Abdul Malik Baloch
President of the National Party, a member of the Hooth tribe, Abdul Malik Baloch was the first non-tribal leader to serve as the 21st Chief Minister of Balochistan (7 June 2013–23 December 2015). He has been an MPA in the Balochistan Assembly thrice, and has also served as a senator for six years in Islamabad. He was a member in Nawab Akbar Bugti’s cabinet and served as a provincial education minister.
Actor, producer, and model. Adnan Siddiqui made his acting debut in a PTV drama titled Uroosa (1994). He played a small role alongside Angelina Jolie and Irrfan Khan in A Mighty Heart (2007); made his debut in Bollywood with the Hindi film Mom (2017) and in Lollywood with Yalghaar (2017). In 2010, Siddiqui won the Pakistan Media Award for Best Supporting Actor Award for Ishq Junoon Deewangi. He has his own production banner, Cereal Entertainment Company.
Adrian A. Husain
Senior poet and academic, Adrian A. Husain was educated in Switzerland and England. He received his BA (Hons.) in English from Oxford University and a PhD on Shakespeare and Machiavelli from the University of East Anglia. He is the author of Desert Album (1997); Italian Window (2017); and Politics and Genre in Hamlet (2004). He won the Guinness Poetry Prize in 1968.
A political and cultural commentator and author. Her bestselling book, The Map of Love, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize (1999) and has been translated into more than thirty languages. Her account of the Egyptian revolution of 2011, Cairo: a City Transformed, came out in January 2014. Her collection of essays, Mezzaterra (2004), has been influential and her articles for The Guardian in the UK are published in the European and American press. From 2011 to 2015, she wrote for al-Shorouk in Egypt. In 2007, Ms Soueif co-founded the Palestine Festival of Literature, which takes place annually in the cities of occupied Palestine and Gaza. The first recipient of the Mahmoud Darwish Award (Palestine) (2010), she has also received the Metropolis Bleu (Canada) and the Constantine Cavafy (Egypt and Greece) (2012) awards. In October 2019, she received the European Cultural Foundation’s Princess Margriet Award for Culture.
A poet representing the new generation of Urdu poets who are reinventing the traditions of Urdu ghazal and expressing a new sensibility in poetry. He has taught at several institutions and is currently a lecturer of Urdu at Government Zamindar Post Graduate College, Gujrat, Pakistan. He is also working with A. Sean Pue on ‘Publics of Sound’ (a project of the Michigan State University). He has been published in several literary magazines and is the author of Aankh Bhar Tamasha Hay (2015) and Rang-e-Pur Shor (2020). The young poet was also elected as the secretary of Halqa Arbab-e-Zauq, a prestigious literary organization of Lahore.
Muhammad Ahmed Shah was the first elected President of the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, and has continued to serve in that capacity for the past 11 years. Shah maintains a rapport with a complex network of trade unions, cultural organizations, human rights activists, lawyers’ associations, journalists and their Unions (including the PFUJ), print and electronic media houses and their CEOs and the owners, and the business community.
During Shah’s tenure, of the Arts Council has seen an upsurge in its activities, including theatre festivals, music festivals, youth festivals, dance festivals, literary festivals, and activities highlighting socio-political issues.
Shah is proud of the fact that he has been able to contribute to taking the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi onto an international plane, thereby creating awareness of Karachi as a city of Art, Culture, and Literature. During his tenure, the Karachi Arts Council has entered into collaboration with countries like China, Germany, USA, Portugal, and Japan.
Aijaz A. Qureshi
Aijaz A. Qureshi is an educationist and development professional. His experience spans over forty years in education research, community development, social mobilisation, environmental management, participatory development, and change management. He has been professor of development economics at the University of Sindh, Jamshoro for about twenty-five years where he also served as Director, Sindh Development Studies Center, Institute of Business Studies. He headed the National Rural Support Programme (NRSP), Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO), Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA), and Sindh Rural Support Programme (SRSP), in Sindh. Prof. Qureshi has been a Visiting Fellow at Wye College, University of London, UK.
Ali Gul Pir
Ali Gul Pir is a rapper, comedian, writer, and actor. In a short span of time he has become one of the most influential entertainers of Pakistan.
A well-known art collector, cultural commentator, musicologist, public speaker, and writer. His areas of expertise are art, cinema, dance, music, poetry, Sufism, and qawwali. Ally has conducted extensive research on qawwali and ghazal, and is considered a subject matter expert in the fields. In addition to radio and television, Ally speaks regularly at schools, conferences, and research symposia. His seminars at the Aga Khan University, National College of Arts Lahore, New York University, University of London, University of North Texas, University of Texas at Dallas, Vanderbilt University, and other educational institutions have earned him a name as an eminent speaker, in the academic world. Ally writes for a large number of international publications and is an accredited member of the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) and the Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association.
Ambareen Hasib Amber
Ambareen Hasib Amber is a lecturer in Urdu, a renowned poet and critic, a TV anchor, and analyst. She has written five books among which are Dil kay Ufaq per, Asri Adab kay Rujhanat, Urdu mein Taraqi Pasand Tanqeed ka Tahqqiqi Mutala and has recently published an anthology of Urdu poetry. She has received numerous awards including Parveen Shakir’s Aks e Khusboo Award, UBL Literary Award, and Anjuman Taraqi Pasand Musanefeen Award. She has represented Pakistan internationally and has enthralled thousands of people with her poetry that addresses various social issues which she has discussed as a guest panellist on several television shows.
CEO, NBP Funds, Amjad Waheed is a former Head of Equity Mutual Funds & Portfolios at Riyadh Bank, Saudi Arabia; Head of Asset Management, NIT; and Chief Operating Officer of FC-ABN AMRO Equities. He was Assistant Professor of Finance at Tennessee State University, USA. Amjad Waheed has served on the board of several companies such as Bank Islami Pakistan; Askari Bank Ltd.; Fauji Fertilizer Company Ltd.; Pakistan Tobacco Company Ltd.; Parke-Davis & Company Ltd., to name a few. He has also served as Chairman, Mutual Funds Association of Pakistan (MUFAP).
Angeline Malik is a producer, director, actor, and an activist. She is very selective about the projects she adopts for direction mainly focusing on deep issues rooted in our society. She is an initiator of different campaigns related to women empowerment and against child abuse. Malik ventured into films by playing the lead in ‘Kalasha: A Journey of Hope; ‘The Window’, a Hollywood venture soon to be released; and as Creative Producer for the much acclaimed film ‘Baaji’.
Dr Anjum Altaf is a former professor of economics and dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS. He was also vice-president and provost at Habib University in Karachi. Earlier, Dr Altaf was a visiting faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and employed at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., where he worked on urban development in East Asia. Dr Altaf founded and manages The South Asian Idea Weblog, a learning resource for college students in South Asia.
