameed Shahid
Moderator: Mahboob Zafar
Sun 16 Apr
Will Technology Influence Music? A debate among musicians, producers, and music publishers
Ali Noor, Rakae Jamil, Masuma Anwar, and Akbar Yezdani
Moderator: Taimur Rahman
Riaz H. Khokhar in conversation with Sherry Rehman
Can politicians and media be on the same side?
Book Launch. The Corporate Governance Landscape of Pakistan by Sadia Khan
A historical anthology and reference book of corporate governance
Ishrat Husain, Sadia Khan, Asad Hayauddin, and Neil Buhne. Moderator: Rahat Kaunain Hassan
Sun 16 Apr
70 Years of Pakistan: A Reflection on Pakistan’s History
Sayeed Hasan Khan and Ishrat Husain
Moderator: Arfa Sayeda Zehra
One-Man Mushaira by Syed Nusrat Ali
Syed Nusrat Ali recites poets from the 60s, 70s, and 80s in their own voices
The Big Karachi Novel: Sneak Preview of The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack by H.M. Naqvi
Readings and a conversation
Moderator: Fasi Zaka
Sun 16 Apr
Small Screen Intimacy and
Big Screen Splendour
Samina Ahmed, Rehan Sheikh, and Sultana Siddiqui.
Moderator: Nimra Bucha
Zara Hut Kay
Zarrar Khuhro, Wusatullah Khan, and Mubashir Zaidi
Moderator: Harris Khalique
Book Launch. Kalaam e Aarifaan: Poetry of Mystics and Sufis compiled by Hasan Aziz
Hasan Aziz. Moderator: Sarwat Mohiuddin
Book Launch. Uss ko Ik Shakhs Samajhna tou Munasib hi Nahin by Nasir Abbas Nayyar
Critical perspective on a major modernist poet, Meeraji
Nasir Abbas Nayyar. Moderator: Asif Farrukhi
Closing Ceremony, Margala Hall, Sunday 16 April 2017, 6.45 pm to 9.00 pm
Speeches by KLF-ILF Founders, Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi
Keynote Speeches by Iftikhar Arif, Nafisa Shah, and Omar Shahid Hamid
Allama Iqbal’s Shikwa Jawab-e-Shikwa: Recitation by Sohail Malik on music composition by Emad Rahman with vocalist Afsheen Hayat
Classical Kathak by Shayma Saiyid. Recorded music composed / directed by Joy Prakash Medhi, bol by Marami Medhi, choreography by Meghranjani Medhi
About the Islamabad Literature Festival
The Karachi Literature Festival (KLF) was launched in March 2010. Inspired by the success of the first two KLFs (2010 and 2011), the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) launched at the end of 2011. The momentum begun in Pakistan with the KLF led also to the Islamabad Literature Festival (ILF, launched in 2013), the Teachers' Literature Festival (TLF, launched in 2014), and many others. This momentum reflects the depth of Pakistan's literary and cultural roots, and the desire and energy here to celebrate the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and creativity. This year in celebration of Pakistan's 70th birthday the KLF will also be held in London in partnership with Bloombsbury Pakistan on 20 May at the Southbank Centre, in collaboration with the Alchemy Festival.
The ILF and KLF are directed by Ameena Saiyid, founded by Ameena Saiyid and Asif Farrukhi, and produced by Oxford University Press. The KLF, ILF, CLF and TLF are open to all and free. The first of a kind in Pakistan, the ILF and KLF bring together and celebrate authors writing in diverse languages, genres, and traditions. They feature talks, discussions, mushairas, book fairs, book launches, readings, signings, comedy, satire, theatre, and music. They are open to all and free, and bring together authors writing in diverse languages and genres. They feature debates, discussions, talks, English and Urdu mushaira, a book fair, book launches, readings, signings, satire, theatre, film screenings, music, dance and art programming. From 2010 until 2015 they featured parallel children's programming such as storytelling, puppetry, painting, singing, and creative movement.
This year, the ILF will feature 48 sessions and 148 speakers/participants.
Each year, the speakers/participants at the Islamabad Literature Festival have been outstanding, including, but not limited to, these keynote speakers; Intizar Husain, Kamila Shamsie, and Zia Mohyeddin (2013); Aamer Hussein, Kishwar Naheed, Muneeza Shamsie, and Zehra Nigah (ILF 2014); Anatol Lieven, Ataul Haq Qasmi, Paul Harding, and Zehra Nigah (ILF 2015); and Hina Rabbani Khar, Masood Ashar, Amjad Islam Amjad, and Christophe Jaffrelot (ILF 2016). This year’s keynote speakers are A.G. Noorani, Omar Shahid Hamid, Arfa Sayeda Zehra, Iftikhar Arif, and Nafisa Shah. See you at Hotel Margala on 14, 15, and 16 April 2017. Entry to the ILF is always free and there’s never any need to register in advance: for special privileges, register as a delegate.
Participants (in alphabetical order)
A.G. Noorani is an Indian lawyer, author, and columnist specialising in constitutional law and history. He writes regularly for Frontline, Chennai, India, and for Dawn, Karachi. He has authored several books including Jinnah and Tilak, Indo-China Boundary Dispute, Constitutional Questions and Citizens' Rights, The Trial of Bhagat Singh, and Indian Political Trials. The Destruction of Hyderabad was published in 2013 in India. His book The Kashmir Dispute was published by Oxford University Press in 2014.
Dr Aaron Mulvany is currently Assistant Professor at Habib University in Karachi. He earned his PhD. in South Asian Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. His work revolves around issues of water and disaster and, more recently, education policy. His eclectic interests cut across multiple disciplines, from anthropology and history to folklore and music, and he has taught at every level from primary school to university. In his research, Dr Mulvany examines genealogies of natural disaster response, particularly in the former French territories of India, and explores the ways in which memories of flood and loss are narrated by various public and private stakeholders. He once fancied himself a musician, playing nearly twenty different instruments. He has recently started learning the Baluchi banjo.
During a thirty-nine year diplomatic career, Abdul Sattar served as Foreign Secretary and twice as Pakistan’s ambassador to India. He was inducted as Foreign Minister in the interim cabinet in 1993, and again from 1999–2002. Sattar published an article on the Shimla Agreement in Pakistani and Indian academic magazines, a research paper on reducing nuclear dangers in South Asia in The Nonproliferation Review, and a number of articles on international affairs in Pakistani and foreign journals. From 2005 to 2009, he was the foreign affairs editor and a regular columnist for the Pakistan Observer
IT professional Adnan Khan Kakar is Co-Editor of a popular blogging website HumSub. A proponent of satire and humour, he is a centre-left writer and believer in liberal values. Born and raised in Lahore, he studied in Cyprus
Afrasiab Khattak is a politician and human rights activist. Born in a small village near Kohat where he received his early education, later graduating from Peshawar University. He was an active participant student politics and was an underground member of the banned Communist Party of Pakistan. He joined the National Awami Party (now succeeded by the Awami National Party) in 1980. Khattak spent many years in self-exile in Afghanistan during the Zia ul-Haq dictatorship.
Khattak is presently President of the Awami National Party's central secretariat. Formerly a Member of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Assembly, he is presently a Senator and Chairman of the Senate Functional Committee on Human Rights. He has been President of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) since 2002.
Dr Akbar Yezdani is the Chief Executive Officer of Dot Connexions (Pvt.) Ltd. Dot Connexions is involved in the areas of content productions that includes television drama serials, music productions, feature films marketing, and sales, music distribution onto major platforms that include Saavn, Hungama, Gaana, Patari, Deezer, and many other platforms. He has also been Chief Operating Officer, Digital Media Assets of Geo Television Network. Dr Yezdani was also former Chief Operating Officer of Fire Records.
Born in Hyderabad, Sindh, on 16 December 1952, Akhtar Baloch became a political activist while she was still a student. She has been a part of important political and social movements such as the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD). She also represented Pakistan at the 1986 International Women’s Conference in Moscow, in which women leaders from all over the world participated. Baloch continues to raise her voice for the defence of democratic values and has written on social issues affecting indigenous people in the national press for the last thirty years. She has also taught political science at college and university levels.
Ali Akbar Natiq is an Urdu poet, novelist, and short story writer. Born in Okara, Punjab, he began his literary career with the publication of a volume of poetry Be-yaqeen Bastion Mein, followed by his first collection of short stories, Qaim Deen, published by Oxford University Press. The English translation of Qaim Deen titled What will you Give for this Beauty? has been published by Penguin, India. He has also written another volume of poetry Yaqoot kay Warq. The English translation of his short story ‘Memar ke Haath’ (‘A Mason’s Hand’) has been published in Granta. His first novel Nau Lakhi Kothi was published in 2014 followed by its English translation. Ali Akbar Natiq has also translated his works into Hindi for publication by Penguin, India. A new volume of poetry, Surmandal ka Raja, has recently been published. Natiq presently teaches creative writing, screen writing, reading classics, Urdu fiction and poetry at the university of Punjab, Lahore.
Lahore-based Ali Noor is founding member, lead singer, and one half of Pakistan’s pioneering pop-rock duo Noori. Originally trained as a lawyer, music was very much part of Ali Noor’s heritage. He and his brother Ali Hamza, the other half of Noori, are the sons of classical musician Noor Zehra Kazim and grandsons of musicologist Raza Kazim. The band Noori is considered one of the pioneering forces behind what is dubbed as the ’21st Century Pop Revolution of Pakistan’. Their critically acclaimed debut album Suno ke Main Hun Jawan (2003) was a Pakistani record breaker. The band put out their second album, Peeli Patti aur Raja Jani ki Gol Dunya, in 2005. They have performed over 400 concerts, self-produced 10 music videos, and won 3 major music awards.
Singapore-based Amardeep Singh is a corporate executive and author. Educated at the Doon School, India, he pursued Electronics Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology and a Master's in Business Administration at the University of Chicago.
He spent 25 years in the corporate sector and was the Head of Revenue Management for the Asia Pacific region at American Express. Simultaneously he has passionately maintained pursuits in the literary and creative arts as another facet of his personality.
A deep-rooted desire to connect with the land of his ancestors propelled him to visit Muzaffarabad and Abbotabad in Pakistan in 2014, to touch the soil of his parental cities. With the help of new-found acquaintances across the country, he was able to also delve into the vestiges of the Sikh community.
His resulting book, Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan, provides a strong impetus to those in search of the bygone era.
Ameena Saiyid OBE is the Managing Director of Oxford University Press Pakistan, founder and director of the Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festivals, and co-founder of both the Children’s and the Teachers’ Literature Festivals. She is the first Pakistani woman to be: appointed head of a multinational in Pakistan; awarded the OBE by the Queen of England; and elected President of the 150-year-old Overseas Investors’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The OBE recognized her services to women’s rights, education, intellectual property rights, and Anglo-Pakistan relations. The government of France awarded her a Knighthood (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) for her contribution to Arts and Literature.
Amna Mawaz Khan started her training in dance from the age of 11 under Pakistan's oldest living dance exponent Indu Mitha. Amna completed her Arangetram in 2013 and now teaches dance at PNCA Islamabad. She has performed and given workshops in Islamabad, Lahore, London, New Delhi, Chengdu, Oxford, and San Francisco. Amna is also a progressive activist. In November 2015, she ran for the position of vice chairperson in the local body elections of Islamabad, being the first Pakistani dancer to do so. Amna, with her fellow art-ivists began a collective called Laal Hartaal, that aims to bring sociology political art to the public sphere. Amna will perform the following dances:
1) Zulm Rahe aur Amn Bhi Ho (let oppression prevail while peace is maintained)
This experimental piece is a tribute to the people's poet, Habib Jalib. Performers: Amna and Imran Nafees Siddiqui. Choreography: Amna. Vocals, guitar: Huzaifa Awan. Music composition: Huzaifa and Amna.
2) Tillana (a traditional crescendo in a Bharatanatyam recital)
Choreography: Indu Mitha. Music: Set to Chautal ki Sawari (11 beats) and sung in Raag Multani by Ustad Nazakat Ali Khan, pakhawaj by Ustad Ajmal Khan with bol & manjeera by Indu Mitha.
