Writers for devising powerful counter-terrorism narrative
By Sher Alam Shinwari
PESHAWAR: Senior writers, poets and research scholars from across the country gathered at a literary conference and stressed the need for devising a powerful counterterrorism narrative and national cohesion.
The two-day conference on the role of literature in national cohesion had begun at Islamia College University here on Saturday. It concluded on Sunday. Scholars suggested drastic changes in curriculum to promote tolerance, social cohesion and the spirit of humanism among the youngsters.
The event was conducted through several sessions for covering a range of issues related to national unity. Dr Mohammad Qasim Bughio, the chairman of Pakistan Academy of Letters, announced that a grand young writers` festival would be held in KhyberPakhtunkhwa to encourage the upcoming generation of literati.
Senior Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Pashto, Balochi, Brahvi, Seraiki, Hindko, Kasmimiri and Balti writers shared their views regarding peace, national unity and dialogue culture.
They presented various suggestions to introduce an intra-culture dialogue through translation, language courses and exchange of writers.
The literary conference was conducted under the auspices of Pakistan Academy of Letters, Islamabad.
Delegates from across the country participated in the conference and read out papers on the role of literature in the national integration. Said Wali Khial, resident director PAL, Prof Habib Ahmad, vice-chancellor of Islamia College University, and Dr Nasarullah Wazir, director of Pashto Academy University of Peshawar also attended the event.
The conference was supposed to be held in Landi Kotal subdivision of Khyber agency but according to the organisers it was cancelled at the eleventh hour by the local political administration owing to security reasons. A group of writers and poets from Fata,however, regretted the decision of the political authorities and demanded an inquiry into it.
Pashto writer Rahmat Shah Lehaz Afridi, leading a delegate from Jamrud, told this scribe that an investigation should be conducted as to why a literary moot was not allowed despite peaceful environment in the area.
`Had the conference been held in the tribal city, it would have sent a very positive message to the world,` he added.
The speakers highlighted various aspects of Pakistaniliterature and its role in their research papers. They called upon literati to play their due role to spread the message of peace and advocate tolerance and cultural diversity towards a pluralistic society.
They said that national unity could only be achieved through mutual understanding and social cohesion.
`Poets and writers should promote a soft image of the country,` they added.
Dr Mohammad Qasim Bughio, who chaired the event, said that basic objective of the conference was to provide a joint platform to the writers from all over the country to share their ideas on national integration.He said that Fata writers would be given more incentives including monthly stipends and insurance policy. He said that KP and Fata writers would be encouraged to contribute to Pakistani literature at world level.
Senior Urdu writer Kishwar Naheed said that writers and intellectuals had been fulfilling their responsibilities by highlighting current issues including militancy and intolerance, but the intelligentsia had been ignoring them.
She said that literati should join hands to guide the nation on devising a peace narrative and bring about a substantive social change.
Jami Chandio, a noted scholar from Hyderabad, said that indigenous culture and art should be promoted at all levels of education. He suggested that lessons on national unity should be included in the syllabus.
Abdur Razaq Dad from Quetta pointed out that unless an intra-culture dialogue was initiated, people belonging to different linguistic groups would not be able to understand each other.
Shamim Arif Qureshi, Mohamad Hameed Shahid, Waheed Bismil, Dr Rauf Parikh, Shakir Hussain, Taj Jio,Dr Amjad Bhatti, Asghar Nadeem Syed, Prof Susan Brahvi, Dr Mohammad Yamin, Prof Amar Sindhu, Sherbaz Khan Bercha, Basit Bhatti, Pervaish Shaheen, RahmatShah Sail, Prof Abaseen Yousafzai, Kulsoomzeb and Saliab Mehsud also spoke at the conference.
A multilingual poetry recitation session was also part of the conference.