Author of Sense Me, a debut poetry book, Annum Salman is a renowned spoken-word poet. She has had featured shows at That’s What She Said; Dorking is Talking; Woking Literary Lightbox Festival; Nottingham Poetry Festival; SpeakEasy, Soho; and The Surrey New Writers Festival. She has judged various competitions internationally and nationally, such as The Young Muslim Writers Competition, UK, consecutively for two years; Grammart poetry event, Karachi; and Lyceum’s journalism competition. She is part of a panel for Commonwealth and Pine’s project to inspire and motivate young Pakistani entrepreneurs. She is currently building herself as a creative entrepreneur, delivering writing workshops across the country.
Anwar Shaoor is one of the most prolific Urdu poets of our time. He has a large following amongst admirers of Urdu poetry and has received high accolades from critics and contemporaries alike. With three collections of ghazals to his credit, Andokhta, Mashq-e-Sukhan, and Mee Raqsam, his work is read in literary journals around the world.
Anwer Sen Roy
Writer and journalist, Anwer Sen Roy is the author of two novels: Cheekh and Zillatoun ke Aseer. He has worked with several major Urdu print media groups and has launched four Urdu dailies from Karachi as a pioneer editor. After retiring from the BBC World Service, London, he fully focuses on his literary work. His book, New York ke Liye Ek Qabar aur Doosri Nazmain (2016), is a translation of poems by Adonis, the Syrian-born Lebanese poet and literary critic; and Jughrafey kay Ma’toob is a translation of selected poems by Mahmoud Darwish.
Aquila Ismail is a Karachi-based author and social worker. She has written extensively on literature, women’s issues, and the development concerns of Karachi for leading Pakistani newspapers and magazines. At present, she works with Karachi-based development NGO, Orangi Pilot Project (OPP). Her published works include translated fiction such as Harvest of Anger and Other Stories, Godavari, Reflections in a Cracked Mirror: Stories of Mariam, Alli Gujar, Baby Nagina and Others and Zindabahar Lane. She has edited and written several non-fiction books, including The Microcredit Programme of the Orangi Charitable Trust. Her debut novel Of Martyrs and Marigolds was published in 2012. At present, she is working on a book on the life and work of her sister, Perween Rahman.
Co-editor of the Karachi-based bilingual literary journal Zau. Her poetry in Urdu and English has appeared in publications, includingAnthology of Asian Women (Singapore) and issues of DunyazadBook Series (Karachi). She is a visiting faculty at the University of Karachi and Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.
Arfa Syeda Zehra
An educationist, literary personality, and Urdu language expert. She is the alumna of the Lahore College for Women University; Government College University; and the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Dr Zehra is a professor of history at Forman Christian College University and a former principal of the Lahore College for Women University.
An acclaimed singer, columnist, cultural promoter, and a pioneer of contemporary Sufi music of Pakistan. A regular speaker on the topic of culture and Sufi poetry of Pakistan, he has produced several documentary films on music and music heritage. He co-founded the Music Mela Festival, Islamabad, which he curated for three years, and is the founder and director of Art Langar (a festival that connects music and arts with the spirit of charity and community integration). Currently, he is the executive director of T2F, Karachi.
The current COO of White Star Photo Pvt. Ltd. (a photographic firm). Arif Mahmood started photography in 1985, areas of interest being photojournalism, portraiture and fashion. He has contributed editorial work for all major publications in Pakistan and abroad. Arif has twenty-nine publications to his credit, including limited edition portfolios and books. He has had fifteen solo exhibitions in Pakistan. His photographs are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, USA. He has three monographs on the city of Karachi, one on Tharparkar, Sindh, and a monograph called Silent Rage, which is part of a compiled quartet.
A political activist and theatre artist, Arooj has worked with the Progressive Students Collective for the restoration of student unions among other collectives in Lahore like The Feminist Collective, Sangat, Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement, and Aurat March, Lahore.
Asad Ali Shah
Managing Partner, Deloitte Pakistan—one of the leading professional services firms in the country. He is a Board Member of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC); President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP); and Chairman of the 26th session of ISAR, UNCTAD, United Nations Geneva (ISAR). Chairman of the technical committee, which drafted the Corporate Governance Rules for public sector companies in Pakistan, he has also been an advisor to the Chief Minister of Sindh on finance.
Asad Mohammad Khan
A preeminent contemporary short story writer, poet, dramatist, and translator. Asad Mohammad Khan is the author of several books including Jo Kahanian Likheen, Khirki Bhar Asman, Narbada, Ghussay ki Na’i Fasal, Burj Khamoshan, Ik Tukra Dhup Ka, Tisre Pehar ki Kahanian, Tukron Mai Kahi Ga’i Kahani, and The Harvest of Anger and Other Stories, a selection of his short stories in English translation. He has also written scripts for television serials. His command over Bundelkhandi and Malwai dialects is outstanding. In 2007, he received the prestigious Majlis-e-Farogh Urdu Adab Award and the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in 2009.
Asad Sayeed is an economist and researcher whose focus is political economy. He has been associated with several social and economic policy research and development think tanks. He is currently Director at the Collective for Social Science Research, Karachi, and an independent member on the 9th National Finance Commission from Sindh. Sayeed has researched institutional and political economy issues in the areas of labour markets, corruption, industrial policy, gender, health, social protection, conflict, and corruption in Pakistan and Thailand.
A member of the National Assembly. Asad Umar joined Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in 2012, becoming its central senior vice president. He became Federal Finance Minister after PTI’s electoral success in the 2018 elections. He resigned from the position in April 2019. Currently, he is Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reforms, and Special Initiatives. Prior to entering politics, Umar pursued a noteworthy career in the corporate sector. He is the former CEO of Engro Polymer & Chemicals and President and CEO of Engro Corporation (2004). He was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2010 for his public service.
Asghar Nadeem Syed
Poet, novelist, and a teacher of film and theatre. He has recently published a book titled, Tooti Hui Tanab Udhar. Best known for his popular TV drama serials, such as Chand Grahan, Nijaat, Ghulam Gardish, and Piyaas, Asghar Nadeem Syed has written plays depicting the feudal culture in rural Sindh, exploitation of women, the oligarchic structure in Pakistan comprising politicians, feudals, media moguls and the bureaucracy. He received the President’s Pride of Performance in 2006.
The daughter of writer and journalist Ahmad Bashir, Asma is the sister of Bushra Ansari and the youngest amongst her siblings. Best known for her versatile acting and a brilliant peace-rap with Bushra Ansari, Asma Abbas is an established TV actor, with several drama serials to her credit. She is also known for her supporting roles in Urdu films.