Anam Zakaria is an author, development professional, and educationist with a special interest in oral histories, identity politics and conflict narratives. Her first book, Footprints of Partition: Narratives of Four Generations of Pakistanis and Indians, explores the shifting inter-generational perceptions of the 1947 Partition and won the KLF-German Peace Prize 2017. Her second book investigates the impact of the Kashmir conflict in Pakistan Administered Kashmir and will be released by HarperCollins in 2017.
Anwar Maqsood Hameedi, commonly known as Anwar Maqsood, is a well known entertainment personality. Based in Karachi, he is a TV scriptwriter, a television host, satirist, humorist, and occasional actor. Born in 1935 at Aurangabad in Hyderabad State (now in India), Maqsood was educated in Aurangabad.
Associated for many years with Pakistan Television Corporation, Maqsood served as presenter for a variety of shows, including Studio Dhai, Studio Ponay Teen, and Show Sha, among numerous others. As a writer, he has written scripts for several television series and plays, including Fifty Fifty, Show Time, Aangan Terha, Fanooni Latifey, Talaash, Aisa Bhi Hota Hai, Sitara aur Mehrunnisa, and Nadan Nadia. For the stage, he has authored the plays Pawney 14 August, Sawa 14 August, Anwar Maqsood ka Dharna, and Siachen.
Maqsood belongs to a famously talented family. Scriptwriter Fatima Surayya Bajia is his sister, as is poet Zehra Nigah. His wife, Imrana Maqsood, is a novelist and his son, Bilal Maqsood a musician and lead guitarist of the rock band Strings.
He is a recipient of the Hilal-e-Imtiaz award.
An eminent scholar, literary critic, analyst, educationist, culture expert, gender specialist, human rights activist, and social nationalist, Dr Arfa Syeda Zehra has gained a prominent position in society due to her exemplary work in these areas. Her achievements are attributed to her skills to articulate her intellect powered by knowledge and insight.
Educated in Pakistan and US in Urdu and History, she takes pride in being a humble student of life and a sense of honour in her roots that lie in the great tradition and glorious history of the sub-continent. Among her many achievements, her role as chairperson NCSW, her contribution to promotion of the arts, especially literature, and opening the minds to the possibilities of life are most cherished to her.
Asad Hayauddin is the Additional Secretary of Trade Diplomacy. He did his Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, USA.
Aroosa Kanwal is Assistant Professor in English Literature at International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan. She received her PhD from Lancaster University, UK. Her book Rethinking Identities in Contemporary Pakistani Fiction: Beyond 9/11 (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015) was awarded the KLF-Coca-Cola award for the best non-fiction book of the year 2015 written in English by a writer of Pakistani origin. She teaches Global Muslim Narratives, Modern Drama, Postcolonial Literatures, Pakistani Literature in English, Modern Poetry, Modern Fiction, Comparative Literatures, Contemporary Short Fiction, Literary Criticism, and Literary Theory. Her current research interests include post-9/11 constructions of Muslims and Islam in relation to Islamophobic discourse, politics of representation, and questions of migration, borders, identity, and resistance in contemporary Pakistani Anglophone fiction. Her chapters on these connections can be found in Claire Chambers and Caroline Herbert, Eds., Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora (Routledge, 2014) and Daniel Meyer-Dinkgräfe, ed., Consciousness, Theatre, Literature and the Arts (UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012).
Ashfaq Saleem Mirza is a columnist, writer, poet, philosophical, with an objective eye and a flair for writing. His first monograph was on Qawwali written in 1970s and was received with enthusiasm by readers of Sufi inclinations. Since then, he has remained an avid follower of literary classics as well as a keen observer of social developments across cultures. Mirza has been able to blend poetry with philosophy with relative ease.
Former senior diplomat and retired Foreign Service professional, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi hails from Balochistan province. He joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in 1965. Amongst his various assignments, Qazi has been Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India and has served as Ambassador to the USA, China, Russia, then-East Germany, and Syria. While at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Islamabad, he has served as director of East Asia (1975–1978), director-general for Policy Planning and Afghanistan (1982–1986), and Additional Foreign Secretary for Policy Planning, Afghanistan, Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (1988–1990).
In 2004, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon appointed Qazi as Special Representative of the Secretary-General in charge of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq. In 2007, he became Special UN Representative in Sudan. From 2011 until recently, he held the position of Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad.
A founder member of the Karachi Literature Festival, Asif Farrukhi is an author, critic, translator and man of letters. Seven collections of his short fiction and two collections of his critical essays have been published. He has also published translations of prose and poetry from contemporary writers and two drama adaptations have been staged. He is the editor of the literary journal Duniyazad and a new series of selections from major Urdu short stories, being published by Oxford University Press.
He has written a book-length study of the life and works of Intizar Husain. For his distinguished work, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1997 and the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan. He is associated with the Habib University as Director of the Arzu Centre for Vernacular Languages and Humanities.
Asma Mundrawala is a visual artist and theatre practitioner with a PhD from the University of Sussex UK. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Fine Art at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. With a background in the arts and education, she has been represented in several national and international exhibitions. Asma has been associated with theatre since 1997 and has performed in productions for the Karachi based theatre group Tehrik e Niswan and more recently, for the NAPA Repertory Theatre. Asma is the director and sound designer for Zambeel Dramatic Readings and the director for its online platform Zambeelnaama.
Azka Khan is an English language poet, based in Islamabad. With an MA in English Linguistics and Literature from the National University of Modern Languages, she currently works as Head of Professional Development and Literacy Coordinator at Edopia, Pakistan’s first democratic school. In 2014, she participated in a 10-week poetry writing workshop organized by Desi Writers’ Lounge last year, where participants had the privilege of being mentored by English language poets like Ilona Yusuf. Zakia Rubub Khwaja, and Noorulain Noor. Since then she has worked fellow poets in Islamabad to create platforms for young poets in the city. She has organized an inter-school Poetry Slam at Oxford University Press, Islamabad, as part of this initiative, moderates the monthly DWL Poetry Baithak, and is a co-organizer of the DWL poetry and prose open-mic events in Islamabad. She has read out her work at various literary forums including the ILF. She also conducts poetry and creative writing workshops for children.
Bakhtawar Mazhar is a passionate and experienced theatre actress with a masters degree in Marketing Communications from London and a three-year acting diploma from NAPA. She has acted in several productions with renowned theatre directors like Zia Moheyuddin, Gregory Thomas, Rahat Kazmi, Khalid Ahmed, Zain Ahmed, Fawad Khan and Shahid Shafaat. Some of her memorable plays are Chekhov's Seagull, Asif Farrukhi's Sultan ka Faisla, Intezaar Husain's Khawabon ke Musafir, Vijay Tendulkar's Khamosh Yeh Adalat Hey, Shoaib Hashmi's Raagni (Death and the Maiden), Fawad Khan's Chup, Bee Gul's Marne Se Pehle Janat and Shakespeare's A Winter's Tale.
Baela Raza Jamil, CEO of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA): Centre for Education and Consciousness, is a public policy specialist. She leads the citizen-led assessment and accountability initiative, the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan, and is the founder of the Children’s and Teachers’ Literature Festivals in Pakistan. Baela has worked with provincial and federal governments as a technical advisor in education sector reforms, public private partnerships, innovation, and financing. She is presently engaged as a Commissioner to the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (Education Commission). Baela is a member of several advisory boards viz., Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, UNESCO; Learning Outcomes Advisory Board, UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS); Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC Ed); UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP); and People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL Network). She is the managing trustee of the Sanjan Nagar Public Education and Trust and national coalitions on education and child rights.
Bilal Tanweer is the author of the novel The Scatter Here is Too Great which won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and The Chautauqua Prize. He is also the translator of Love in Chakiwara and Other Misadventures by Muhammad Khalid Akhtar (Picador India) and The House of Fear by Ibn-e Safi (Random House India). He teaches in the English programme at LUMS, Lahore.
Canadian poet and author Blaine Marchand has published poetry, non-fiction and a novel. A longtime programme manager with the Canadian International Development Agency, some of his writing has been inspired by his international travels with the organization.
Among his several prizes are 2nd Prize in the 1990 National Poetry Contest and the Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry for his book, A Garden Enclosed. Two futher collections, Aperture and The Craving of Knives, were both short-listed for the Archibald Lampman Award. He was President of the League of Canadian Poets from 1991–93 as well as active in the League in several capacities. A co-founder of the Ottawa Independent Writers, the Ottawa Valley Book Festival, and the Canadian Review, he is a regular columnist for Ottawa's LGBT newspaper Capital Xtra!.
Subsequent to being posted to the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad, he co-edited with Pakistani poet and artist, Ilona Yusuf, a special edition of Vallum magazine, which featured Pakistani poets writing in English. He has since published My Head, Filled with Pakistan and is working on a full-length collection, Where You Dwell, and a collection of short stories, Nomads.
Bushra Gohar is a politician committed to Peace, Democracy, Secularism, and Human Rights. She is a Human Rights and Development activist serving as Central Vice President of the Awami National Party (ANP). She was a Member of the National Assembly between 2008 and 2013. She chaired the Parliamentary Committee for appointing chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW), Pakistan. She was elected chair of the National Assembly's Standing Committee on Women's Development, member of the National Assembly's Standing Committees on Interior, Finance, and Kashmir Affairs, and member of the National Assembly's special committee on Millennium Development Goals and Energy Sector. Ms. Gohar was also a member of the Women's Parliamentary Caucus' working council, and of the NCSW as representative of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Born in Swabi to a Pakhtun family, Ms Gohar studied BSc at the University of Peshawar and was awarded a scholarship to study in the USA, where she received her MSc from Wilmington University in 1991 and was enrolled in the postgraduate at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked on human rights and development concerns nationally and internationally. She has served on a number of national, regional, and global boards.
Professor Charles H. Kennedy has written about South Asian political and governmental systems since 1975 and has conducted extensive field research in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and India. He served as the Director of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies from 1988-2001; and was the institute’s Secretary from 1982-1988. He has written or edited numerous books and other scholarly publications, which deal with South Asia. His most recent include: Government and Politics in South Asia (Westview Press, 2009), Pakistan: 2005 (Oxford University Press, 2006), and Pakistan at the Millennium (Oxford University Press, 2003).
Professor Kennedy also has a long-standing teaching and professional interest in the issues of political Islam, and in US foreign policy with respect to the Middle East and South Asia especially pertaining to Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Iraq. His current research interests focus on: military regimes and constitutionalism in Pakistan and Bangladesh and Pakistani domestic politics. He has served as the Coordinator of WFU’s Middle East and South Asia Interdisciplinary Program since its founding in 2005.
David Waterman is Professor at the University of La Rochelle, France, where he is Associate Director of the PhD program in the Humanities, and a member of the research team CRHIA (Center for Research in International and Atlantic History). His previous publications include Disordered Bodies and Disrupted Borders: Representations of Resistance in Modern British Literature (University Press of America, 1999), Le miroir de la société: la violence institutionnelle chez Anthony Burgess, Doris Lessing et Pat Barker (Longo Editore Ravenna, 2003), Identity in Doris Lessing’s Space Fiction (Cambria Press, 2006), Pat Barker and the Mediation of Social Reality (Cambria Press, 2009), and Where Worlds Collide: Pakistani Fiction in the New Millennium, Shamsie (Oxford University Press, 2015). David Waterman is currently working on Pakistani history, culture, and literature in English, and has served on the editorial team of Pakistaniaat.
Elisa Iori is a PhD candidate in Cultural Heritage Studies at the University of Bologna (Italy) and has a Masters degree in Archaeology from the Sapienza University of Rome. Dr. Luca Maria Olivieri, Director of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan, is one of her PhD advisors. She has been doing fieldwork in Swat off and on since 2015, and documenting the Early Historic ceramic material at the archaeological site of Barikot, Swat (Pakistan). She has also been working on the ISMEO Italian Archaeological Mission in Pakistan’s Archaeology Community Tourism (ACT) Field School Project. Her research has been published in two scholarly journals, Frontier Archaeology, 7 (2016) and Pakistan Heritage, 7 (2015).
