Author and LLF Delegate
I am sitting with a pen in my hand staring at the blank paper before me and wondering what to write. I am looking at the confusing times the people of our country are passing through. The dangerous demands of the militant forces determined to achieve their heinous goals while Pakistani citizens are not committed, not united and not equipped to protect their own beliefs. I am also feeling that in the period that pulls us back into the Dark Ages the contribution of our citizens will be historically recorded as absent. Therefore, let us, the citizens of an incredible nation, stop expecting from government, stop waiting for foreign nations to come to our aid, stop waiting for a miracle. Let us become the change that we so desperately want to see and let this change begin from our own fraternity of writers, poets, and artists so that we may pass on the gift of literacy that we were given by a mere accident of being born privileged. As a first act, as Muslims, we must learn the huge implication of Iqra, which is an instruction of great significance in Islam. Indeed, this is the first word uttered by the angel sent to deliver Allah’s message to the Holy Prophet. Women and children can lead the charge in this battle by teaching others to read and write. Bringing a new readership to such events in the coming years will mean we are winning the war. At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, participating in the Lahore Literary Festival is a show of strength, a declaration of the direction we must take, a direction toward Ilm, another Islamic instruction that must be enforced for the sake of our future generations. To remain relevant we cannot exist in the past.