Asma Asim Tirmizi
Asma Tirmizi runs a project management company, PSR. She has a deep appreciation of cultures across the world.
While living in the US, she associated herself with Shell International and utilized her cultural understanding to help global expatriates settle in the US. She also has a great interest in different cuisines of the world. Last year, she played a pivotal role in the TFD Food Excellence Award held at the Governor House, Karachi. She returned to Pakistan a few years back and began an association with Kashana-e-Atfal-o-Naunihal, Karachi, helping poor and needy girls.
An acclaimed writer, producer, poet, creative consultant, motivational speaker, and COO/ Producer of Crew Motion Pictures. Asma Nabeel has an eighteen-year advertising experience under her belt. She has written scripts and screenplays for TV dramas such as Khuda Mera Bhi Hai, Khaani, Baandi, Dil kia Karay, Surkh Chandni and short films. Her debut feature film as a writer is Maan Jao Naa which she co-wrote with Ahsan Raza Firdousi. She is a Pond’s Miracle Woman 2015 and has been felicitated by Femina UAE in the field of arts. She was nominated as Best Writer at the Lux Style Awards (2019) and Hum Style Awards (2019).
Served in the Pakistan Army from 1976 to 2012 and retired at the rank of Major General. Athar Abbas has served on the faculties of Staff College as well as the Defence University. Before retiring from the army, he served as Chief Military Spokesperson and Director General, ISPR. He delivers lectures on national security, counter terrorism/violent extremism, civil-military relations and media’s role in a conflict. He comments on these subjects in national and international publications. An active member of the Pakistan-India Track-II diplomacy, his last assignment was as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Ukraine.
Civil servant by profession and a scholar by passion. A classical vocalist, among his various accomplishments, Dr Masood learnt music from the famous duo Ustad Badar-uz-Zaman and Ustad Qamar-uz-Zaman and has been performing from the Lahore station of Radio Pakistan. He is the author of several literary books such as Parbat ke Uss Par, Naqsh-e-Masood, Maqalat-e-Masood, Chandigarh Tak, Doyens of Subcontinental Music, Jamal Kahanian, Dewaar, Naghma-e-Qudsi, and Hindustan ki Musiqi to name a few. He has also taught at LUMS from 2011 to 2018.
An entrepreneur, social activist, artist, and chair of FocusPK. A career spanning a little over three decades, Atiqa Odho has starred in television shows, soaps, serials, telefilms, and many big budget feature films. A brand ambassador for multiple prestigious brands, she has also produced many hours of television programming for major television networks in Pakistan. In 2004, she launched her own cosmetics line and later started her own production house. More recently, she set up Odho Consultancy. She is a former chair of United Producers Association, as well as chair, FPCCI standing committee for production and entertainment. In 2016, she launched the very first entertainment industry initiative that brings all stakeholders in trade together under one umbrella, FocusPK.
A celebrated Sindhi poet, writer, and activist. Through her writings, Attiya Dawood highlights the oppression of women in the Pakistani society in the name of tradition. Her poems have been translated into English and Urdu; and in German by Annemarie Schimmel. She has published several books, the latest being Sindhi Adab: Aik Mukhtasar Tareekh (2019). She is a recipient of the Sindh Adeeb Award from Akhil Bharat Sindhi Boli Ain Sahit Sabha, India.
Ayesha Aziz was responsible for setting up Pak Brunei Investment Company and succeeded in positioning it at the forefront amongst its larger and more established peers. Notably its external rating has recognized the company’s positioning and awarded it with a long term rating of [AA], one of the highest in the industry. Ayesha Aziz has a rich and diverse experience in investment banking, asset management, treasury, and portfolio management. She was associated with the ANZ Banking Group for over ten years. Subsequently, she was involved in establishing and managing business operations and subsidiaries of Pak Oman Investment Company where she acted as a member on the board and CEO, respectively.
Ayesha Tammy Haq
Ayesha Tammy Haq is a Barrister-at-Law and, for 13 years, a media personality. She has practiced law in the UK, Pakistan, the Philippines and the USA and has worked on several international projects. A member of the Vision 2020 think tank of the Government of Pakistan, she has worked on policy and governance matters. She hosted 24Seven on Business Plus, where she has interviewed presidents, prime ministers, political leaders and policymakers. She writes opinion pieces for several publications and has hosted a radio show. She has been the CEO of Fashion Pakistan and organized Pakistan’s first ever fashion week in 2009. At present, she heads Pharma Bureau, the association of the research-based multinational pharmaceutical companies operating in Pakistan.
A senior journalist, media man, and current Managing Director of Geo News, Karachi. Azhar Abbas is the author of Army, Democracy and People (1988). He also served as correspondent to NBC and CNBC. In 2001, he joined the core team that launched Geo News and became its first Director News. In 2007, Abbas helped launch Dawn News as Director News & Current Affairs. However, in due course, he returned to Geo News. In recognition for his services to journalism, Abbas was awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the second highest civilian award.
Azra Abbas is a poet in the Urdu language. After earning her Masters degree in Urdu at the Karachi University, she taught Urdu Literature at a government college. In 1981, she published an extended prose poem in the stream-of-consciousness form Neend ki Musafatain. Since then, she has written four collections of poetry, her memoirs, a compilation of short stories, and a novel. She currently lives in Karachi with her husband, the poet and novelist Anwer Sen Roy.
Babar Mahmood Siddiqui
Head of Projects, New Ventures, Babar Siddiqui has been associated with HUBCO since 2017. He is the Technical Head of the Water Project in the new venture at HUBCO. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute of Engineering Sciences and Technology and has over twenty years of diversified maintenance and management experience. He has worked for nine years each in Engro Fertilizer Plant and ADNOC Group of Companies, UAE.
Baela Raza Jamil
The CEO of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA); the founder of the Children’s and Teachers Literature Festivals, and the managing trustee of the Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust (SNPET). Baela is on the board of the Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA); member, Platform for Girls Education–Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), UK; Commissioner at the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (Education Commission) chaired by Gordon Brown; Director, Asia Hub, the Education Commission on Workforce Initiative; Global Business Coalition for Education(GBC Ed); chair, Global Alliance to Monitor Learning–UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS); and member, People’s Action for Learning Network (PAL Network).
An award-winning screenwriter and director, Bee Gul, has written some critically acclaimed TV plays and television films such as Talkhiyaan, Pehchaan, Kaun Qamar Ara, Firdous ki Dozakh, and Dar Si Jaati Hai Sila. Apart from television, she has written some unconventional theatre scripts. She has written scripts for feature films namely Laloolal.com and Intezar. Bee Gul won a LUX Style Award (2019) for Best TV Writer for Dar Si Jaati Hai Sila, and Best Telefilm Writer Award for Kaun Qamar Ara at the 2nd Hum Telefilm Awards (2015). She is a visiting faculty at the Media Science Department, SZABIST and Iqra University.