Emad Rahman has pursued music all his life, and over the years, has created and been part of countless projects and collaborations respectively, with his country’s topmost musicians and acts. Since the 90s, he has been fully involved in the active and dynamic pop/rock/band scene in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, U.S.A., Canada, and Italy as a music producer, composer, vocalist, saxophonist, and sound engineer. - See more at: http://www.geomusic.pk/artist-62-KAYA#sthash.pJQvQBRO.dpuf
Ehtasham Anwar is a civil servant belonging to Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS). He has served in important capacities such as Assistant Commissioner (Islamabad), Additional Deputy Commissioner (Islamabad), Additional Home Secretary (Punjab) and Deputy Commissioner (Bahawalpur).
He has a rich academic background, and in addition to being a medical graduate, is also a Barrister-at-Law from the United Kingdom and a member of prestigious Lincoln's Inn. Prior to that, he had done Master's in History, and LLB from Pakistan. He has also done his Fellowship in Law and Human Rights from the University of Minnesota, USA, as a Fulbright/Hubert Humphrey Fellow.
Ehtasham Anwar has a keen interest in literature and was instrumental in holding a 2-day Children Literature Festival, in association with Oxford University Press Pakistan and Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, first time in the history of Bahawalpur when he was posted there as head of the district administration not too long ago. Himself a freelance columnist, he has contributed a number of articles to all leading English dailies of Pakistan mainly on the topics related to law and governance.
Fakir Syed Aijazuddin, OBE, is an internationally recognized art historian, writer, and educationist. He has served in various senior managerial positions in both the private and public sectors in Pakistan and in Abu Dhabi (UAE).
He held several positions in academic institutions and was Minister for Culture, Tourism and Environment in the Interim Punjab Cabinet of 2007–08, Chairman of the Lahore Arts Council, and a board member and then Chairman, Executive Committee of the Lahore Museum. He was also an International Councillor of the Asia Society (New York) and the Country Representative for Asia House, London. Since 1994, he has been serving as Honorary British Consul for the United Kingdom at Lahore, for which he was awarded the OBE in 1997.
A regular feature writer for Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English daily, he has also published numerous books on the history of art, politics, diplomacy, cartography, and Pak-China relations.
Faiza Hussain holds a Master’s degree in English Literature and Linguistics from the University of Peshawar. She served as President of the Peshawar Chapter of the Young Women Writers’ Forum in its formative phase in 2013–14. During her tenure as President, she organized writing competitions and other events, which aimed at a restoration of literary activities amongst young girls of the area. Under the guidance of Bushra Iqbal Malik, a three-day workshop for creative writing was organized aimed at promoting local languages, including Pashto and Hindko. Her interest in words led her to work on her PhD dissertation about religious education of women at University of Erfurt, Germany. In this project, besides other work, she investigates the word choices for describing women in the Pakistani context.
Farzana Bari is a respected human rights activist and university professor at the Quaid-i-Azam University. Dr Bari's impressive career include her appointments as Director, Manager, Women's Rights Activist, and Head of the Gender Studies Department at QAU.
Dr Bari is an authority on women's rights and has been actively involved in raising awareness about crimes against women, particularly concerning honour killings and the excesses of the Hudood Ordinance. Dr Bari's expertise and experience highlight the role of gender in Pakistani leadership.
Fasi Zaka is a Pakistani television host, columnist, and political commentator. He is co-host of the political commentary programme Do Raaye on Dawn News and host of The Fasi Zaka Show on Radio1 FM91.
Born in Charsadda and raised in Peshawar, Zaka attended Somerville College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. He rose to prominence for as a satirist when he hosted News, Views and Confused on Aaj TV. After featuring as a columnist for The News and various other papers, Zaka began the The Fasi Zaka Show on Radio1 FM91, which became one of the highest-rated radio shows in the country. He returned to television a decade later as co-host of Do Raaye on Dawn News in 2017.
Zaka was declared a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012.
Fawad Khan is a theatre practitioner with an interest in acting, writing and direction for stage. He graduated from the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in 2008, with a major in Direction for stage. Some of his significant performances include the roles he played in Waiting for Godot (directed by Zia Mohyeddin), Six Characters in Search of an Author (acted by Rahat Kazmi and directed by Fawad Khan), and Khoya Hua Aadmi (directed by Khalid Ahmad). As a director, he has received acclaim for productions such as Khel Ek Raat Ka and more recently, Baba Jalinoos. He is also a practitioner of the storytelling genre of Daastaangoi and has been commended for his achievements in the field. Fawad has been a performer with Zambeel Dramatic Readings since early 2015.
H.M. Naqvi is the award-winning author of Home Boy. Published by Random House in 2009, the debut was hailed as a remarkably engaging novel that delights as it disturbs by the New York Times, and as a genre-busting, page turning book that fuses slang literary discourse, pop culture and politics, history and comedy, East and West. The book has been translated into German, Italian, and Portuguese, and was awarded the DSC Prize at the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2011.
Naqvi has worked in the financial services industry and taught creative writing at Boston University. He has appeared on CNN, BBC, and National Public Radio, and written for Caravan, Forbes, Freeman’s, and the Global Post.
His second novel, a comic epic set in Karachi, is expected to be published by HarperCollins this year.
Muhammad Hameed Shahid is an Urdu author and literary critic. Hailing from the Attock region of Punjab, he gained an Honours Degree from University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, before joining the Zarai Taraqiati Bank in 1985.
Shahid’s first writings were published while he was still at school and his first book Paiker-e-Jamil when he was a university student. His short story collection Band Ankhoon se Paray, was followed by Janum Jahannum, Marg-zaar, Aadmi, Muhammad Hameed Shahid kay Pachas Afsanae and Dehshat Mein Mohabbat. His novel Mitti Adam Khati Hae was published in 2007. He has also authored several books of literary criticism i.e. Adabi Tanaziat, Urdu Afsana Soorat o Maana, Kahani aur Llosa se Muamla, Saadat Hassan Manto: Jadooi Haqiqat Nigari aur Aaj ka Afsana, Rashed, Meeraji, Faiz: Nayab Hein Ham, Urdu Fiction: Naye Mubahis and is also a translator of international literary writing into Urdu.
His latest book of short fiction titled Dehshat Mein Mohabbat was awarded the UBL Excellence Award, 2017. He received the Tamgha e Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan in 2017.
Harris Khalique is a leading Urdu and English language poet from Pakistan. He is also an essayist and a columnist. His major poetic works include Ishq ki Taqveem Mein (Urdu, 2006), Between You and Your Love (English, 2004/Revised and Expanded in 2012), and the award-winning collection Melay Mein (Urdu, 2012). In his Urdu collections, a few poems in Punjabi are also included. He co-authored a book of creative non-fiction, Unfinished Histories, which was published in 2001. During the 1980s and 1990s, some of his work faced official censorship in Pakistan. His work has been anthologized by Oxford University Press, Pakistan Academy of Letters, Penguin US, SAARC Writers Forum, University of Georgia Press, and W.W. Norton and Co. among others, and on the Internet by the German poetry website: www.lyrikline.org. He is University of Iowa Honorary Fellow in Writing and has spoken widely on themes straddling literature, culture, politics, human rights, and international development. In 2017, OUP has published his latest book which is a collection of essays titled Crimson Papers: Reflections on Struggle, Suffering, and Creativity in Pakistan.
Author and classical music enthusiast, Dr Hasan Aziz is a practising medical professional, who has spent a life-time in medical teaching and is the Emeritus Professor of Neurology, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre, Karachi. He has put together Kalaam-e-Aarifaan, a compilation of texts and interpretations of Sufi poems that are used in current recitals of Qawwali. This has materialized in response to a request by his daughter Ayesha Aziz, who studied and practices Architecture in London, feels that, like herself, the younger generation is eager to learn about such poetry and music.
Dr Aziz grew up in an environment of classical music and traditional Sufism. He retains his interest in classical music, poetry and South Asian languages (Persian, Urdu, Punjabi, Seraiki, Purbi, Brij Bhaasha etc.), with special interest in their diction. Being a life-long teacher himself, he has approached his subject from a student’s point of view.
A soon-to-be doctor, Hira Nazir has been writing for the past 14 years. Having appeared in several events at provisional,
inter-schools, inter-colleges and inter-universities level, she has many distinctions and awards in writing and oration to her credit. She is currently working as a content writer for tech-based companies, writer, literary mentor, and a voice-over figure at Daastan, the self-publishing platform.
Hoori Noorani runs the Karachi based publishing house Maktaba e Danyal, which she inherited from her late father Malik Noorani. Following her early education in Karachi, her love for literature and linguistics led her towards a Master's degree in Philology, with a major in Russian and World Literature, from the People’s Friendship University in Moscow.
Upon her return to Karachi in 1983, she taught Russian language at the Russian Cultural Centre before joining her father’s publishing business. Maktaba e Danyal has published renowned authors like Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, Syed Sibte Hassan, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Iftikhar Arif, Fahmida Riaz, Habib Jalib, and many others, as well as the works of authors from India. Currently, the publishing house is working on translations of Russian classical literature into Urdu.
Hoori Noorani has translated Henrich Borovik’s famous play, ‘Interview in Buenos Aires’, from Russian into Urdu. She is also a trained classical dancer.
Huzaifa Arshad Awan is a musician and a singer. He also plays the guitar and bass guitar. He is currently under the tutelage of Ustaad Azam Bakhshi. He enjoyed listening to music and singing from a young age, but began his musical journey formally in 2009 at age 19. In 2011 he formed a band named Sarkash with his best friend Hamza Omer and their teacher, poet Omer Masood Qureshi. The band has released six singles and two videos and has big plans for the future. Huzaifa is working with other artists to create art that can open the hearts and minds of people and make our society more loving, tolerant and free-thinking.
Renowned journalist and human rights activist, I. A. Rehman was till recently Secretary-General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), the leading Pakistan NGO committed to the entire range of human rights. Prior to this, he was HRCP’s Director from 1990 to 2008. Rahman has served (1989–90) as Editor-in-Chief of the Pakistan Times,
Lahore-Islamabad, where he had earlier spent 24 years (1950–74) in various capacities: cinema-art critic, subeditor,
edit-page editor, and senior leader writer. During the East-Pakistan/Bangladesh crisis, he worked as the managing editor of the Urdu daily Azad and spent the Zia period (1978–88) as executive editor of the weekly Viewpoint. He was dismissed from service for trade union activities and imprisoned for his views and work for civil liberties. Besides hundreds of articles and papers, he has three books to his credit: Jinnah as a Parliamentarian (co-editor), 1977; Arts and Crafts of Pakistan (1983); and Pakistan under Siege, a collection of his columns (1990). He has been associated with the South Asian Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) and Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy since their inception.
Iftikhar Hussain Arif, commonly known as Iftikhar Arif, is a prominent Urdu poet, scholar, and literary personality.
Born at Lucknow, UP, India, he studied Urdu, English, and Sanskrit at Lucknow University, acquiring a Master’s in 1965. He studied journalism at New York University, before migrating to Pakistan and joining Radio Pakistan and was associated with it for many years.
Three collections of his poetry have been published, viz. Mehr-i-Doneem, Harf-i-Baryab, and Jahan-e-Maloom. A rendering of his poetry into English, has been published by Oxford University Press under the title Written in the Season of Fear.
Arif has headed the Pakistan Academy of Letters and the National Language Authority. He has received the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Imtiaz, and President's Pride of Performance awards, which are the highest literary awards given by the Government of Pakistan. His last assignment was in Tehran, Iran, as President of the Eco Cultural Institute.
Dr Ijaz Shafi Gilani is the Chairman of the well-known political and socio-economic research organization Gallup Pakistan/Gilani Research Foundation. With a Doctorate in Political Science from MIT, he is a specialist in public opinion research. He pioneered the field of opinion polling in Pakistan and established Gallup Pakistan, the Pakistani affiliate of the WIN-Gallup International Association in 1980. He has served as Honorary Senior Fellow of the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, and Honorary Dean of the Faculty of Management and Social Sciences, IIU Islamabad.
He has, in the past, taught at the Department of International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, and has co-chaired the crisis and conflict Analysis Team at the Institute of Strategic Studies. He has also been an advisor to the Prime Minister and chairman of the Prime Minister's Committee for Research and Analysis. He has a number of publications to his name and travels widely to attend and speak at local and international conferences.
