Kashmir and plight of Kashmiris was the main subject of discussions that held on the inaugural day of the Islamabad Literature Festival here on Friday.
Iftikhar Arif Chairman of the National Language Promotion Department and leading poet of the country hoped writers and poets who are the sensitive souls and cannot be indifferent to sufferings of humanity will speak on Kashmir in their discussions and debates during various sessions of the festival.
The participants had come from all parts of the country to attend the event and to hold a discourse that is essential element of a free, progressive and tolerant society.
Ambassador of France Dr Marc Barety, eminent writer and Chairman Pathfinder Group, Ikram Sehgal, Iftikhar Arif, playwright Haseena Moin, Managing Director of the Oxford University Press (OUP) Arshad Saeed Hussain, Deputy Director, British Council Mark Crossey, writer Muneeza Shamsie and Prof Navid Shehzad attended and spoke at the inaugural session of the mega literary event.
French ambassador Dr Marc Barety welcomed the Literature Festival in Islamabad after a gap of one year and hoped it would prove a platform to discuss ideas and debate on different subjects confronting the society. “A diplomat is basically a writer without imagination,” he said in a lighter vein but here I can see eminent literary personalities who can guide the masses how to move forward.
Ikram Sehgal while congratulating the OUP for organizing the Islamabad Literature Festival said the role of writers was important in shaping the overall mood and values of a society. “Writers are the ones who influence our minds and I hope in the next two days, a great many people would attend various sessions of the ILF and learn from the writers and their writings,” he said.
On the first day of the ILF, a discussion on Kashmir was also the highlight of the event.
Hina Rabbani Khar, Gen (R) Athar Abbas and Ambassador Arif Kamal held a discussion on ‘Kashmir: The Valley Seized’, which was moderated by Ikram Sehgal.