A poet, actor, comedian, humanitarian, and social worker. For fifteen years, she has done stand-up comedy mostly in the USA, UK, the Gulf, and Pakistan for charity fundraisers and has acted in films (most recently Cake) and TV serials. She has won awards for services to arts and humanity. Beo Zafar lives in London with her husband and has three grown up children.
For over thirty years, Bettina Robotka taught various aspects of Indian colonial and Pakistan history at the Institute of Asian and Africa studies (IAAS). From 2005 to 2010 and 2012 to 2013 , she joined the Higher Education Commission (HEC) foreign faculty programme as a full professor and taught various courses in history and social sciences at IBA and IOBM, Karachi. She is now working on aspects of Pakistan’s international relations and foreign policy. She reviews articles of several HEC recognized journals of Pakistan and evaluates PhD theses for the University of the Punjab IIUI, and area study center for Europe , University of Karachi.
Well-known actor, singer, TV host/presenter, multi-talented daughter of a renowned journalist/film maker and intellectual Ahmad Bashir (late). Featured in some of TV’s most-watched shows, including Angan Terha, Show Time, Show Sha, Rang Tarang, Emergency Ward, and Fifty Fifty, Bushra Ansari is equally at ease with comedy or serious drama. An accomplished singer, a lively compere, and a gifted mimic, she has written some very popular drama serials and plays including Neeli Dhoop (her first script), Makaan and Kucch Dil nay Kaha. Over the years, she has received many awards including two Graduate awards, four Lux Style awards, three Hum awards, and the most prestigious Pride of Performance Award.
Christian Turner CMG is the current British High Commissioner to Pakistan. He was the UK Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser and Deputy National Security Adviser (April 2017– July 2019); and previously served as the acting DG, Political (Acting) and DG for the Middle East and Africa, leading the UK organisation of the London Syria Conference in February 2016. He was British High Commissioner to Kenya (2012–15); and FCO’s Director for the Middle East and North Africa (2009–12). He was made CMG in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2012 for services to foreign policy.
A senior lecturer at the University of York, where she researches and teaches literature from South Asia, the Arab world, and their diasporas. Author of several books, including Making Sense of Contemporary British Muslim Novels (2019). Claire Chambers publishes widely in numerous journals and is co-editor of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and of the Routledge series Global Literature: Twenty-First Century Perspectives.
A professor at La Rochelle University, France, where he is a member of the research team CRHIA (Center for Research in International and Atlantic History). David Waterman is also director, University Asia Pacific Institute, and director of the PhD programme in the Humanities. He is the author of Where Worlds Collide: Pakistani Fiction in the New Millennium (2015). Dr Waterman is currently working on Pakistani history, culture, and literature in English and is collaborating with colleagues from the University of Bordeaux Montaigne with the goal of creating a new research team, D2iA—Dynamiques, interactions et interculturalités asiatiques.
Dr Reza Baqir
Dr Reza Baqir is Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. Prior to taking up this post in May 2019, Dr Baqir had twenty years of experience at the IMF and the World Bank. He was head and senior resident representative of the IMF in Egypt during 2017-2019. Dr Baqir has also held positions as IMF mission chief for Romania and Bulgaria; division chief, Debt Policy Division, IMF; head of the IMF delegation to the Paris Club; deputy division chief, Emerging Markets Division, IMF; IMF resident representative to the Philippines, and numerous other positions. Dr Baqir’s research has been published in top journals of the economics profession, including the Journal of Political Economy and the Quarterly Journal of Economics.
Dr Saad Shafqat
Dr Saad Shafqat is Professor of Neurology at Aga Khan University, in addition to being a published author, cricket columnist, and novelist. He has co-written Cutting Edge, the autobiography of Javed Miandad, published in 2003. His novel Breath of Death, a medical thriller, appeared in 2013. His next novel, Rivals, will be published later this year by Bloomsbury.
A prolific writer who has more than fifteen books to her credit along with several research articles on the subjects of literary criticism, linguistics with special reference to different aspects of Sindhi language, poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, and gender issues. She has been writing columns, articles, and critiques in various newspapers and magazines for the last forty years. Dr Fahmida Hussain is former Chairperson, Sindhi Language Authority; former Director of Shah Abdul Latif Chair, University of Karachi for ten years; and has also served as Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Sindhi in the same university.
A senior member of MQM Pakistan’s Central Committee, Faisal Subzwari started his political career as leader of All Pakistan Muttahida Students Organisation (the student wing of Muttahida Qaumi Movement). He is currently Opposition Leader in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh and Advisor to the Chief Minister of Sindh on Youth Affairs.
Farida Faizullah is a Karachi-based educationist and English language poet. Currently a visiting faculty of English Literature at Aga Khan University, she was formerly Associate Professor of English at Abdullah Government College for Women. She has co-authored English Skills for Classes 11 and 12, a set of English language textbooks published by Oxford University Press. Farida Faizullah takes a keen interest in poetry and, as a student and young poet, she used to participate in the poetry circle Mixed Voices.
Director, New Ventures, and Project Executive at HUBCO. Farrukh is a general management professional with eighteen years of consulting and management experience in different sectors, including Manufacturing, Telecom, Oil and Gas, and Non-Profit. He is a graduate of IBA, Karachi, and a Six Sigma Master Black Belt.
Farrukh Yar Khan
Farrukh Yar has four books of poems to his credit. His other works include anthologies of the Urdu nazm compiled for the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 2001 and 2005. Farrukh Yar’s research on the sixteenth century Punjabi Sufi poet, Shah Hussain, a pioneer of the kafi form of Punjabi poetry, chronicles his role in the evolution of Punjabi poetry. His long poem, Karez, was launched at the Islamabad Literature Festival in 2019.
Fasih Bari Khan
A well-known scriptwriter for television, Fasih has written several highly acclaimed yet controversial TV plays for different networks. He first rose to fame with the acclaimed Burns Road ki Nilofer. Best known for Quddusi Sahab ki Bewah, his stories are reflective of everyday lives of the inner cities of Pakistan and highlight the ills and controversial issues of society. His plays—mostly directed by Mazhar Moin, his childhood friend—come across as a slice of life, without garnishing or pretence. Fasih Bari Khan also wrote screenplay for two films Saat Din Mohabbat In and Jeewan Hathi.
A contributing editor at Pandemonium Journal (a literary publication), she has taught English Composition and Speech Communication at IBA. Fatima Ijaz won first prize at the McLaughlin Poetry Contest in Toronto (2007). She participated in poetry and art collaborations, which were featured at Music Mela 2019, Art Baithak 2019, and Taseer Art Gallery 2020. Her poetry has been published in New Asian Writing, Kitaab, Rigorous, Zau, Praxis, The Write Launch, Red Fez, and Whirlwind amongst others. She is currently collaborating with fashion designer Sadaf Malaterre for an art project titled ‘Whimsical’.