Scholar and author, Ilhan Niaz is Assistant Professor of History at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He is also the official spokesman for the university. His most recent book is Old World Empires: Cultures of Power and Governance in Eurasia (New York: Routledge, 2014; South Asia edition by Oxford University Press) has won the national award for best book publication in the social sciences from the HEC. He is also the author of The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan, 1947–2008 (Karachi: Oxford University Press), and An Inquiry into the Culture of Power of the Subcontinent. He has been published in leading international academic journals including The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Asian Affairs (The Journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs), Asian Profile, The New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, and The Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. The Culture of Power and Governance of Pakistan was awarded best Non-Fiction book of 2010 at the 2011 Karachi Literature Festival, and has also received the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan award for best book in social sciences, arts, and humanities for 2010. His next book is on institutional development in British India and the imperial legacy.
Ilona Yusuf is a poet, printmaker, and designer. She also freelances for Newsline, writing on art, books and writers, and has contributed essays on Pakistani poetry in English to literary journals, mostly abroad. Her poems have been published once in book form and thereafter in literary journals such as The Atlanta Review, The Journal of Commonwealth and Post Colonial Writing, The Critical Muslim, and Papercuts and the Anthology of the Pakistan Academy of Letters. She has worked as an editor for the short lived Alhamra Literary Review in the mid nineties and as guest editor with Blaine Marchand for a special issue of Pakistani poetry in English for Vallum. Most recently she guest edited The Aleph Review. As a printmaker she integrates word and image in the form of artists' books; lighting design and conversation piece furniture are her bread and butter.
Imran Aami is an emerging Urdu poet with a distinctive place among contemporary ghazal writers. His works are noted for a freshness of approach in rhyming. Aami attacks social injustices with a sardonic evocation of the fault lines in human behaviour. His satirical poetry has featured on his appearances on TV as a special guest in morning shows.
In addition to Urdu, Aami also writes in the Potohari dialect of Punjabi.
Imran Nafees Siddiqui is an artist (performing & visual) and social activist who uses the power of art, be it theater, film, visual art, performance or photography, for his expression. With an education background in the Social Sciences, Imran’s association with a variety of projects is based on the basic premise of training and development through creativity. He has pioneered platforms for expression through research, training, theater, workshops, exhibitions and books through which he has channeled the talent and the ‘need to express’ of many people including women and children in under-developed areas of the country. Besides being a gender trainer, and researcher to many writers, directors and actors for his theatre group, Dugdugi, Imran offers his skills as creative counselor and trainer to individuals/groups/organizations, and a myriad human rights organizations. Imran is presently heading Institute of Performing Arts and teaching theatre.
Imrana Maqsood is a Karachi-based author and writer. She is a highly regarded novelist and playwright. A versatile writer, she has also written cook books and is the three times winner of the President’s Award of the National Book Foundation for Children’s Supplementary Readers.
Imrana Maqsood is the wife of celebrated entertainment personality Anwar Maqsood. Her most recent work is a biography of her husband titled Uljhe Suljhe Anwar.
The well-known Urdu short story writer Irfan Ahmed Urfi lives in Islamabad. His first collection of Urdu afsanas is Paon (2015). His stories have appeared in almost all the prestigious Urdu literary journals.
Urfi has attained considerable popularity as a screenplay writer for the TV Drama industry, and has penned well received series Zip: Bus Chup Raho, Bhinak, and Lamha, in which he has handled some daring and taboo themes. He also works as a Behaviour Change Communications expert and writes interactive theatre plays, experimental films, and documentaries.
He is Chief Editor of Liberal Pakistan. His book Paon was awarded Aks-e-Khushboo award in 2015 by Perveen Shakir Trust and was nominated for UBL Excellence Literary Award in 2015.
Dr Ishrat Husain is a well-known economist, academic, and public figure. With a Master’s in Development Economics from Williams College and a Doctorate from Boston University, he is a graduate of the Executive Development Programme jointly sponsored by Harvard, Stanford, and INSEAD. Commencing his career with the elite Civil Service of Pakistan, he later joined the World Bank, where he held a variety of senior positions over a span of 20 years, his last position being Director, Central Asian Republics. He was appointed Governor, State Bank of Pakistan, in December 1999. He implemented a major programme of restructuring the central bank and steered banking sector reforms that are recognized as being among the finest in developing countries. He was Dean and Director of IBA Karachi for eight years until March 2016 and transformed it into a first rate institution of the country. Before that, he served as the Chairman, National Commission for Government Reforms (NCGR), with the status of Federal Minister. He is the recipient of several prestigious national and international awards.
Dr Husain has maintained an active scholarly interest in development issues and has written extensively on the topic. He has authored 12 books, including the widely read Pakistan: The Economy of an Elitist State published by Oxford University Press, and several monographs. He was Public Policy Fellow at Woodrow Wilson Center Washington DC from June 2016 to March 2017.
Ishrat Shaheen is a poet and Afsana Nigar. She is an active participant in the literary activites taking place at Lahore, and has recited her poetry at various fora.
Jürgen Wasim Frembgen is an Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Near and Middle Eastern Studies,
Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich. He has taught Anthropology and Islamic Studies at various universities in Germany and Austria. Since 1981 he has been conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Pakistan on an annual basis—including working in the Karakoram, Indus Kohistan, Punjab, and Sindh. In addition, he has been a visiting professor at the Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad (National Institute of Pakistan Studies), National College of Arts in Lahore, and Ohio State University in Columbus, USA. He recently retired from his position as senior curator at the Museum Fünf Kontinente in Munich. Dr Frembgen has more than 130 English and German language publications to his credit. He has written extensively on the cultures of the Eastern Muslim world between Iran and India, focusing particularly on Pakistan. Many of his books and articles deal with Islam, the Sufi tradition, the veneration of Muslim saints, art and material culture, the anthropology of the body, social outsiders, and facets of popular culture. He has also curated numerous exhibitions dealing with cultures of the Muslim world. In 2011, he was awarded the Tamgha-i Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan for his distinguished merits in the field of science and literature.
Economist Dr Kaiser Bengali is a widely respected especially in public and policy circles for his pro-poor approach and analyses. He had headed the Benazir Income Support Programme of the Government of Pakistan and has over 20 years teaching and research experience. He has been associated with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Applied Economics Research Centre, University of Karachi, and SZABIST. Dr Bengali specializes in national income accounts, industrialization and employment, and governance of local public institutions and has published extensively in national and international journals.
Hailing from Lahore, Khalida Hussain is a renowned Urdu short story writer. She graduated from Lahore College for Women and got a Master’s degree from Oriental College Lahore. Drawn to literature since she was a little girl, she began writing fiction while she was still a student. Her First short story was published in the literary journal Qandeel in 1956. After that, her work was published in Adb-e-Lateef, a prestigious journal of Pakistan. One of her best known stories, Sawari belongs to this period.
Ms Hussain had begun writing under the name Khalida Asghar but when she married Iqbal Hussain, she wrote nothing for a decade. She had shifted to Karachi with her family and taught in a college.
She returned to fiction in 1979 and wrote regularly thereafter by the name of Khalida Hussain. Her first collection of short stories, Pehchaan, was published in 1981, followed by Darwaza in 1984, Masroof Aurat in 1989, and Hain Khwab main Hunuz in 1995. She has also written a novel, Kaghzi Ghat (2006).
She has retired as a teacher and now lives in Islamabad. All her fictional work has been published in one volume, Majmooa in 2008.
Khayyam Mushir is a columnist for the daily News and has contributed articles on various themes including art, literature, politics, and current affairs.
He has also worked in national and international development with Action Aid and Plan International in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and with the charity sector in the UK during his tenure with Deloitte. He is trained as a Chartered Accountant and currently works for an international accounting firm.
Kishwar Naheed, one of the best-known feminist poets of Pakistan was born in Uttar Pradesh, India, and migrated with her family to Lahore during the Partition in 1947. She received a high school diploma through correspondence courses and went on to obtain a Master of Arts degree in Economics from Punjab University, Lahore. Her first collection of poetry, Lab-i-Goya, published in 1968, won the prestigious Adamjee Prize for Literature. Her collected poems was published under the title Dasht-i-Qais mein Laila. She also wrote for the Urdu daily Jang, and edited the literary magazine Mah-i-Nau. Kishwar also founded the organization Hawwa (Eve) to help women become financially empowered through cottage industries and handicrafts.
Kishwar was Director General of the Pakistan National Council of Arts and was on the Board of Directors of National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and Trust for Voluntary Organizations (TVO), and Chairperson Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority’s (PEMRA) Complaint Cell. She has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the government’s civil award, Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2000. She was one of the 1000 women nominated world-wide for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.
Leena Hashir began writing her own blog a few years ago. As her work became popular, she began blogging for Samaa TV network’s Urdu website and Saach TV’s website. Later she joined Humsub and she now also writes for Daily Dunya. Leena initially wrote light-hearted satirical pieces but later refocussed to highlight the tragic state of society. Her column on Aneeqa Khalid’s murder by her father for not making round roti became so popular that a critically-acclaimed short film was made on it. Her column “khawaja saraa ka marney key baad apni maa khat” was published on Humsub and broke records with 100,000 people reading it on the website alone on the first day. It was shared so many times that Facebook thought it was spam and blocked it at first. YouTube hits crossed a million views in days. Nearly 2 million readers have read it on social media. A film is currently underway based on this column. Leena has impacted how people think about marginalized sections of society and for her that is what writing is all about.
Syed Manzar Ali Naqvi (Manzar Naqvi) is a renowned poet, who writes in both Urdu and Hindko. He has been secretary of the Halqa Arbab-e-Zauq, Islamabad (2004 to 2011), and is also a popular script writer for television and radio. His books include Changay Lagday Ne (Hindko poetry), Tera Manzar Nahin Badla (Urdu poetry), and Critical Articles. His literary column, Adabi Manzarnama, appears in various newspapers and magazines. He has been a participant of literary meetings in Pakistan and abroad. Naqvi has been the recipient of several literary awards.
Marvi Sirmed is a secularist-liberal commentator and columnist. She started her career as a journalist in 1990. Her articles have appeared in various national dailies, including Daily News, Daily Jang, and Khabrein. She has covered wars in the Palestinian Territories, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chechnya, Bosnia, Azad Kashmir, and Sri Lanka. Ms Sirmed has worked as National Project Manager of the UNDP’s parliamentary development project, Strengthening Democracy through Parliamentary Development (SDPD) in Pakistan. In addition, she worked as an Institutional Development Specialist with the Ministry of Women Development (Government of Pakistan) and as a Policy Advocacy Specialist with National Commission on the Status of Women. She is a member of the Aurat Foundation's Legislative Watch Programme, and is also affiliated with the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA). Marvi is a member of the Women's Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA), Women’s Action Forum, Insaani Haqooq Ittehad, Pakistan India Peoples Forum, South Asian Free Media Association, and Pakistan Forum for Social Democracy.
In 2012, she was shot at by unidentified gunmen, but escaped unhurt.
A leading writer and journalist, Masood Ashar is regarded as an important contemporary Urdu fiction writer. He has been a recipient of the Sitara-e-Imtiaz and the Pride of Performance award. He has published three collections of short stories, the first of which included a number of stories on the theme of the military action in the former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1971. These stories break away from social realism and develop as fractured or discontinuous narratives, appropriate for the extreme situations depicted within. A number of his stories have been translated into English, Turkish, Hindi, and other languages and published in anthologies representing literature from Pakistan. He has written a number of critical essays and reminiscences of writers and has translated a number of books into Urdu. He is currently associated with MASHAL, a non-profit organization that supports publication of developmental literature, and through this organization has facilitated the translation of hundreds of contemporary books into Urdu. He is a member of a number of learned bodies including the Pakistan Academy of Letters.
Combining the rhythms and traditions of sufi-folk tunes with her deep and textured vocal tones, Masuma Anwar has been closely in contact with music since she was four years old. A doctor by profession, she maneuvered through books and started singing professionally in 2005 with her first performance of Khwaja Ghulam Fareed’s ‘Aa Mera Dhola’ at the MTV Awards. In addition to four solo albums, she has been nominated by MTV as the Best Breakthrough Artists (2006) and Best Female Artist (2006); leading to her debut in Bollywood with her original composition of ‘Lutna’ in Cocktail (2012).
