It’s true that Karachi never sleeps.
Having already held and wrapped up a food festival mid-January this year, the metropolis is gearing up for another one of its most popular events of the year – Karachi Literature Festival (KLF), which is scheduled to start on Friday, February 10, 2017, at the Beach Luxury Hotel, and will continue over the weekend.
Geo.TV caught up with KLF co-founder Dr. Asif Farrukhi at the Arts Council of Pakistan, as he strode in for a literary event wearing a crisp grey suit, to know what the organisers are planning this time around.
Dr. Farrukhi, a physician by degree, is an author and literary critic. He is currently the Interim Dean & Associate Professor of Habib University's School of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, and is famous for short stories, essays, and collections of short fiction and critical essays.
“[Karachi Literature Festival] is different this year, in line with our aim to promote diversity of topics and themes,” Dr. Farrukhi started, explaining that subjects such as poetry, prose, social studies, science, and languages, although interesting and always progressing, are repetitive. This is why a special element is needed.
Therefore, “Pakistan 70” has been chosen as theme of the 8th Karachi Literature Festival, given that 2017 marks 70 years since the country came into being.
In this regard, progress of literature, film, theater, and education over this timeframe will be discussed at the event, Dr. Farrukhi mentioned. He said, “How we see partition in hindsight? What’s the new agenda post-partition? What happened in 1971?”
Underscoring the fact that events such as KLF do not have a direct impact on the society’s workings and political strategy, Dr. Farrukhi opined that these initiatives are much required, since they help in the struggle towards better understanding and improving the public mindset.
“Our biggest contribution is to give books to people, instead of guns,” Dr. Farrukhi stressed. He went on to say that KLF aids in drawing people towards books and encouraging them to read.
“The civilisation takes a step forward when people start to think for themselves,” he added. It is of great importance that people have the ability to understand, break down, and evaluate ideas.
"While literature, art, and performance is alive, we still need to move away from arguments, prejudice, and narebaazi (hooliganism)," the writer told us. Pakistan's youth is in dire need of awareness pertaining to local literature, who "we don't celebrate."
In 2010, Dr. Farrukhi and Ameena Saiyid collaborated with Oxford University Press and British Council to establish KLF.
The prose and poetry event has attracted a rising number of people over the years, starting from an expectation of 4,000-5,000 attendees in 2010 – the year it was founded in – to 70,000 visitors during the three-day period last year, its organizers claim.