Professor, Montclair State University, USA; a Fulbright Specialist grantee; and a trained vocalist in the Indo-Pakistani classical tradition. Fawzia Afzal-Khan is an awardee of the National Endowment for the Humanities for a development grant in Building Bridges through Film, and author of five books including her memoir, Lahore with Love: Growing up with Girlfriends Pakistani-Style (2010), and the edited anthology, Shattering the Stereotypes: Muslim Women Speak Out (2004).
Beginning his acting career as a child in 1985, Faysal Quraishi is an actor par excellence and an award-winning TV host. A versatile actor, he has played leading roles in many critically acclaimed dramas such as Meri Zaat Zarra-e-Benishan, Qaid-e-Tanhai, Zakham, Baba Jani and many more. He was appointed as a CLF Goodwill Ambassador by the Children’s Literature Festival in 2019.
A renowned poet, Fazil Jamili is known for his ghazal and nazm. A journalist by profession, he is currently working as Senior Digital Editor at Interlink Multi Media (IMM)—a digital company of Jang/Geo Media Group. A former Editor Content, Samaa TV, and Resident Editor, Aaj Kal, he actively participates in the journalists’ rights movement and was twice elected president of the Karachi Press Club. A collection of his poems, Gumnam Aadmi ka Bayan, was published in 2017.
A well-known social activist, television commentator, and scholar in the field of human rights, culture, and democracy. Author of four well regarded books: Taboo! The Hidden Culture of a Red Light Area; Working with Sharks: Countering Sexual Harassment in our Lives; Forgotten Faces: Daring Women of Pakistan’s Folk Theatre; and Folk Heritage of Pakistan. She was Country Director, Action Aid Pakistan; Director, AASHA (Alliance against Sexual Harassment); and Executive Director, National Institute for Folk Culture and Heritage.
With a thirty-year teaching experience at many universities, Dr Framji Minwala has served as Programme Director, Communication & Design, Habib University; Chair, Social Sciences & Liberal Arts, Institute of Business Administration; and Head, Department of Media Sciences, SZABIST. His research interests include performance literature and history; visual and cultural studies; theatre and politics; television and film; communication and media, and all forms of theory (linguistic, political, dramatic, visual, aesthetic, literary or otherwise). His essays and reviews have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. He is currently working on a book tentatively titled Writing Theater’s Histories, an exploration of twentieth century performance historiography.
Ghayoor Moiz Mustafa Qawwal and Brothers
Belonging to Qawwal Bachchon ka Gharana of Delhi, their family roots can be traced to one of the earliest disciples of Amir Khusro. They have trained in classical music with their grandfather the renowned Ustad Munshi Raziuddin. They now perform with their father Ustad Fareed Ayaz and Abu Muhammad. Their Qawwali ensemble, ‘Ghayoor Moiz Mustafa Qawwal and Brothers’ comprises six sons of Ustad Fareed Ayaz and two sons of Abu Muhammad. They can perform in multiple languages including Urdu, Punjabi, Arabic, Farsi, and Hindi, incorporating classical raag in various genres of classical music such as Dhrupad, Khayal, Tarana, Thumri, and Dadra.
Ghazi Salahuddin is a senior journalist who writes a weekly column for The News. Before he became the launch editor of The News in Karachi in February 1991, he served Dawn in a number of important positions, including News Editor. During the martial law of General Ziaul Haq, his column ‘Karachi Diary’ was a leading voice of dissent. He has also been associated with the electronic media and was on the panel of PTV’s Kasauti quiz show. In recent years, he hosted a programme on books on Geo TV. Mr Salahuddin is also a social activist and human rights defender. He is a recipient of the President’s Pride of Performance Award in journalism and was presented with the Bibliophile of the Year Award 2011 by the National Book Foundation.
Gul Zaib Shakeel
Head of Content Development and the Head Writer at Teeli—Pakistan’s leading digital entertainment channel producing short narrative and social satire for the urban youth of Pakistan. Prior to her transition into the digital realm, she worked on films, telefilms, and TVCs. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Film and Television Production from SZABIST, majoring in Screenwriting. She is a writing tutor with The School of Writing and visiting faculty, teaching Media Studies, at Karachi Grammar School.
Hafeez Jamali is a scholar and civil servant whose research focuses on the effects of globalization and development on the livelihoods of marginalized communities. He is currently serving as Additional Secretary (Federal Projects) in the Government of Balochistan. He has previously taught as an Assistant Professor in the School of Arts, Sciences, and Humanities at Habib University, Pakistan and led the Interdisciplinary Development Research Center (IDRAC) at HU. His research focuses on the anthropology of globalization and development, the history of Indian Ocean Trade, and the politics of identity and place in Balochistan (Pakistan).
An Urdu fiction writer and literary critic from Attock, Punjab. His first writings were published while he was still at school and his first book was published when he was a university student. Hameed Shahid has authored several collections of short stories, a novel, and literary criticisms. His book Dehshat mein Mohabbat was nominated for both the 6th UBL Literary Excellence and KLF awards (2016) and was declared a winner at the UBL Literary Excellence Award in 2017. He received Tamgha-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan in 2017.
A writer, critic, and former editor of Dawn’s culture website IMAGES. Hamna’s work, as a journalist, focuses on the arts, gender politics, and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in Slate, Salon.com, Vogue, Herald, and more.
Hamza Iftikar is a Karachi-based spoken word poet and visual artist whose work revolves around themes of identity, body, and family. He is a member of the Spoken Stage collective and was awarded National Championship at the 2017 Pakistan Poetry Slam in Lahore. Hamza is currently studying medicine at the Aga Khan University in Karachi
Born in Lyari, Karachi, Hani Baloch is a human rights activist and trainer of fundamental basic rights. She was an appointed researcher at the Sindh Commission on the status of women in the Government of Sindh. Currently, she is conducting fieldwork for the project of Small Action = Big Change. She also takes a keen interest in sport and is Vice Chairperson at Jafa Girls Football Academy Lyari. Hani is passionate about women’s empowerment and believes that the nexus of change will come from collective behavioural awareness in men.
A banker by profession, Haroon Khalid is a Chief Compliance Officer at a large Pakistani bank. He grew up in a literary environment and has written satires and essays for various newspapers, which have been collected and compiled as a book. He is the author of Melody of a Tear and Threadbare.