Deriving her inspiration from Baray Ghulam Ali, Zahida Perveen, Jhummun Khan, and Reshma Ji – Masuma has performed for two consecutive years at the SAARC Conference in 2011/12. She has also earned the honor to be the youngest artist from Asia to perform for in venues across Europe on the invitation of the Culture Ministry of France in 2008.
Mehvash Amin is an English language poet based in Lahore. After receiving a gold medal in English and French Literature from the University of the Punjab, she went on to study Modern Letters at the Sorbonne, Paris. Her poems have been published in an anthology as well as in various literary journals, like Vallum, New International Poetics (Canada), Sugar Mule (USA), The Missing Slate, and Abay Khanna’s book Capitals (Bloomsbury). She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has started a publishing house, Broken Leg Publications and is publisher and Editor in Chief of The Aleph Review, a yearly anthology of creative writing.
Moeed Pirzada is a Pakistani political commentator and TV journalist. He currently works as Director World Affairs and lead anchor person for PTV News-TV channel. He also hosts the popular talk show Sochta Pakistan, a programme that discusses national, regional, strategic, social, and educational issues with leading politicians, analysts, and policy makers. He previously worked with Dunya News-TV channel as Director World Affairs and hosted the current affairs talk show Dunya Today and has also been a columnist for the Dubai based regional paper Khaleej Times. His columns have also appeared in Pakistani papers including Dawn, The News, Daily Times and The Friday Times. He has widely spoken in national and international conferences, seminars, and policy workshops and is a member of the Prime Minister's Education Task Force that collaborated with British Council to produce the Next Generation Report. He has also contributed policy papers to Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI).
Mohammed Hanif is a journalist and author. Born in Okara, Pakistan, he left the Pakistan Air Force Academy to pursue a career in journalism and worked for Newsline, India Today, and The Washington Post. He has written plays for the stage and screen, including a critically acclaimed BBC drama, and the screenplay for the feature film The Long Night. His novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes was longlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize and shortlisted for the 2008 Guardian First Book Award. He won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in the Best First Book category in 2009 and is also the recipient of the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award.
His second novel Our Lady of Alice Bhatti was shortlisted for the Wellcome Trust Award and the DSC Award for Best South Asian Novel. He is working on libretto for a new opera called 'Bhutto'. His pamphlet The Baloch Who is Not Missing and Others Who Are was published by HRCP. Hanif is currently based in Karachi.
Mubashir Zaidi is an award-winning journalist of 25 years’ standing. He currently works with the Dawn Media Group as co-host of a weeknights show and 'Editor Investigations'. He has previously worked with the BBC, The Los Angeles Times, and Hindustan Times. He has been a career reporter and has broken many stories from Pakistan that were internationally reproduced. These include the rise of ISIS in Pakistan.
He presently co-hosts ‘Zara Hut Kay’ on Dawn TV, aired on weeknights. Zaidi’s considered opinion is that journalism is the only forum currently available in the country to express views freely, perhaps too freely. He is a strong advocate of democracy and human rights.
Well-known journalist, television commentator, and author, Mujahid Barelvi started his career during the dictatorship of General Zia ul-Haq. A staunch defender of freedom of expression, he has faced six months of rigorous imprisonment. He was also elected twice as secretary general of the Karachi Press Club, a centre of resistance against military dictatorship. His hard-hitting TV talk shows Do Tok and Mujahid On-Line ran for four years. His later talk show Doosra Pehlu ran for seven years without a break. Currently he hosts Mujahid Live, the flagship show on Channel 24. His books include Fasana Raqm Karain, Jalib Jalib (5th edition), Balochistan: Masla Kia Hai (3rd edition), Khwahish-e-Safar Main Rahey (a travelogue) and Torkham Key Us Taraf.
Muneeza Shamsie is the author of Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English (2017) and Managing Editor of a work-in-progress: The Oxford Companion to the Literatures of Pakistan. She has edited three anthologies of Pakistani English literature and won two independent publisher awards in the United States for the American edition of And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women (2008).
She serves on the International Advisory Board of The Journal of Postcolonial Writing and has guest-edited its two special issues: 52. 2 Al Andalus (2016) and 47.2 Beyond Geography: Literature, Politics and Violence in Pakistan (2011). She is Bibliographer (Pakistan) for The Journal of Commonwealth Literature.
In 2014 Muneeza joined the Advisory Committee of the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature and was on its 2013 jury. From 2009–2011 she was the Regional Chairperson (Eurasia) of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. She lives in Karachi and regularly writes for Dawn and Newsline.
Mushtaq Bilal's book Writing Pakistan: Conversations on Identity, Nationhood and Fiction was published last year by HarperCollins. He has recently won a Fulbright grant to pursue a doctorate in comparative literature. Currently, he is teaching a graduate course on World Literature in Translation at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad.
Nadia Naviwala is an independent American writer and researcher based in Islamabad. She investigates and writes about foreign aid, local philanthropy, civil society, and education in Pakistan.
She moved to Islamabad in 2012 as Pakistan Country Representative for the United States Institute of Peace. At USIP, she started the Peace Innovations Fund to give small, flexible support to social startups. Prior to this, she served as Pakistan Desk Officer at USAID and as National Security Aide in the US Senate. She taught US foreign policy at the National Defense University in Islamabad in 2014.
Nadia Naviwala holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School, where she was an International and Global Affairs Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, a Public Service Fellow, and an associate with the Carr Center Program on State-Building and Human Rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She also works with The Citizen's Foundation as an Advisor based in Islamabad.
Brigadier (Retd) Naeem Salik is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Strategic Studies, Islamabad. He has taught at the National Defence University and the Quaid-i-Azam University. He has been a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; the Brookings Institution; Stanford University; and the Stimson Center. He holds a PhD from the University of Western Australia; Masters in History from the Punjab University; B.Sc. Honours in War Studies from Balochistan University; and M.Sc. in International Politics & Strategic Studies from Aberystwyth University, UK. Salik helped establish Pakistan’s Nuclear Command and Control after the May 1998 nuclear tests and served as Director, Arms Control and Disarmament Agency at the Strategic Plans Division.
Nafisa Shah is an academic, writer, artist, and politician. She has a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oxford. She is presently serving her second term as Member of the National Assembly from the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian platform. As an MNA, Shah is a strong voice on rights-based policy and has led cross-party caucusing on gender. She was elected Nazim (mayor) of Khairpur district in 2001, being one of the only two women District Nazims in Pakistan. She worked previously as a journalist in the English language magazine Newsline. Her book Honour Unmasked: Gender Violence, Law, and Power in Pakistan has been recently published by Oxford University Press.
Naheed Qasimi is a Pakistani writer and literary critic. She serves as Head of the Department of Urdu, Samnabad College, Lahore. She is author of several books of literary criticism, and has edited collections of poetry by her father Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi.
Naseer Memon is a writer and development professional, who regularly writes on the subjects of democracy, governance, human rights, public sector development, and human development for the dailies The News and Kawish (Sindhi). He has authored more than a dozen books in English, Sindhi, and Urdu.
Memon has played an active role in the civil society of Pakistan for several years. He has worked in senior positions with prominent organizations in the humanitarian and development sector, academia, and the corporate sector. Currently, he is Chief Executive of Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO), one of the largest rights-based civil society organizations of Pakistan.
Memon is a founding member of the Indus Cultural Forum that has pioneered the annual Pakistani Mother Languages Festival. Frequently lecturing in various universities and national and internal forums, he also serves on Advisory Committees and Board of Directors of various organizations in public and non-governmental sectors.
Dr Nasir Abbas Nayyar is a scholar, author, and short story writer. He lives in Lahore and is currently acting as Director General of the Urdu Science Board, Lahore. Dr Nayyar’s research interests include Modern and Postmodern Literary Theory, Linguistics, Modern Urdu Literature, and Postcolonialism. He did his PhD on 'Influence of Western Criticism on Urdu Criticism' from BZU, Multan. He was awarded a Post-doctoral fellowship by Heidelberg University, Germany, where he did research on Urdu courses prescribed by the colonial authorities of North India in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Dr Nayyar has published over a dozen books in Urdu. He is the author of Mabad Nau Abadiat: Urdu Kay Tanazur Mein, a pioneer study of Urdu language and literature in postcolonial perspective, published by Oxford University Press. Its sequel, Urdu Adab ki Tashkeel e Jadid, also published by Oxford University Press, won the best Urdu Book Prize at the Karachi Literature Festival 2017. Oxford University Press has recently also brought out his book on Meeraji, Uss ko ikk Shakhs Samajhna tou Munasib hi Nahi. His first collection of short stories, Khaak ki Mehak, also came out recently. He regularly writes on literary issues in The News.
Nasira Zuberi is a senior journalist and media person with twenty years of experience in print and electronic journalism. She has worked for prestigious organizations such as The Business Recorder, Aaj News, Geo News, and NewsOne. She is the only female journalist in Pakistan who has to her credit the successful launch of two news channels (Aaj News and NewsOne). She is a former Controller News of Aaj TV, Director News of NewsOne, and Editor Business Desk of Geo News.
Nasira has authored three poetry collections: Shagoon, Kaanch ka Charaagh, and Teesra Qadam. Her third book Teesra Qadam is being launched at the 5th Islamabad Literature Festival. The book has already received great appreciation at the 8th Karachi Literature Festival.
Navid Shahzad is an actor, poet, journalist, and TV pioneer. Having taught English Literature at the Punjab University for three decades she was head of Pakistan’s School of Fashion Design for five years following which she served as Dean, School of Liberal Arts, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.
Her company, Theatrewalley, regularly produces dramatic performances, the latest being a performance of an Urdu translation of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew, performed at the Globe Theatre, London, in 2012. At present, she is the Academic Advisor at Lahore Grammar School. In 2003, she was awarded the President’s Pride of Performance award for her contribution to literature and the arts in Pakistan. She has been awarded the Fatima Jinnah Award by the Government of Punjab as well as gold and silver medals by Pakistan Television.
Neil Buhne joined the United Nations thirty years ago and is currently the UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Pakistan (RC/RR). Prior to this he was Director of the UNDP Office in Geneva, prior to which he served since February 2011 as Director of UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) Geneva Liaison Office.
From 2007 until February 2011 he served as Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP RR in Sri Lanka. From 2003 to 2007 he was RC/RR in Bulgaria, and before that, from 1999 to 2003, in Belarus. In Sri Lanka, he led the response to the humanitarian crisis and post-conflict recovery needs. In Bulgaria he worked with the Bulgarian government to reduce inequalities and prepare for EU membership. In Belarus he led programming to reduce the continuing impact of the Chernobyl disaster, to preserve biodiversity, and to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.
From 1995 to 1999 he worked as UNDP Deputy Representative in Malaysia (and acting RC/RR for 20 months), UNDP Assistant RR in Pakistan from 1990 to 1995 and Programme Officer in UNDP Bhutan. In 1985 and 1986 he served with UNDP and other agencies as Junior Professional Officer in Sudan on humanitarian issues. He holds an M.A. from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, Canada. @NeilBuhne
Neelum Afridi is a poet, who also writes short stories and essays. Currently studying English Literature at Islamia College, Peshawar. She is Vice President of the Young Women Writers' Forum, Peshawar, and is a founding member of this chapter.
Nimra Bucha is a theatre, film, and television actor. She has appeared on television in serials including Daam, Ek Nazar Meri Taraf, Mera Yaqeen, and Virassat. On stage, she played the title role in NAPA’s Begum Jaan. The Dictator’s Wife, also devised by her, was first performed at the Edinburgh Festival in 2008 and at the 1st Islamabad Literature Festival in 2013. Recently she co-directed and performed in Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat by Mark Ravenhill. She also acted in the feature film Manto, which was released in 2015.
Nisar A. Memon is a politician from Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, belonging to Pakistan Muslim League (Q).
Memon holds a Master of Science degree from Karachi University. He pursued a highly successful career as a corporate executive. He was Country General Manager for IBM (1989–1999) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Engro Group Pakistan (2001–2002). He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Pakistan State Oil, American Life, and Capital Asset Leasing. He was the president of Pakistan's Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry, American Business Council, and The Reformers (an NGO). Entering the political arena, Nisar Memon was elected to the Pakistan Senate in 2003. He served as Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting (1993, 2002, and 2007), and as Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas and States and Frontier Regions (1993 and 2002). All these ministerial assignments were during the tenure of General Pervez Musharraf.
