Sukkur, Sindh’s Chief Minister, Justice (Rtd) Maqbool Baqir, inaugurated the two-day “Pakistan Literature Festival 2023” in Sukkur, a collaboration between Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi and IBA University Sukkur. The festival, amid its rich cultural and literary presentations, also took a somber moment to condemn recent tragedies, including the killing of local journalist Jan Muhammad Mehr and the ongoing conflicts in Gaza and Palestine.
According to a news release by Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi and IBA University Sukkur, the opening ceremony was marked by the Pakistani national anthem, and the proceedings included speeches from prominent figures such as the Chief Minister, President of the Arts Council Mohammad Ahmad Shah, and Vice Chancellor IBA University Sukkur, Dr. Asif Ahmed Sheikh. The event featured stalls showcasing books, apparel, and an assortment of other items, with food stalls becoming a significant attraction for attendees.
Chief Minister Sindh, Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqir, in his address, stressed the importance of cultural and literary events in strengthening national identity. He lauded the Arts Council’s efforts in promoting creativity and intellectual dialogue across the nation, citing the Pakistan Literature Festival as a prime example. Highlighting the significance of such events, he said, “Literary fairs are a combination of information and entertainment. Let us foster unity through shared cultural activities.”
Mohammad Ahmad Shah, the President of the Arts Council, emphasized that culture can be a uniting force. Touching upon the history of Sindh and its rich cultural tapestry, he pointed out that “literature and dance are not obscenity but a breath of fresh air for society.” He also highlighted the council’s inclusive approach, incorporating various regional languages in their events, ensuring respect and representation for all.
Dr. Asif Ahmed Sheikh, Vice Chancellor of IBA University Sukkur, reflected on the institution’s growth and expressed gratitude towards its founder, Nisar Ahmed Siddiqui. He viewed the Literature Festival as a remarkable milestone in Sukkur’s history. Naseer Ahmed Memon, in his keynote, stressed the importance of unity, especially in the face of divisive forces.
Dr. Jafar Ahmed focused on the significance of women’s education in Sindh and the need to eliminate barriers preventing their academic progress. The festival is set to continue its celebration of literature and culture, aiming to provide enlightenment and entertainment to all its attendees.