In her early 20s, Harriet Sandys travelled alone to Afghanistan to see for herself the plight of the refugees. Having trained as an oriental carpet restorer in London, she spent her time in the bazaars and learnt to speak Dari. Over the next fifteen years, she would travel alone across the Middle and Near East, sourcing textiles for her oriental carpet restoration business and starting a silk weaving project for refugees in Afghanistan. She now runs her own business selling oriental textiles in the United Kingdom. She is well versed on silk ikat and oriental carpets and has spoken at the Society for Oriental and African Studies and the Royal Society for Asian Affairs.
A leading Urdu and English language poet, essayist, and a columnist. Harris Khalique has published nine collections of verse and two books of nonfiction including Crimson Papers: Reflections on Struggle, Suffering, and Creativity in Pakistan. His poetry has been anthologized internationally and translated into several languages. He is a recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance and the UBL Literary Excellence Award. He has worked professionally and voluntarily for community development and human rights. Currently, he is the Secretary-General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
Filmmaker, journalist, and cultural critic, Hasan Zaidi is currently the Editor Magazines at Dawn, overseeing the newspaper’s weekly print magazines Eos, Icon, and Young World. Thrice recipient of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society’s award for excellence in journalism, he has worked for print, television, radio, and digital. As a filmmaker, he has directed and produced a number of documentaries, music videos, and the pioneering digital feature film Raat Chali Hai Jhoom Ke. He has also exhibited his photographic work and was the Festival Director of KaraFilm Festival. In 2003, the World Economic Forum nominated him as one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow in the Media.
A Pakistani dramatist, playwright, and scriptwriter, Haseena Moinhas written several plays for stage, radio, and television, some of which have gained international repute. She is the recipient of the Pride of Performance award for her services to the performing arts in Pakistan. She wrote Pakistan’s first original television script, Kiran Kahani, aired in the early 1970s. Some popular drama serials she wrote include Ankahi, Tanhaiyaan, Dhoop Kinaray, Uncle Urfi, and Shahzori. She was the first Pakistani writer to write dialogues for a Bollywood film, Henna.
Translator, trained classical dancer, and proprietor of Maktaba-e-Danyal. Hoori Noorani has taught Russian language at the Russian Cultural Centre, Karachi, before joining Maktaba-e-Danyal. Currently, the publishing house is working on translations of Russian classical literature into Urdu. Hoori Noorani has translated Genrikh A. Borovik’s famous play Interview in Buenos Aires from Russian into Urdu. Maktaba-e-Danyal has published renowned authors such as Mushtaq Ahmad Yousufi, Sibte Hassan, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Iftikhar Arif, Qurratul Ain Hyder, Gulzar, and others.
Huma Baqai is an Associate Professor, Director Public Affairs and Communication, and former Chairperson, Department of Social Sciences, Institute of Business administration, Karachi. Additionally, she has been associated with the media for the past several years, both as an analyst and anchorperson. She has anchored current affairs shows on NewsOne and PTV. Presently, she is associated with Chanel 24 and Radio Pakistan. She has also taught at the Department of International Relations, Karachi University for 10+ years. A visiting faculty at Air War College, NIMS Karachi, and Quetta, she is also a corporate trainer and coach besides being a mother of three and a wife.
Chairperson Youth Committee, Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi. Huma Mir is a well-known actor, anchor, author, broadcaster, and columnist. Starting her career as a child star from PTV, she has performed landmark roles in many teleplays. Huma Mir is a regular contributor of articles in leading newspapers and magazines in Pakistan and Canada. She is the author of two books Kuch Aur (short stories) and Yeh Hein Talat Hussain (biography).
Iftikhar Ahmad Usmani
Iftikhar Ahmad Usmani, also known as Iftikhar Iffi, is a Pakistani actor, filmmaker, columnist, playwright, and poet. He wrote the script of the drama Naagin (Geo Kahani) which was widely watched in Pakistan and the UK.
A prominent Urdu poet, scholar, and literary personality. Several collections of Iftikhar Arif’s poetry have been published, including the rendition of his poetry into English, titled Written in the Season of Fear (OUP, 2003). Arif has headed the Pakistan Academy of Letters, National Language Authority, and the National Book Foundation. He has been President of the ECO Cultural Institute in Tehran, Iran. He presently heads the National Language Promotion Department, National History and Literary Heritage Division, Islamabad. He has received numerous awards, including the President’s Pride of Performance Award.
An ENT specialist with an interest in history, which took root during Iftikhar Salahuddin’s extensive travels through several Muslim countries. On several occasions, he has been invited by universities in Pakistan and abroad to speak on Muslim history. He is the author of the award-winning Jerusalem: A Journey Back in Time and If Stones Could Speak: Echoes from the Past. He is an avid photographer and his work has been exhibited in art galleries and published in various magazines and newspapers.
An English language poet, editor, and critic, Ilona is also a designer and printmaker. Presently Associate Editor of The Aleph Review, she has also freelanced for Nukta, Newsline, and ArtNow, and written essays on Pakistani poetry in English. Her poems have been published in books and literary journals, locally and abroad, in print and digital media. She has worked as an editor for the Alhamra Literary Review, and guest edited a special issue of Pakistani poetry in English for the Canadian poetry magazine Vallum.
Imrana Maqsood is a novelist and playwright. Wife of the celebrated entertainment personality, Anwar Maqsood, she has her own claims to fame. She has written cookbooks and is a three-time winner of the President’s Award, National Book Foundation for Children’s Supplementary Readers. Following her biography of her husband, Uljhe Suljhe Anwar, her most recent work is Subah ka Nashta, Shaam ki Chai: Imrana Maqsood kay Sath, which she launched at the Karachi Literature Festival in 2019.
A doctor, public speaker, motivational trainer, and youth parliamentarian. An acclaimed debater nationwide, she has also hosted TV shows and been part of on-air debating contests, too. She has trained thousands of individuals in the art of communication skills at elementary and professional levels. Her book, Jab Woh Bolti Hai (2017), comprises her winning speeches, declamations, and debates. Currently, she is working at PNS Shifa Hospital, Karachi.
Irshad Abdul Kadir
Irshad Abdul Kadir is a lawyer and English language author who lives in Karachi. He lectures in law and specializes in Common Law studies and the place of reasoning in legal traditions. His articles on different subjects, such as socio-economic issues, governance and politics, appear periodically in newspapers and journals. He is also the author of Clifton Bridge, a collection of short stories and a novel called, The Deriabad Chronicles. Prodigal is his third work of fiction.
Renowned economist and educationist, Ishrat Husain is Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, with the status of a federal minister. A former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, he also served as Dean and Director of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, from 2008 to 2016. He had a distinguished career at the World Bank for two decades (1979–99) and was a member of the Mahathir Commission that developed Vision 2020 for the Islamic Development Bank. Dr Husain has been conferred the Hilal-e-Imtiaz and the Nishan-e-Pakistan awards.