Memon is the founding president of Aamanat Foundation which has launched the Pakistan Literacy Project (PLP).
Omar Shahid Hamid has been a police officer in Pakistan for 16 years and is a senior member of the Karachi Police's Counter Terrorism Department. In 2011, following an attack on his offices by the Pakistani Taliban, he took a five year sabbatical to write books and worked as a political risk consultant in the City of London, for IHS Markit. He has been widely quoted and regularly featured in major news outlets like The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Le Monde, DW, Bloomberg, Reuters, CNN, BBC, France24, Radio France and NPR. His first novel, The Prisoner (2013), was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 and is now being adapted for a feature film. His second novel is The Spinner’s Tale (2015). In 2016, Omar returned to active duty as a Counter Terrorism Officer. His third book, The Party Worker, was published in January 2017.
Orooj e Zafar is a spoken word poet whose work has been published online widely, making shy appearances in print. Most recently, she has been published at Damaged Goods, Quail Bell Magazine, Rufous City Review, Melancholy Hyperbole online, and Off the Coast, America is Not the World Anthology, and Slim Volume: This Body I Live In by Pankhearst, in print. In 2016, Orooj won the Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize, Where Are You Press' Poet Contest, placed second in Pakistan Poetry Slam, and judged The Missing Slate's second Islamabad Poetry Slam, which she won in 2015. She also released her second spoken word album, All the Colors my Hair has Worn, on Bandcamp, nearly two years after her first, The Articulation of my Vertebrae. Orooj has been featured on art blogs like Berlin Artparasites multiple times, invited to talk about the importance of poetry and reading to children, and trained budding slam poets. Her debut chapbook, Home and other Debris, is forthcoming in July 2017 through 'Where Are You Press'. Orooj is on the poetry team at Cahoodaloodaling, an online literary journal, and is the Islamabad City Editor at the Missing Slate, organizing literary events like open-mics, word games nights, panel discussions etc. in the city.
Urdu poet Qamar Raza Shahzad holds a Master's Degree in Urdu from Islamia University, Bahawalpur, and an L.L.B from University Law College, Multan. He has published three books of poetry so far. A fourth volume of poems and a book of critical essays are forthcoming. He is one of the most prominent and trend-setter poet of his age group. His area of poetry is ghazal. He attended several poetry festivals in Pakistan and abroad. Now-a-days he is writing his autobiography titled Guzar Gya jo Zamana, in which he is highlighting the literary scenario post 1980.
Former Tedx speaker and nominated 30 under 30 Changing Classrooms Globally by International Literacy Association, Qasim Aslam is a social entrepreneur who launched The History Project (THP) in 2013. THP is a dual narrative approach to history that encourages students in their formative years to question the narratives of hatred being fed to millions through history textbooks by understanding the duality of perspectives on various events. The latest publication, Partitioned Histories: The Other Side of your Story, was launched at Harvard and the programme has now been taken up by top schools in Lahore, Karachi, Mumbai, and Islamabad.
Hailing from Faisalabad, Qasim Yaqoob is a poet, editor, literary critic, and research scholar. He is the publisher of the literary and scholarly journal Niqaat. Besides three collections of his poetry, he has also written four books on literary criticism and on linguistics. He has compiled the collection of Urdu Prose 2011 for the Academy of Letters, Islamabad.
Qasim Yaqoob runs the Online Website AIKROZAN.com. He is attached to a college in Islamabad as Assistant Professor and to the Visiting Faculty of International Islamic University, Islamabad, and Open University, Islamabad.
Rahat Kaunain Hassan is an eminent legal professional who was a founding Member of the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) and who also served as its Chairperson.
Rahat Hassan received her LL.M degree from King’s College, London, having concentrated her academic work on the law of international finance and international business transactions. Prior to CCP, she served as General Counsel/Executive Director (Securities Market Division) at the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan during the crucial years of the implementation phase of the Capital Market Reforms Project.
In recognition of her commitment to the public/professional service, she received ‘Women of Achievement Award, 2010’; and the ‘Wonder Women Award, 2013’. She was also nominated for Sitara-e-Imtiaz.
Born on 1 August, 1984, Rakae Rehman Jamil spent most of his childhood indulging in music. Since then, he has immersed himself in learning the vocal and instrumental traditions of North Indian classical music. He went on to join the BA in Musicology program at NCA in Lahore in 2003, where he acquired an understanding of South Asian Musicology. He graduated from NCA in 2006 and began his career both as a performing musician and as a teacher.
Jamil completed his degree in the Master of Arts’ Program in Humanities from the University of Chicago with a concentration in Ethnomusicology in 2013. Currently he is a full-time lecturer at the MA in Music department at the College of Art and Design, University of the Punjab, and a visiting lecturer at LUMS, where he currently teaches a course focusing on the evolution of South Asian music and its relationship with the socio-cultural environment in Pakistan. His research interests lie in Ethnographic Research of Pakistan’s music cultures, such as the folk musicians of South Punjab, and the socio-cultural impact of recording technologies on South Asian popular and art music in the 21st century.
Dr Rasul Bakhsh Rais is Professor of Political Science in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, LUMS, Lahore. Dr Rais has a PhD. in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was Quaid-i-Azam Distinguished Professor of Pakistan Studies at Columbia University, New York for 3 years, (1991–94). He took Fulbright fellowship at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, 1997–98, Social Science Research Fellowship at Harvard, 1989–90, Rockefeller Foundation fellowship in International Relations at the University of California, Berkeley, 1985–85. He is author of Recovering the Frontier State: War, Ethnicity and State in Afghanistan (2008), War Without Winners: Afghanistan’s Uncertain Transition after the Cold War (Oxford University Press, 1996), Indian Ocean and the Superpowers: Economic, Political and Strategic Perspectives (1986), editor of State, Society and Democratic Change in Pakistan (Oxford University Press, 1997), and co-authored with Charles H. Kennedy, Pakistan 1995. He has published widely in professional journals on political and security issues pertaining to South Asia, the Indian Ocean, and Afghanistan. His current research interests are: Modernism, State and Challenge of Radical Islam in Pakistan, and Pakistan’s Construction of Identity.
Dr Ravish Nadim is an Islamabad based scholar, poet, academician, and editor. With a PhD on Manto’s fiction, he is Professor of Urdu Literature and Head of Department at GC Asghar Mall, Rawalpindi. He had previously been part of the faculty of International Islamic University, Islamabad, for more than a decade. Dr Nadim has written ten books on criticism, history, fiction, and poems. He has published more than fifty research and literary articles in scholarly journals. His major area of interest is socio-political based critical analysis. Manto ki Aurtein, Tissue Paper pe likhi Nazmein, Dehshut ke Mausm mein likhi Nazmein, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Faiz Sadi, Muntakhib Maqalat are some of his titles.
Reema Abbasi is a Karachi-based journalist and writer. She authored the book Historic Temples in Pakistan—A Call to Conscience. Her second book, Ajmer Sharif: Awakening of Sufism in South Asia was launched last month.
Reema was the recipient of the Gender in Journalism Award 2003 from UNESCO for the most gender sensitive reportage. She attended Sherborne School for Girls in England and St. Joseph’s College, Karachi, commencing her journalistic career with culture and lifestyle articles at The News International. She moved on to crime and socio-political writing with The Herald magazine and then became assistant editor and editorial writer at the English daily Dawn. In September 2014, she received the Rajiv Gandhi Award for the literary personality of the year.
A columnist and an independent contributor with international newspapers, and a regular commentator on socio-political issues, her writings have focused on the values of secularism. With her book on the temples in Pakistan, she intends to spark a discourse that dispels intolerance towards any faith.
Rehan Sheikh is a film and television actor, director, writer, and producer. He is best known for his role in Haseena Moin's PTV classic serial The Castle-Aik Nae Umeed and for his role in the Hum TV serial Sanjha, which earned him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His has additionally worked in numerous major TV serials. Sheikh has worked in British Theatre and Radio Drama in a number of radio, theatre and TV productions, especially with the London-based Tamasha Theatre Company. He has also hosted the popular travel show Travel Guide of Pakistan.
Rehman Faris is a Civil Servant by profession and a poet by passion. He has written extensively in the genres of Urdu Ghazal and free verse. His first collection of poetry Ishq Ba’Khair is under publication. Apart from being a poet, he is a TV anchor person, an English language columnist, and a playwright.
Distinguished former foreign service professional, Riaz Hussain Khokhar is a former Foreign Secretary of Pakistan and a senior diplomat. With a Masters in International Relations from Karachi University, he joined the Pakistan Foreign Service in 1966. Khokhar has the distinction of having served as an Aide to Prime Ministers Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Mustapha Jatoi and Nawaz Sharif. He was also appointed Special Envoy by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz. Amongst his ambassadorial assignments, he has represented Pakistan in China, the USA, India and Bangladesh, in addition to various other diplomatic assignments.
Rina Saeed Khan is an award-winning environmental journalist based in Islamabad. She began her career in journalism with The Friday Times, where she served as Features Editor for several years. In 2000, she received a Chevening Scholarship to complete her MA in Environment and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. Upon her return to Pakistan, she began working as a consultant in communications with the United Nations Development Programme in Pakistan and WWF-Pakistan, travelling throughout the country to write reports and case studies. She co-authored Green Pioneers published by the UNDP, on their most successful environment projects. She has received international awards, including the International Committee of the Red Cross’ Award for Journalists on Best Humanitarian Writing in 2006 for her coverage of the Pakistan earthquake, and the Earth Journalism Award in Copenhagen during the UN Summit on climate change in 2009 for the best reporting on climate change from Asia. She has also contributed articles and blogs to Reuters Alertnet, Sweden’s leading newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, and The Guardian in the UK. Currently, Rina writes a popular bi-weekly column on the environment for Dawn. She most recently co-authored Water in the Wilderness: Life in the Coast, Deserts, and Mountains of Pakistan published by Oxford University Press.
English language poet Risham Amjad is an Economics student at the National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad. She occasionally dabbles in the spoken word, notably winning first place at The Missing Slate Poetry Slam in 2015. Her first structured experience with poetry was a 10-week poetry course organized by the Desi Writers Lounge (DWL), which also allowed her to share her work with other Pakistani and South Asian poets. She was a judge for an inter-school Poetry Slam at Oxford University Press, Islamabad, which was the first of its kind. Now she works with other Islamabad-based poets to organize regular poetry events in an effort to support established and emerging writers in the city. As a co-organizer of the monthly DWL Poetry Baithak and DWL poetry and prose open mic events in Islamabad, she is working to make literary events a bigger part of life in Islamabad.
Sabyn Javeri is the author of the bestselling political thriller Nobody Killed Her. Sabyn's short fiction has been published in The Oxonian Review, The London Magazine, The South Asian Review, Bengal Lights, Wasafiri, World Audience, Trespass and Sugar Mule, among others. Her short stories explore issues of gender, identity, and displacement. They have been widely anthologised, and her essays on craft have appeared in Creative Writing textbooks in the UK. She has won The Oxonian Review short story award and was shortlisted for Meridian, Leaf Books, and the first Tibor Jones South Asia Prize.
Sabyn holds a Master's with Distinction from the University of Oxford and has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Leicester. She currently teaches Creative Writing at Habib University, Karachi.
Sadia Khan has pursued a versatile career path traversing investment banking, financial regulation, family businesses, and entrepreneurship across three continents. With Master's degrees in Economics from both Cambridge University and Yale University, Sadia started her career at Lehman Brothers in New York. Since then she has worked with various international institutions and local regulatory authorities, including the Asian Development Bank in the Philippines, the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan, and the State Bank of Pakistan. She is currently the CEO of Selar Enterprises, a company she founded in 2011 while working as the Group Executive Director in her family-owned business, Delta Shipping. For the past two decades, Sadia has remained a passionate advocate of corporate governance and currently serves on various boards as an independent director, including Pakistan Cables, Engro Fertilizer, Karandaaz, and Edotco Pakistan.
