Today marks the commencement of the highly anticipated 16th International Urdu Conference, a four-day cultural extravaganza set to unfold at the prestigious Arts Council of Pakistan in Karachi. Ahmed Shah, the President of the Arts Council, made this exciting announcement during a press conference held yesterday afternoon.

Addressing the media, Mr. Shah highlighted the significance of this annual event, which has been eagerly anticipated for the past 16 years. Originating at a time when the city was grappling with a culture of animosity, the conference has played a pivotal role in fostering unity and bringing people together. In a poignant gesture, this year's edition is dedicated to the memory of the remarkable writers and poets who have left an indelible mark on the world of literature in the past few years.

Among the diverse array of sessions planned for 2023, Mr. Shah expressed a personal connection to a session that explores the writers and poets instrumental in shaping the cultural landscape of post-partition Karachi. Another notable session will delve into the life and work of Josh Malihabadi, featuring a documentary dedicated to his legacy and a conversation with the esteemed Indian poet and filmmaker, Gulzar.

Renowned poet Iftikhar Arif marveled at the scale of the conference, emphasizing that, even in countries with vast resources, such a comprehensive celebration of languages is a rare feat. Having been associated with Pakistan's cultural institutes since the 1960s, he reflected on the transformative journey of the Arts Council building and underscored the unparalleled nature of the Urdu Conference, which stands out for its public participation, the caliber of writers and poets, and the diverse range of topics it encompasses.

Noor Ul Huda Shah, a prominent writer, lauded the recent Pakistan Literature Festival organized by the council, noting that it redefined the concept of a 'festival.' She highlighted the substantial attendance at the event in Sukkur, surpassing even political rallies, emphasizing the power of literature in creating awareness irrespective of political landscapes.

Ghazi Salahuddin, a seasoned journalist, echoed the sentiment that, amidst the multitude of festivals, the International Urdu Conference stands as the epitome—the mother of all festivals. He credited the event with laying the foundation for what a festival should embody and why it is an essential element of cultural expression.

Qudsia Akbar, the former secretary of the council, proudly stated that what began as a local gathering in Karachi has now gained global recognition, solidifying the International Urdu Conference's status as a beacon of cultural celebration worldwide. As the conference unfolds over the next four days, it promises to be a testament to the enduring power of language, literature, and the shared cultural heritage of the Urdu-speaking community.

Written By Web Desk

The Webdesk of Times of Karachi is known for its captivating stories that cover a range of topics, including politics, society, culture, and entertainment.