Writer, filmmaker, policy analyst, former senator, and federal minister, with an interest in voluntary services, communications, environmental issues, politics, and public affairs. Javed Jabbar has fifteen books, including anthologies, and one screenplay to his credit. The third edition of his book, Pakistan—Unique Origins; Unique Destiny? was published in 2017, along with its Urdu and Sindhi language translations. His anthology of selected writings, Pathways won the UBL Literary Award for the Best Non-Fiction English book at the 9th KLF (2018). Three versions of his book What is Pakistaniat? have been prescribed in the curriculum of several education and training institutions. He is the chair and chief executive of JJ Media (Pvt.) Ltd.
A senior journalist working for Express News and the author of two poetry books, Aalam Meray Dil Ka (1989) and Koi Dekh Na Lay(2012). Javed Saba has represented Pakistan many times abroad as a poet.
A graduate of National College of Arts and California College of Arts, Kaif Ghaznavi aims to create healthy dialogue of cultural practices within the community by curating ‘Bunvat Festival’ annually. She believes in celebrating culture through music, dance, and theatre focusing on the Urdu language. Her portfolio for the variety of platforms she performs on/for, informs us that she carefully chooses her content, with the impact on the society taking precedence. She is currently holding a position of Head of Media Sciences at Iqra University.
Dr Kaiser Bengali is an economist with over 35 years’ experience in teaching, research, and policy advice. He was Managing Director of the Social Policy & Development Centre, Karachi. Dr Bengali was consultant for Economic Affairs and head of the Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit, Government of Balochistan. Earlier, he was advisor to the Chief Minister of Sindh for Planning & Development. He was also the first head of the Benazir Income Support Programme. From being Sindh’s representative on the 7th National Finance Commission (NFC), he has now been nominated on the 8th NFC to represent Balochistan. He is the author/editor of several books and regularly contributes to print and electronic media.
Based in Karachi, Barrister Kamal Azfar is a well-known lawyer, writer and political figure. Educated at Government College, Lahore, and Balliol College, Oxford, he was called to the Bar at the Inner temple, London. Returning to Pakistan, he established his Law practice in Karachi. As a writer, Barrister Azfar has mostly written on issues concerning economics, history and politics. He was Research Assistant to Nobel Prize Winning Economist Gunnar Myrdal on his magnum opus The Asian Drama: 1960-63. His later publications have included The Chinese Synthesis (1975), Pakistan: Political and Constitutional Dilemmas (1987), an anthology titled Pakistan under the Military (1991), Asian Drama Revisited (1992), Good Governance (1994), Discovery of Pakistan (2005), and, most recently, Waters of Lahore (2014).
In his political career, he has throughout been a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party. He has been a Member of the Sindh Assembly and of the Senate. He has held such key offices as Sindh Minister for Finance, Planning and Development, Federal Minister for Local Government and Rural Development and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister, and Governor of Sindh.
Karamat Ali, a founder member and currently Executive Director, Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research (PILER), is a veteran trade unionist who played an important role in the labour movement of the 1970s and since then has been committed to labour rights, education and regional peace advocacy and research. Karamat Ali has been a key activist in the peace process between India and Pakistan and in the South Asian Region as a whole. He is one of the founding members of the people’s SAARC, and a number of regional peace coalitions. Karamat Ali was felicitated with the Didi Nirmala Deshpandae South Asian award for peace and justice in 2013, in recognition of his lifelong efforts for South Asian peace.
A poet, fiction writer, translator, and a broadcast journalist by profession, Syed Kashif Raza has authored six books including two volumes of poetry and a novel. His critical essays and political articles, both in Urdu and English, are published frequently. He has translated the writings of Milan Kundera, Jorge Luis Borges, James Joyce, and Noam Chomsky into Urdu. Raza edits a quarterly review of books, Karachi Review. His first Urdu novel is Char Darvesh aur Aik Katchwa (2018). He has also translated Muhammad Hanif’s novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, into Urdu. He has recently edited a volume containing the Urdu translation of Eqbal Ahmad’s writings.
A singer, actor, songwriter, theatrical producer, radio presenter, and performer. Khaled Anam is a founding member of Grips Theatre, Pakistan. He has performed in both children’s and regular theatre all over Pakistan and abroad. As part of a core team responsible for translating and adapting over 100 episodes of Open Sesame of Children’s Television Workshop into Urdu, he translated and re-recorded the songs of all episodes. In recognition of his services to children’s theatre and education, Anam has been conferred the Goethe-Institut Award of Merit. Author of Bachon kay Geet, he is also an ambassador for the Children’s Literature Festival. He has been awarded the President’s Pride of Performance.
Khalid Ahmad studied theatre at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Upon his return to Pakistan, he devoted himself fully to the performing arts. Since then his contribution to theatre and television drama has been immense. He also has a long experience of actor training and is presently the Head, Dramatic Studies, National Academy of Performing Arts, Karachi (NAPA).
An assistant professor in the Department of Urdu, University of Karachi, Khalid Amin is assistant editor of a peer-reviewed research journal Tehseel. He has also edited and translated many seminal texts of Western tradition into Urdu. Throughout his academic career, he won numerous awards in the debating circuit. He supports dialogue between East and West through positive change in the dichotomy of society.
A trained fighter pilot in the PAF, Khalid Banuri holds two decades of expertise in arms control and diplomacy. He has been part of Pakistan’s official delegations for bilateral dialogues and multilateral negotiations for several years. He has taught at public sector universities, published on diverse topics; and has been decorated with a Sitara-e-Imtiaz for policy analysis, and a Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military) for services rendered in the PAF.
Banuri has been teaching ‘Use of Force and International Law’ at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad since 2017.
Khalid Mehmood Shaikh
A career bureaucrat and a member of the founding team of the Sindh Public Private Partnership Unit (PPP) where Khalid Mehmood Shaikh developed legislative, institutional, and legal framework. He played an integral role in the creation of the PDF and VGF funds for PPP initiatives. Currently, the Director General of both the PPP units and the Managing Director of KWSB. Khalid Mehmood Shaikh has also served as Director General of the Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Programme (KNIP). Also associated with Karachi Municipal Corporation as its financial advisor, he has also worked with City District Government Karachi (CDGK) for more than a decade.
One of the best-known feminist poets of Pakistan, her first collection of poems, Lab-i-Goya (1968), won the prestigious Adamjee Prize for Literature. Founder of Hawwa (Eve), an organization striving to empower women financially, Kishwar Naheed has also served as the director general of PNCA. A recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2000. Her poems have been translated into many languages including English, French, and Italian. Oxford University Press has not only published her works in Urdu (Intikhab-e-Kalam: Kishwar Naheed and Pakistan ki Tehzeeb-o-Saqafat), but also English translations of her works (The Distance of a Shout [poetry], A Bad Woman’s Story [memoirs], The Culture and Civilization of Pakistan).
