March 1, 2019
Amid war hysteria between #India and #Pakistan, the #Karachi Literature Festival (https://oup.com.pk/klf-2019/) is ready to kick off this evening at @beach_luxury Hotel.
A decade ago, Oxford University Press Pakistan, alongwith the British Council, started this “little” thing called the Karachi Literature Festival, which has grown to over 200,000 people attending over 2½ days.
One common objective binds us all – KNOWLEDGE, as knowledge is what humans strive (or should) towards … NOT CONFLICT. The people of Karachi – regardless of their religion, caste, creed, socio-economic background or domicile – rub shoulders with each other in a fantastic environment which Karachi has not seen in decades! Best of all, there are no restrictions, entry fees or barriers to entry.
I first attended the Karachi Literature Festival in 2012 and was blown away with the peace, tranquility and thirst for knowledge that Karachi’s citizens wanted. This “thirst” continues to this very day.
Then, Karachi was in the midst of it’s own “turf” wars, internal strife and conflicts, yet THE SHOW MUST GO ON and that’s what the Karachi Literature Festival and society did.
Next year, in 2013, when it was first held at @Beach_Luxury Hotel, there was again trouble in the city – luckily after the Festival was over – but many authors couldn’t even get to the airport. With the reps of Oxford Pakistan present, we all sat together at the Hotel, overlooking the #waters of the #Arabian #Sea, waiting for the conflict to end. At the end, after midnight, a convoy left for the airport, where the authors and participants boarded their flights in the morning.
Oxford University Press & the Karachi Literature Festival was the initiator of many such literature & literary festivals all over the Country.
I truly commend Oxford University Press Pakistan, it’s Managing Director & Committee, executives & staff for their dedication to the Karachi Literature Festival through all the good days and bad. If it wasn’t for their commitment, this would have closed down years ago in the face of repeated city conflicts and strife.