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Of and about LLF

42 4 26

THE seventh Lahore Literary Festival that concluded last Sunday proved to be more tension-free and thematically richer than its earlier editions.

That nearly 80 discussion sessions and artistic performances were offered within 24 hours of festival time was a signal achievement. A good number of reputed scholars from foreign lands were joined by Pakistani writers and critics in exploring the range and grandeur of the written and spoken word.

The festival began with a scintillating tribute to Faiz Ahmad Faiz by the inimitable Zehra Nigah. Known for her ability to say much in a few words, Zehra Nigah summed up the work and life of the great poet in a style that sometimes reminded one of Faiz’s own manner of speech.

Quite a few issues of immediate concern to the people of Pakistan were taken up during the festival, two of them on the opening day. One of these themes, populism in democracies, has been the bane of Pakistan’s politics for decades.

While Ayesha Jalal dwelt on the perils of populism the message from Prof Eugene Rogan, that the world was soon going to be rid of populism, was just the kind of tidings the hard-pressed Pakistanis wanted to receive. The other theme, Pakistan’s fast-dwindling water resources, brought together former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar, a fervent campaigner for the building of dams, engineer Shujaul Mulk, a veteran campaigner for the efficient use of water resources, and Erum Sattar, a rising policy expert. Perhaps more time was needed for a........

© Dawn