Second day of LLF hits hard on social issues - Pakistan Today

Second day of LLF hits hard on social issues

–Immobility of women in Pakistan a serious issue, says Salman Sufi

–Pakistan has tried everything in Kashmir. It is time for patience, says Arif Nizami 

–Dynamics of post crime situations questioned by Ayesha Bakir

LAHORE: The second day of LLF kicked off with five different sessions spearheaded by notable personalities including eminent journalist Arif Nizami, writer Fatima Bhutto, academic and poet Nitasha Kaul and many others.

The event began with five different sessions on topics like mining conflict, imperials and imperialists, poetry, women on wheels and young Urdu poets.

While speaking to the participants of the Women on Wheels session, Salman Sufi highlighted how women were deprived of their right to public spaces and infrastructure due to mobility and how it affects their lives. “In Pakistan, the mobility of women has never been taken seriously. They’ve always been seen sitting with a man who controls a vehicle; mobility is as essential as eating. By 2025, we want to train 500,000 women to be mobile and plug them into the workforce,” he said.

“All their life, women wait for a male family member for mobility. It is important that they are made independent to move around and stop depending on their sons, husbands, brothers, fathers to provide transport,” he added.

During the session on Mining Conflict, Ayesha Bakir revealed, “Sexual assault is a crime but then there is a post crime situation. I am trying to detach the two as a writer. Why should the crime be linked to shame, and why should it be imposed on anyone, especially a girl?”

During the session ‘Of Princes and Patronage’,  Audrey Truschke, Mehreen Chida-Razvi, and William Dalrymple along with the moderator F.S. Aijazuddin discussed Mughal-era art and aesthetics. Talking about Emperor Aurangzeb, Dalrymple said that there were suspiciously a large number of portraits for a man who banned paintings.

A session on poetry, Ode to Stanza, was moderated by Haris Khalique while Mehvash Amin, Afshan Shafi, Ilona Yusuf, Marianne Jungmaier and Athar Tahir were among the panellists who discussed Pakistan’s English-language poetry.

Speaking on the occasion, Sabyn Javeri, the author of Hijabistan said, “The hijab is not just as a garment but a veiled divide between men and women, public and private spaces, the inner and outer world, for what we hide and what we show to people. We have these morals attached to women. We find it strange that a woman could cheat or betray. Even good qualities, we find it hard to associate them with women. A man being ambitious is good but a man would not marry an ambitious woman”.

The session Terror in Kashmir was graced by Arif Nizami along with Nitasha Kaul with Khaled Ahmed in the moderator’s seat.

Arif Nizami in the session explained, “Pakistan has, over the years, tried everything in Kashmir; three wars, diplomacy, and jihad. Perhaps India’s threshold level is very high but all we can do is concentrate on policy like Imran Khan has been”.

“I think the best place to have conversations about Kashmir should not be Lahore, Jaipur, Delhi or Islamabad but in Sri Nagar. If Trump has offered mediation on Kashmir then what does that mean? Not a lot because there is a credibility problem there,” Nitasha Kaul added.

Later during the day, the session Bombay to Karachi was held with Nour Aslam, Samina Iqbal and Zehra Jumabhoy of the Courtauld Institute and was moderated by Salima Hashmi. The panel discussed the post-independence exploration of art and collectorship.

Towards the end, former editor of the Herald Shahid Zahid and Senator Sherry Rehman conducted a conversational session called ‘Critical Concerns for Pakistan’ in the years to come.

Sherry Rehman warned that Pakistan was facing clear and present dangers in climate, population and economy. “Climate crisis is a personal pet peeve. Pakistan is not taking adequate measures for this change. The country has a severe water crisis and it will rise in the coming years. We need to tell multilaterals that you can’t keep increasing taxes at the bottom of the pyramid as my driver is paying more tax than I do. The meat industry is one of the largest consumers of water globally. We are the biggest consumers of water per capita,” she lamented.

A discussion was also held on Faiz’s Poetry in which Salman Akram Raja in conversation with Aitezaz Ahsen, Zehra Nigah and Noman Ul Haq discussed how Faiz’s poetry was currently transcending borders and languages, and firing peoples’ movements.

This session was unsurprisingly the most crowded. The last day of the LLF shall be held on Sunday, February 23.