Thousands of young enthusiasts from all over the world gathered in Pakistan’s largest city this week to participate in the 21st Karachi Hate-literature Festival, startling critics who could not believe such a large number of people in the country could actually read.
“I want to blow myself up and kill all the liberals,” said Ghamgeen Khan, who used to be a liberal himself before he was compelled to attend yet another session on Faiz Ahmed Faiz on the very first day of the rival Karachi Literature Festival. “I realized that I had made a huge mistake.” Hundreds of other converts came running out of the tents screaming in disbelief after looking at Bushra Ansari’s eyebrows.
They were welcomed by the country’s most creative hatemongers in the five day Hate-Literature event organized by Pakistan Peace Forum, an umbrella organization of banned sectarian groups working for the promotion of hate-literacy in Pakistan.
The forum also announced the 10 winners of their annual talent awards. The promising young writers will get Rs10,000 a month in stipend for six months, training with the best sectarian assassins in South Punjab and Waziristan, one get-out-of-jail-free card, and 72 virgins.
Amongst the most notable sessions was on curriculum reforms. Participants stressed the need for more graphic descriptions of how to slaughter people belonging to rival faiths, which they said should be made part of a new Ethics textbook. “The best way for young people to learn is by doing,” one curriculum expert told the audience. “We need our children to spend a significant amount of time in labs and studios to put the things they have learned to practice.”
Texts about religious minorities were mostly discussed in the session about fiction. Speakers said such books were imperative to understanding the marginalized communities. “We must understand their beliefs, we must understand their history, we must understand their hopes, their aspirations, their fears, and their concerns,” said Sangdil Khan, who spent several years of his life researching about minority communities. “That is important. We need to know why we are killing them, and how we should plan mass assassinations.” To a question, he said he was not entirely against minority sects. “Some of them have a right to practice and preach their religion without any legal or administrative hindrances,” he said while referring to the Taliban.
The festival closed with a session featuring a youth from a religious minority who decided to give up his faith after reading hate literature about his own beliefs. “It just opened my eyes,” the gentleman said before breaking into tears in front of a somber audience that listened in silence. “It made a logical argument against the beliefs that I did not even know I held,” he elaborated. “I had never realized my community had spread its evil roots in all major government departments as well as the media, and literally controlled the entire country using friends that they were getting from Israel. I had been part of that community all my life and am amazed at how they were able to completely hide that truth from me and my family, and most other members of the community. After reading these books, I am convinced that I deserved to be killed.”
Although the proceedings went on generally smoothly, some disturbances were also reported. One such incident was reported during the session on vulgarity, just before the forum announced next year’s theme: women’s rights. “It happened during a talk about the sordid, unrestrained, glamorous sex lives of liberals,” a security officer told this scribe on the condition of anonymity. “Three young men were so moved by the descriptions and anecdotes that they could not resist. Standing amidst a surprised audience, they announced that they had thereby become liberal.”

 The author has a degree in Poetics of Prophetic Discourse and works as a Senior Paradigm Officer.

Email:harris@nyu.edu

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