On 18th October, the Mushtaq Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences held a special event to commemorate the launch of the LUMS Digital Archive. The Digital Archive was curated by professors Dr. Ali Raza and Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi.

The first of its kind in Pakistani universities, the project was the result of a collaboration between the Technology and Peace Initiative (TPI) and academics from the History department at LUMS. 

Terming it a step towards digital humanities, academics called the digital archive necessary, in light of poor access and conditions of archives in government control. 

As of yet, four projects have been uploaded on to the archive, which is accessible to all researchers and students seeking to study primary research from Pakistan. As more LUMS researchers upload their findings on to the archive, this project list is likely to expand soon.

The first project is a result of the digitization of Ishtiaq Ahmed’s research into the violence of the partition of British India. 700 oral testimonies -- with playable voice recordings -- of survivors from Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh communities from both sides of the Punjab border have been uploaded on to the site. Each testimony has been tagged with certain themes, making it easier for researchers in trying to understand more specific aspects of the partition violence.

The second project discussed was also on the partition, but dealt with the abduction of women and children in Punjab during the violence of 1947. A list documenting the abduction of 8000 individuals, including even the particulars of their abductors -- as well as the occupation, caste, age, and physical descriptions of the abducted -- was uploaded on the archive. A map in this section of the archive also depicts the incidence of abductions by district in British Punjab.

A third project contained witness reports, FIRs, and police accounts of the persecution of a religious minority in Punjab province in the early 1950s. The documents used were taken from the Punjab Public Library.

The fourth project had multiple digital uploads of Punjabi-language literary magazines. These were obtained from the private collection of a French academic, as no government library or archive at present seeks to document Punjabi literary magazines. 

The event ended with the historians involved sharing their hope that the label of LUMS would encourage people from across the country to donate documents and magazines that could be used for potential academic research.