KARACHI - The thirds Karachi Literature Festival, a joint feature of the the Oxford University Press, British Council and US Consulate Karachi, concluded at a local hotel here on Sunday.

The festival was organised to encourage Pakistani authors and attract the people towards the literature, as it is the only solution to the prevailing situations in Pakistan.

Besides, a large number of books’ stalls, various panel discussions, book-launching ceremonies, workshops, Mushairas, lectures and performances over several issues related to literature as well as current affairs of region were held at the festival.

OUP Managing Director Ameena Saiyid brought the idea of holding the Karachi Literature Festival from the Jaipur Literary Festival in 2009, which was attended by her and then she decided to do the same work in the mega city of Karachi.

Various prominent literary figures, including AG Noorani, Vikram Seth and Shobha D from India, Pakistani writers including Ayesha Jalal, Bina Shah, Kamila Shamsie, Danial, Mohsin Hamid, Intizar Husain, Iftikhar Arif, Sahar Ansari, Zehra Nigah, and Daclan Walsh and many others grace the festival with their presence.  Ms Sanam Bhutto, younger sister of Shaheed Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was among the dignitaries who participated in the literature festival. British Council Deputy Director William Dalrymple, USAID Chief in Pakistan Marilyn Wyatt, OUP MD Ameena Saiyid and others expressed their views at the inaugural and concluding sessions of the festival.  The writers and other speakers shed light on the importance of literature in life of nations. They termed the event as an opportunity for Pakistani youth to connect themselves with the world of literature.

They also shared their views on the prevailing war on terror, the US policy in the region, Kashmir, Nuclear Pakistan and other matters.

The Karachi Literature Festival provided a platform for discussion over trends, values and thoughts to enlighten the minds of people, the experts and authors said.

During the panel discussion on Kashmir, writer and lawyer from India AG Noorani, Pakistan’s former foreign secretary Najamuddin Shaikh and Mirza Waheed reached consensus, urging the India and Pakistan to allow the Kashmiris of both sides to sit together and decide their future.

They underlined the need for hold public opinion in India and Pakistan for resolution of Kashmir issue.

They emphasized that Kashmiris of both sides should be on driving seat in negotiations on Kashmir issue.

AG Noorani talked on the four points tabled before the Indian government for negotiations on Kashmir. He advocated friendly status of Pakistan for India, saying that Pakistan’s step will prove beneficial for both the countries.

He also talked about the differences among the Kashmiri leadership especially Hurrait Conference, who don’t want to sit on one table.

Najamuddin Shaikh, former foreign secretary said that South Asia’s future depend on regional cooperation, which will not succeed until the permanent solution of Kashmir issue.

He underlined the visionary approach for the regional cooperation as well as resolution of controversies in the region.

Mirza Waheed, a journalist works with BBC Urdu in London, who hails from Srinagar, speaking about the Kashmiris’ struggle that they have been calling upon the Pakistan and India let them to decide their future by own.

He said that India’s civil society was not supporting actively to the cause of Kashmiri people. In another session on ‘Nuclear Pakistan: about an overview of strategic dimension’, the panellists comprising of Zafar Iqbal Cheema, Zulfiqar Khan and Najamuddin Shaikh talked about the nuclear arsenals of Pakistan.

They said that nuclear deal among the India and Pakistan was violation of nuclear proliferation treaty.

Najamuddin Shaikh informed that the US and USSR spent $5.5 trillion for keeping and maintaining their nuclear arsenals. After India’s nuclear experiments, in capacity of foreign secretary I had proposed then government to carry out the nuclear experiment in 1998.

Pervez Hoodbhoy, physicist and writer opined that Pakistan has internal problems, which need to overcome.

He also underlined the need for diverting budget for education, health and social sector.

Besides, in the day, discussions on different topics including literacy criticism, Arab spring, satire\comedy, education and others topics.