An International Literary Conference titled “Language, Literature and Society” with a pledge to promote literature, language and rich culture of Pakistan was held here in Islamabad which witnesses a large number of participants from literature and other walks of life. The Literary conference is a bold step of the present government which will promote Pakistan rich cultural heritage of Pakistan not only in home but abroad. This was the crux of the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s speech at the occasion.
The 4th international literary conference on “Language, literature and society” aims at exploring new and innovative trends and challenges of research in language and literature across the world and its impact on society.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has, at the occasion, announced Rs500 million endowment fund for the National History and Literary Heritage Division. The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed hope that the four-day moot would take into account challenges currently facing Pakistan, especially terrorism and propose solutions to tackle the menace.
“In a society where flowers of wisdom bloom, extremism cannot take root,” Nawaz said. “This conference will deliberate on how, through literature, these challenges can be addressed.” Touting renowned poet Allama Iqbal as an example, he said “His poetry enlightened Muslims across the subcontinent and galvanized them to fight for their rights.”
Literary institutions such as National Book Foundation have a pivotal role to play in tackling these challenges, he said, and the government is trying to revive such institutions. A state-entity created in 1972, the National Book Foundation has national and provincial head offices, and also operates sale outlets at airports and railway stations. The national head office generates revenue through selling textbooks and other NBF publications.
At the occasion, President Mamnoon Hussain said the effective steps are being taken to convey the renowned writers and poets to the new generations.
He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the conference. He said government’s institutions are playing their due role to promote the national literature in the country. He paid rich tributes to poets and writers for their services in this field in promotion of literature and knowledge in the country.
At the conference, writers, poets, linguists, research scholars and thinkers explored the impact of language and literature on society.
The Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) has arranged the conference in collaboration with major universities of Pakistan.
The third-day of the conference was inaugurated by Adviser to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui, who declared Year 2017 as Zarb-i-Qalm to highlight the soft image of the country.
He said the objective of the conference was to promote tolerance, counter extremism and give a chance to literary people of different countries to sit together. “A number of steps have been taken to nurture literary culture and norms in the country, such as government has increased the endowment fund for the welfare of literary people from Rs300 million to Rs500 million, accidental death grant from Rs200,000 to Rs 1 million and the health cover from Rs100,000 to Rs200,000.”
Mr Irfan said a television program had also been launched to provide a voice to literary issues among the hard core problems related to politics, economics or other current affairs.
According to PAL, over 1,000 literary figures, scholars, university faculty members, students and people from different walks of life are attending the conference. They included intellectuals from Afghanistan, Iran, Singapore, the Maldives, Finland, Azerbaijan, China, Oman, Nepal, Lebanon and Uzbekistan.
Prof Dr Mohammad Qasim Bughio of PAL said at the occasion that the conference had been organized keeping in view the present national and international scenario to highlight the soft image of Pakistan through a dialogue and exchange of views with the participants. The event would also help in encountering propaganda and disinformation about Pakistan.
Literary sessions of renowned writers of all Pakistani languages are also being organized. These sessions have been categorized in two ways: in the memory of literary legends and “meet a writer.”
Kishwar Naheed, renowned writer, while speaking at the literary session said commercialism had buried literature in Pakistan. “Pakistani dramas are only made for commercialism without conveying any concrete message. Unfortunately, we cannot find any special program about literature on the electronic media,” she observed.
Munno Bhai, poet and writer, while talking to the media said such conferences were a good platform but if the writers are not able to work without any pressure, they cannot do anything to bring positivity to society.
Urdu writer Zahida Hina also criticized the role of the electronic media in the promotion of literature. She said the electronic media was responsible for the declination or downfall of literature in Pakistan. But she expressed the hope that such conferences could highlight the importance of literature and literary people in promoting peach in the society.
Mehvish Riaz, an English language teacher at the University of Engineering and Technology Lahore said that the conference would develop academic relationship among the world researchers of different backgrounds and languages.
The conference will serve as an international forum for researchers, scholars, educators, practitioners, postgraduate students and experts in relevant fields to exchange ideas, research results and good practices.
The concluding session of the conference was marked by a ‘Sufi night’ organized at the National Library to entertain the guests with music.