ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad Literary Festival (ILF) is reviving the spirit of art and culture and shows dynamic, vibrant and lively aspects of Pakistani society, according to prominent literati participating in the event.

“I think this literary festival is a resounding success; it shows that the people of Pakistan, including young generation, women, students, and the scholars, have a lot of zing in them. The festival shows that Pakistani society is dynamic, vibrant and lively,” said Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed. He said that it was very ‘good thing’ which was happening in Islamabad. “It is important for people to read books. Books generate ideas, ideas generates discussions and they (discussion) stimulate the mind and lead to open-mindedness, a questioning mind, and a mind which is also more tolerant because you hear different views, different perspectives through books,” he told The Nation.

Abbas Rashid, writer and chairman of Society for the Advancement of Education (SAHE), said that literary festivals could develop book readings amongst the people. “These gatherings are extremely useful because they bring writers together, and also bring together people who are interested in reading books and those who are interested in writing.”  He said that literary festivals were very common in rest of the world and a strong need was also felt in Pakistan.  “In many countries these things are done by university but that happens much less here, so any activity of this kind helps fill a gap. It is very useful and I hope it grows and remains a regular feature for Islamabad,” he added.

One of the ILF’s sessions was about Syeda Abida Hussain’s book ‘Power Failure: The Political Odyssey of a Pakistani Woman.’

Talking to The Nation, Syeda Abida Hussain said that ILF “was a great addition to the life of Islamabad.”   She said that it was very important to divert the attention of the people of Islamabad, the city of leaders, towards book reading. “This event is to remind people about the books and writers,” she said.

The 3rd ILF is featuring talks/interview, panel discussions, poetry recitation, book fair, book launches, readings, author singing, film screening, performing art and Sufi music etc. Around 175 speakers (including 25 foreigners) are participating in this event.