In 2014, the French Government conferred on her, the prestigious French award, "Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite" (Knight of the National Order of Merit). Sadia is the President of the global INSEAD Alumni Association since 2015. She also serves as the Honorary Consul General of Finland in Karachi.
Saeed Ahmad is an Islamabad-based Urdu poet, writer, and translator. He earned his PhD degree in literary research on the topic 'Influence of Western thought on the Modern Urdu poem'. He has three books to his credit including two poetry collections, as well as a translation of the epic The Errors of Civilization, by Kazakh poet Mukhtar Shakhanov. Dr Ahmad edits a reputed poetry magazine Muaasir Shairi.
Saeed Shariq is a young voice on the Urdu poetry scene, most of whose work is in the Ghazal form. Based in Islamabad, his work is published in literary magazines like Dunya Zaad and Adabiyaat.
Saife Hasan commenced his performing arts career via theatre in 1997 and has performed in several prestigious theatre festivals internationally and in Pakistan. He is also a well-known television actor and has directed many plays for renowned production houses in Karachi. He now works independently and has, over the past years, directed popular plays for production houses like Hum Television and TV One. Saife is a lead performer and co-founder of Zambeel Dramatic Readings.
Samar Minallah Khan is an anthropologist and a documentary film maker. She has been a pioneer in using film and other innovative media of communication for social change in Pakistan. With an MPhil degree in Anthropology and Development from the University of Cambridge and a Master’s degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology, her work focuses on a culturally sensitive approach to development.
Her celebrated documentary Swara—A Bridge over Troubled Waters has won several national and international awards for breaking the silence around a practice that violates the rights of girl child and women. It helped in legislation against a culturally sanctioned form of violence against minor girls. Her media advocacy to bring to attention various forms of compensation marriages and other forms of human rights violations has led to policy changes and a change in the mindsets of the people. Ms Minallah serves on various advisory boards and is the recipient of a number of prestigious awards.
Renowned actor Samina Ahmed is based at Lahore. She commenced her career primarily with dramatic roles in plays on Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV). However, she has come to be known for comedy series, such as Akkar Bakkar, Taal Matol, Alif Noon, and Such Gup. She also acted in the comedy drama Family Front and the TV comedy Side Order.
She was a Programmes Director at the Alhamra Arts Council in Lahore while also performing on television. In 1997, she launched her own television company, Samina Ahmad Productions, which produced the widely-popular series Family Front.
Sardar Mohammad Masood Khan is a former diplomat, who has entered politics in his native Azad Kashmir, where he has been elected as President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Masood Khan joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1980 and went on to serve in various diplomatic positions. From 2003 to 2005, he served as the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as Pakistan’s Ambassador to China between 2008 and 2012, and as Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations between 2012 and 2015.
He also served as Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, between 2015 and 2016.
Celebrated actor, director, and script-writer Sarmad Sultan Khoosat lives in Lahore. He was born into a family of artists—his mother was an eminent radio personality and his father a highly respected television and film actor. Sarmad was educated at GC University, where he did his Master’s in Psychology, winning a gold medal. Commencing his career in his father’s production house, he rose to prominence during the late 1990s with the sitcom Shashlick, which he wrote, directed, and produced, as well as playing the lead. In 2007, Piya Naam ka Diya, his first serial as a director, went on air winning him widespread critical acclaim. Critics have hailed his serials for the complex themes explored therein: Jalpari, Mera Yaqeen, Pani Jaisa Pyar, and Kalmoohi are some of his directorial ventures that tackled difficult subjects, such as rape and female empowerment. In 2011, Khoosat directed the extremely popular family drama Humsafar, which made him practically a household name. This was followed with a string of well-received serials: Shehr-e-Zaat, Ashk, and Daagh. Khoosat’s debut feature film was Manto. He has been awarded the prestigious Pride of Performance Award.
Poet, painter, translator, and prose writer in the Punjabi and Urdu languages, Sarwat Mohiuddin was born in Lahore, Pakistan. She holds a Master’s degree in Punjabi literature from the University of Punjab and has to her credit a number of papers on the life and works of the great Sufi poets of Punjab, portrayal of women in classical literature, and on Punjabi culture and folk traditions. She has published four volumes of poetry, Kannian (1989), Seik Sunehray (1998), Do Phool Khiley Mahiya (2000), and Geet Hayati Hoey. She has translated the Hungarian poet Sandor Petofi (2007), and her travelogue Raat ki Dhoop (2009) is a detailed study of Swedish and Pakistani culture, customs, and traditions. A visiting lecturer at various national and international institutes and universities, Ms Mohiuddin has represented Pakistan at conferences and seminars internationally, and has been honoured with various awards. Member of the Pakistan Punjabi Literary Board and Vice-President of the Pak-Hungarian Friendship Association, she is also former Executive Chairperson of the literary group ASG, and former Vice President of the International Women’s Club, Islamabad.
Senator Sassui Palijo is a senior parliamentarian from Thatta, Sindh, affiliated with the Pakistan Peoples Party. She remained the only directly elected female member of the 2008-13 Sindh Assembly during which she served as the Minister for Culture in the Sindh Government.
She is a writer and helped introduce the recent National Languages Bill in Parliament. She is also a strong proponent of provincial autonomy and serves on the Senate functional committee on devolution (18th amendment).
Sayeed Hasan Khan has been a political and peace activist throughout his life. He is an active member of an anti-war coalition based in London, opposing America’s wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Earlier, he had been with the British-Vietnam Committee and visited Hanoi and Saigon in the 1960s as part of the campaign to end the war in Vietnam. Since the 1960s, he has been active in the movement for nuclear disarmament. During his stays in London he played an active part in the anti-apartheid movement against racially white South Africa. Apart from this, he has worked as a writer and media consultant in England. He was the historical advisor for Grenada’s End of Empire Series during the 1980s. He has written Across the seas. He has also co-authored two books, No Clean Hands and Parables of a Permanent War. He is currently working on his third book Autumn of an Empire.
Shafiq ur Rahman is the son of Gen. Rao Farman Ali Khan. He was 21 years old at the time of the great East Pakistan tragedy. The 1971 events left a deep impression on him as he and the family experienced the personal and national loss of East Pakistan. As the nation was shocked by the defeat, the family suffered taunts and accusations, with few sympathies after the events over which they had no control. He has a great many stories to tell about the time that he experienced firsthand and that taught him a lot, at a very early age, about human behaviour as individuals and that of the nation. After his father’s return in April 1973, he left the country, first working as an engineer in Saudi Arabia, then getting a business degree in the USA, and joining Citibank. He has lived and worked in eight countries around the world.
He has held senior positions with Citibank and JPMorgan Chase and is currently the President of Financiers and Investors in the United States.
Shahid Siddiqui is a scholar and educationist, who obtained his PhD in Language Education from the University of Toronto, Canada, M.Ed. TESOL from the University of Manchester, UK, and MA English from Punjab University. He has been involved in the educational sector of Pakistan as a teacher, teacher educator, researcher, and administrator. His areas of interest include educational leadership and management, history of British India, socio-cultural aspects of languages, gender, educational change, and critical pedagogy. His work experience includes working at the Aga Khan University (AKU), GIK Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and the Lahore School of Economics (LSE). He is presently serving as Vice Chancellor of Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad. His published books include Rethinking Education in Pakistan: Perceptions, Practices, and Possibilities (2007); an Urdu novel Adhe Adhoore Khawab (2010); Education, Inequalities, and Freedom: A Sociopolitical Critique (2010); Language, Gender and Power: The Politics of Representation and Hegemony in South Asia (2014); Education Policies in Pakistan: Politics, Practices and Possibilities (2016), and Ad Pachade Sufne (2017) (Punjabi translation of novel). He writes regularly for the OpEd pages of The News.
Both a political personality and an educationist, Shahnaz Wazir Ali has twice been the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was elected twice as member of the National Assembly on the Reserved Women’s Seat for the Pakistan People’s Party. She is currently the President at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology. Additionally, she is the Technical Coordinator for Primary Health Care and Family Planning programmes for the Government of Sindh.
She has served for the last 35 years as a Trustee of the Education Trust Nasra School. Alongside her long and distinguished career in education, she has made several significant national contributions to the health sector. She is also well-known as a rights’ activist for social issues including women, children and minorities.
Rana Shakeel Asghar, who writes under the nom de plume Shakeel Jazib, is a poet who presently lives in Islamabad. Known for compering Literature and Poetry events and programmes on Pakistan Television (PTV), he is a member of the Civil Service of Pakistan (Pakistan Audit and Accounts Service). Hailing from Chiniot, Punjab, he holds an MBBS degree and a Master’s in Urdu Literature. His poems have appeared in various literary magazines in Pakistan and India, including Sher o Hikmat, Biyaz, Adbiyat, Dabistan, and Nazool. He has also published two books, viz. Har Naqsh Adhoora Hey and Jab Sans Mein Girhein Parhti Hein. He is the recipient of a number of literary awards.
Shama Askari began her acting career with the theatre group Tehrik e Niswan in Karachi. Her roles in theatre plays Insha ka Intezar, Zikr e Nashunida, and Birjees Qadar Ka Kunba amongst others have earned her much acclaim. Shama has participated in theatre festivals in Pakistan and internationally. She has been a familiar face in television plays such as Kaafir, Daagh, and most recently Court Room. She has also explored the medium of film with her appearance in Sarmad Khoosat’s Manto. Shama is a performer, and a valuable researcher and resource person for Zambeel Dramatic Readings.
Shayma Saiyid trained under Maharaj Ghulam Husain for over seven years in Lahore, starting at age six. In Karachi she continued Kathak under Nighat Chaodhry, and Odissi under Sheema Kermani. At Grinnell College she joined the Dance Troupe and studied choreography and Modern Dance under B. G. Voertman, and later at Barnard College, (while pursuing her Masters at Columbia), American Dance Festival, Dance New Amsterdam, etc. Shayma has performed in Pakistan, USA, Canada and UK and continued taking workshops from Kathak masters. Shayma’s writings on Pakistan were published in the International Encyclopedia of Dance, (OUP-USA, 1998). Shayma has interviewed some of Pakistan’s leading dancers for KLF-ILF, and taught science through dance for the Children’s Literature Festival.
At ILF’s closing Shayma will perform Kathak to recorded music composed / directed by Joy Prakash Medhi, with bol padhant by Marami Medhi, and choreography by Meghranjani Medhi.
Shehryar Fazli is the Senior Analyst and South Asia Regional Editor for the International Crisis Group, an independent Brussels-based non-profit organization focused on resolving deadly conflicts. He is the author of the novel Invitation, which was a bestseller in India and Pakistan on its release in January 2011, and was runner-up for the 2011 Edinburgh International Book Festival's award for a first book. He has published political and literary essays and papers for a range of publications, including Los Angeles Review of Books, Foreign Policy, Jane's, Standpoint, and numerous academic and defence journals. He is based in Pakistan, and has lived in several countries, including Tunisia, Morocco, Belgium, France, Mauritius, Canada, and the US. He recently completed a second novel.
Sherry Rehman is a leading politician, diplomat, journalist, and civil society figure. She is the Founding Chair and serving President of the Jinnah Institute. Vice President of the PPP, Ms Rehman is identified with progressive legislative measures relating to women’s rights and press freedom.
Former Pakistan Ambassador to the United States, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, and ranking member of the National Security Committee in Parliament, Ms Rehman has also held additional portfolios of Health, Women Development, and Culture as a Federal Minister. An award-winning journalist in both broadcast and print media, she edited the Herald news magazine and is the recipient of several awards, including the title of Democracy’s Hero; The Freedom Award for her work for media independence; the International Peace Award for Democrats; and the Jeanne Kirkpatrick Award for Women. Identified as one of the Top Global Thinkers of 2011 by Foreign Policy magazine, she was awarded the state’s highest civil award, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz in March 2013.
With a degree in Anthropology from University College London, Shirin Gul started her career in 1996, conducting and managing research, evaluations, and programme design and management in the areas of gender, environment, conflict, governance, social cohesion, and social protection.
Peshawar-based Sidra Amin is a Mechatronics Undergrad who is serving as Overseer Young Women Writers' Forum. She is Editor-in-chief of the self publishing wing at Daastan, Creative writer at Blimp, and was all Pak Essay champion in 2016. She loves poetry and some of her work has been published. Ms Amin runs a book club known as the Peshawar Book Club, and has her own Spoken Word organization.
French author and journalist, Slimane Zeghidour was born in Algeria. He is Chief Editor and Diplomatic Columnist in TV5 Monde, the Francophone international TV channel.
As a reporter, he has covered many conflicts in South America, Middle East, Russia, and Central Asia for various publications, including Le Monde, El Pais, Le Nouvel Observateur, and Geo.
Author of several books, he has also lectured at several universities worldwide, such as University of California at Berkley, University of South California, Princeton, Bir-Zeit, Djeddah’s Effat University, Beyrouth Saint-Joseph University, University of Tel-Aviv, University of Brazilia, and Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.
Sohail Malik is the well-known theatre personality and the producing artistic director of Karachi Drama Circle and Pavilion Interactions. He did his BSc from Government College University, Lahore, MA in Philosophy from Karachi University, and LLB from S.M. Law College.
Peshawar-based poet Spougmai Ali Khattak writes in both Pashto and English. She is President of the Peshawar Chapter of the Young Women Writer’s Forum. A graduate in English Literature and Applied Linguistics, she aims to be a critical theorist and to pursue a Doctorate in Literature Studies.
Sultana Siddiqui is a Pakistani television director, producer, and a businessperson from Karachi. She is director and president of Hum Network Limited and is first woman to start and run a TV channel.
Ms Siddiqui started her career from PTV as a producer in Karachi in 1974. Later, she started the Eye Television Network, under which her four cable channels are working, including Hum TV. Over the years, she has won numerous awards for her work on television. These have included Best Producer of a Drama Serial, Best Producer of a Music Production, the Hazrat Khadijat-ul-Kubra Award, Women of Vision Award, Nigar Award, the Gold Medal Award, Sindh Graduates Association Award, and the Pride of Performance Award from the Government of Pakistan. As a director she had remained inactive for ten years before her latest drama serial Zindagi Gulzar Hai, a critically acclaimed serial that has been widely commended.
Ms Siddiqui was awarded the Leadership Award 2014 by the CEO Club and Manager Today Magazine. Her contribution to the entertainment industry was recognized with the Scroll of Honour award at the 5th GR8! Women Awards held in Dubai.
Since graduating from the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) Meesam has acted in acclaimed NAPA plays including A Midsummer night’s dream, Khamosh yeh adaalat hay, Marat/Sade, Court Martial, Nek Parveen, and Six Characters In Search of an Author. He has also directed theatre, including Vijay Tendulker’s acclaimed Kamla and the political satire Kuttay. He has performed across Pakistan worked with great Directors such as Zia Mohyeddin, Rahat Kazmi, Khalid Ahmed, Gregory Thompson, Zain Ahmed, and Azfar Ali.
Meesam was associate director of films including Chambaili, Karachi se Lahore and Chupan Chupai and has directed two telefilms, Double Trouble and Chup ka shor. Meesam has done several readings with Zambeel Dramatic Readings including Shatranj ki bazi, Raja kay do Seeng, Ghoonghat and many more. Meesam’s love for Urdu Literature led him to revive dastangoi of the tales Tilism e Hoshruba and Dastan e Ameer Hamza with co-actors Nazar ul Hasan and Fawad Khan.
Meesam has taught acting in Aga Khan University (AKUH), Music Art And Dance school (MAD) and is currently teaching at NAPA. He has conducted several theatre workshops at places such as Karachi University, Habib University, Iqra University, Szabist University and Sindh Madarasat ul Islam.
Syed Nusrat Ali is an international management consultant and motivational speaker. He has been head of Training and Development at a renowned pharmaceutical company. He has also been a member of the teaching faculty at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) and is presently with City Institute of Image Management (CIIM) as a senior consultant and trainer.
Dr Taimur Rahman teaches Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He obtained his Masters from Sussex University and his Doctorate from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He has been involved in grass roots labour and Marxist politics in Pakistan for the last 15 years and is also the spokesperson of the popular band Laal.
Lieutenant General Talat Masood (HI(M), SI(B)) is a retired three-star general and officer in the Pakistan Army Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (EME). Masood is a Grade-A graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, and the National Defence University of the Armed Forces. General Masood has a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master's in Defence and Strategic Studies. He has been awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz (military) and Sitara-i-Basalat.
Presently based at Lahore, Dr Tariq Rahman is an eminent scholar and academician. He received his first doctorate in English Literature from the University of Sheffield in 1985. Subsequently, he studied Linguistics at the University of Strathclyde and thereafter authored his books on the linguistic history of the Muslims of South Asia, namely Language and Politics in Pakistan (1996); Language, Ideology and Power: Language-Learning among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India (2002) and From Hindi to Urdu: A Social and Political History (2011). The University of Sheffield conferred a higher doctorate (D.Litt) on him in 2014. He was the first Pakistani to be honoured by one of Germany’s highest awards for academic research, the Humboldt Research Award. The National Institute of Pakistan Studies at The Quaid-i-Azam University, where he served most of his life, made him a Professor Emeritus in 2010 and the Higher Education Commission conferred upon him the title of Distinguished National Professor in 2004. He has been conferred the Pride of Performance Award and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz. Dr Rahman has held fellowships at a number of universities overseas. He is presently working as Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Acting Dean, School of Education, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.
Islamabad-based Tehreem Hassan is also a Communication Designer and Visual Artist. She aspires to bridge the distances between different mediums of expression, especially between literature and arts, towards which she has worked on visually interpreting The Journals of Sylvia Plath as her thesis. Her poetry and prose has been published in national and International literary journals. She is General Secretary of the Islamabad Chapter of the Young Women Writers’ Forum.
Wajahat Masood, born 1966, did his graduation from Government College Lahore and M.A. English from Punjab University. Later, he earned an LLM in International Human Rights Law from Leeds University, UK. He has been active in three fields, education, human rights, and journalism. He worked as Director, Democratic Commission for Human Development for 11 years besides acting as a consultant for different international development agencies. He was associated with national dailies such as The News, Nation, The Post, Dawn, and Aaj Kal. He worked as the editor of monthly Nawa-i-Insaan, Daily Mashriq, and weekly Hum Shehri. He was a columnist for BBC Urdu Service during 2005-08. He has been a political analyst for PTV and Radio Pakistan besides commentating for different private television channels.
Wajahat has authored several books on politics, history, culture, and literature. He is currently teaching at Beacon house National University besides writing a bi-weekly column for daily Jang.
Waqas Khwaja is an internationally recognized poet from Pakistan, who now lives in the USA. Professor of English at Agnes Scott College, Georgia, USA, Waqas holds a PhD. in English from Emory University, USA, and a Law degree (LL.B.) from the Punjab University Law College. He has published four collections of poetry, Hold Your Breath, No One Waits for the Train, Mariam’s Lament, and Six Geese from a Tomb at Medum, as well as a literary travelogue, Writers and Landscapes, about his experiences as a fellow of the International Writers' Program (IWP), University of Iowa. He has edited three anthologies of Pakistani literature, Cactus, Mornings in the Wilderness, and Short Stories from Pakistan. He was the translation editor for Modern Poetry of Pakistan, showcasing the work of 44 poets from seven major languages of the country, and guest-edited a special issue of scholarly articles on Pakistani Literature for the Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. He has also guest edited a special issue on Pakistani poetry for Atlanta Review. Khwaja was a practicing lawyer and visiting professor of law in Pakistan before migrating to the U.S. in 1994. He has published articles and essays on writers from a variety of linguistic and cultural traditions and on subjects as wide-ranging as literature and economics, history, culture, and politics.
Waqas Naeem is a journalism instructor and amateur poet. His poems have appeared in Subprimal Poetry Art, Eastlit, and Papercuts magazine, among other journals. He currently teaches at the National University of Sciences & Technology in Islamabad. He is also the director of Desi Writers' Lounge, a volunteer-run literary collective that supports new and emerging South Asian writers and poets.
Senior journalistic personality, Wusat Ullah Khan was born in Rahim Yar Khan in 1962. A graduate of Karachi University in International Relations (1982–83) and a Diploma holder in Theatre Arts from the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), Wusat has been a working journalist for the last thirty-six years. He has been attached with the BBC Urdu Service since 1991 and covered the 2003 Iraq war from Baghdad, Cairo, Amman, and Istanbul. He was in Beirut during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon. Wusat reported the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections while touring 13 states of India. He travelled extensively in the aftermath of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake. His work on the 2010 floods has been published as Sailab Diaries by the Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi.
Wusat writes a weekly column Baat say Baat for the BBC Urdu Service (online/Radio). He has produced documentaries for BBC Urdu TV and has also contributed a weekly column to the Daily Express, Pakistan. He is a co-host of the Dawn News daily talk show Zara Hut Kay.
Dr Yaqoob Khan Bangash is a historian of Modern South Asia. His current research interests are in the emergence of Pakistan as a post-colonial state, with broader interests in decolonization, modern state formation, formation of identities, and the emergence of ethnic and identity based conflicts. His DPhil thesis was on the accession and integration of the princely states in Pakistan, which has been published by Oxford University Press as A Princely Affair: Accession and Integration of Princely States in Pakistan, 1947–55. He is currently working on a monograph on the imagination of Pakistan as a country after its creation, using the debates of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan (1947–56) as the basic primary material. Dr Bangash is also working towards a history of Forman Christian College, Lahore. He has published in South Asia Research and the Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, and has written articles for two edited volumes. He also regularly writes for The News, The Express Tribune and other publications.
Dr Bangash’s BA degree is from the University of Notre Dame, USA, and his DPhil from Oxford. He is Head of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences and Director at the Centre for Governance and Policy, Information Technology University, Lahore.
Zafarullah Khan is the Executive Director of Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services. He possesses a rich experience spread over three decades in the fields of journalism, parliamentary democracy, civic education, constitutionalism, and human rights.
He has served as Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education, Pakistan, (2004–2016); Correspondent Pakistan, Civil Society Yearbook prepared by the Centre for Civil Society, London School of Economics (2000–2006); Lead trainer Political Party Development Program, National Democratic Institute (NDI) (2004–2009); Moderator, International Academy for Leadership, Germany (October 2004–2006) and Project Coordinator, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung Pakistan (2000-2004) where he worked in areas of civic education, democratic training, communication skills and human rights. He has worked as Communication consultant with (LEAD-Pakistan). Rockefeller Foundation funded project (1998– 99); Editor, State of Media and Press Freedom Report, Pakistan 1995–2001. He has also been Bureau Chief of daily The Frontier Post (1991–96).
A graduate of the prestigious Government College, Lahore, Khan holds a Master’s in Media and Communications from the London School of Economics, He also holds M.Phil. and MSc in Pakistan Studies from Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad.
Zarrar Khuhro is a current affairs commentator and analyst. He is the co-host of Dawn News TV's current affairs programme Zara Hut Kay, along with Mubashir Zaidi and Wusatullah Khan. He also writes a regular column for the English daily Dawn. Prior to joining the Dawn group, he was Magazine Editor for the Express Tribune. Khuhro has worked extensively in both print and electronic media.
Dr Zia ul Hassan is associate professor in the Urdu department at Oriental College, Punjab University. He has been an educator for 28 years. He has published three books of his poetry (بارِ مسلسل, اآدھی بھوک پوری گالیاں and ازل سے in 1996, 2007 and 2014 respectively), and authored many books on criticism, and translated several works of literature. He has also reviewed many books including translations of Turkish children’s literature. He is sub-editor of “Bazyaft”, a research magazine of Oriental College. He has been participated in several conferences and seminars, national and internationally.
Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro is an anthropologist and head of the Department of Development Studies at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), Islamabad. He did his PhD in Asian Studies, with a focus on folk romance murals, from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. His main areas of interest are religion and folk and rock art of Pakistan, especially in Sindh. He has also been working on the representation of women in folk romance paintings of Sindh. His book Perspectives on the Art and Architecture of Sindh (2014) deals with lesser known heritage aspects of Sindh. His recent book Memorial Stones–Tharparkar (2017) deals with Sati and hero worship in the Tharparkar region. Currently, he is working on two books, viz. Religion in Tharparkar and Saints, Sufis and Shrines: A journey through the Sufi Landscape of Sindh.