An award-winning journalist, Maheen Usmani has worked in television, print, and digital media. She has reported on human smuggling, refugees, minorities, health, education, climate change, special children, and culture and heritage. Author of The Mercurial Mr Bhutto and Other Short Stories, she has made documentaries on the separation of East Pakistan and the hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Maheen has also worked for the SDPI (Islamabad), Mahbub ul Haq HDC (Islamabad), and the Aga Khan Foundation (Pakistan/UK).
Mahim Maher is a journalist who has been the city editor for Karachi at Daily Times and The Express Tribune. She writes on Karachi’s urban expansion, water, city government, roads and transport. Mapping has been an important part of this storytelling. She created the Karachi crime map with designer Jacek Utko for The Express Tribune.
Mahtab Akbar Rashdi
A well-known television host and anchor, government official, politician, and a campaigner for human rights. Mahtab Akbar Rashdi’s articles are regularly published in newspapers and journals in Sindhi, Urdu, and English. She has also written a book titled Indo-Pak Relations. Mahtab has been honoured with a number of awards including the Pride of Performance by the President of Pakistan. She is currently on the board of directors of HUM TV and NAPA, and is chairperson of Rahnuma–FPAP.
Maniza Naqviis a novelist and short story writer. She has written four novels: Mass Transit, On Air, Stay with Me, and A Matter of Detail. Sarajevo Saturdays is a collection of her short stories and poems. Her short story ‘An Impossible Shade of Home Brew’ is included in the anthology And Then the World Changed. She writes fiction and essays as a Monday columnist for 3 Quarks daily.com and has contributed essays for the monthly magazine Herald, including an essay on Pakistan’s English fiction. She has recently published her new book A Guest in the House.
Mariam Riaz Paracha is the co-founder of Spoken Stage – an organization that promotes freedom of expression through art, performance, and writing in Pakistan. Spoken Stage represented Pakistan in 2016 at India’s first national poetry slam in Bangalore. Mariam recently completed her Master’s in Theatre Education from Emerson College, USA. Mariam is currently Assistant Director at Mano Animation Studios, Pakistan’s first hand drawn animation studio.
An assistant professor in the Social Development and Policy Program at Habib University, Karachi, Massimo Ramaioli taught for two years at the Center for International Exchange and Education in Amman, and studied Arabic in Tunis, Damascus, Beirut, and Fes. He is also a regular contributor for Quadrante Futuro for the Einaudi Research Center, Turin, where he writes about Middle East political economy.
An eminent novelist, playwright, journalist, and ‘Inshaiya’ writer. Masud Mufti has served in the Civil Service of Pakistan (District Management Group). After retirement in 1994, he wrote articles for the English and Urdu press of Pakistan. Nowadays, he is pursuing his life-long hobby of writing prose in Urdu. His remarkable books include Hum Nafs, Chehray, Chehray aur Mohray, and Lamhe. A book titled Masud Mufti: Life and Works, compiled by Dr Maqsooda Hussain has been published by the Pakistan Academy of Letters, Islamabad.
Poetry has been a powerful pathway for Maya Nadeem to process her own emotions since she was six years old. With a background in sociology and spiritual psychotherapy, Maya has also taken training in creative facilitation and in movement for trauma and trauma sensitive mindfulness. Trained in suicide intervention by ASIST, she has been a volunteer at the Toronto Distress Centre for the past twelve years on its crisis phone lines, giving in person suicide and homicide loss bereavement support. Her art, writing, and dance explores the nuances of the inner self and the human journey.
Former deputy director of ARY News Television and the secretary general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists, Mazhar Abbas is a well-known champion of press freedom in Pakistan and has worked as a journalist for twenty-seven years.
Mehjabeen Ghazal Ansari
A lawyer, a renowned poet, and author of Adhurey Khwaab, Sunehry Khwaab, and Zindagi. She is chairperson of the Yorkshire Adabee Forum (a literature society working to promote and celebrate the Urdu language). The Arts Council of Pakistan has recognized her contribution to Urdu Literature. Her poetry has been translated into Arabic and has been included in the PhD curriculum of Al Azhar University, Cairo.
Mubashir Zaidi is a journalist and television personality, co-hosting the popular current affairs show Zara Hut Kay on Dawn News. He is a former editor with Dawn TV and DAWN.COM. He writes for India’s leading newspaper The Hindu, and has earlier worked as special correspondent for BBC, LA Times, Hindustan Times and Voice of America. Mubashir has written extensively on politics, terrorism, and nuclear black market.
Muhammad Ammar Abbasi
A public speaking trainer, Muhammad Ammar Abbasi is completing his Master’s in Political Science. He is also serving as the President of one of the biggest students’ societies in Pakistan, Karachi University Debates, Dialogue and Discussion Society (KUDS).
He is a moderator at Bazm-e-Talaba and has won over 35 public speaking contests. He has also presented his research work on the subject of ‘Relief and Rehabilitation in Pakistan’ at the International Tipping Point Conference. He considers Public Speaking his social responsibility and chooses to speak on topics such as transgender and women’s rights. He has received a gold medal from his university for his contribution to fostering an environment of discussion and dialogue.
Muhammad Aurangzeb joined HBL in April 2018 as the President and CEO. A former CEO of JP Morgan’s Global Corporate Bank based in Asia, he has a rich international banking experience of over thirty years in other senior management roles at ABN AMRO and RBS based in Amsterdam and Singapore. Muhammad Aurangzeb is the only Pakistani to be invited to the exclusive membership of the Global CEO Council organized by WSJ/DowJones group. He is also Chairman, Pakistan Banks Association; Director, Pakistan Business Council; and Council Member, Institute of Bankers Pakistan. He is an alumnus of The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
Muhammad Hassan Miraj
Muhammad Hassan Miraj is a creative writer, published author, playwright, and communication practitioner, yet remains at heart a storyteller. Besides writing for the widely read English-language Pakistani daily Dawn, Miraj has scripted short films and theatrical works. His first book, Rail ki Seeti (2016), explores the impact of modernity and politics on the rural landscape. He is currently a key member of a London-based strategic advisory firm CTD Advisors and divides his time between the United Kingdom and Pakistan.
A leading journalist, analyst, and commentator. A regular TV personality, for the last two decades Mujahid Barelvi has been appearing on television without a break. He has written articles for political journals and newspapers, and has authored books on Afghanistan and Balochistan, as well as a book in memory of Habib Jalib. An avid globetrotter, he has also penned a travelogue Khuwahish-e-Safar main Rahay about his traveling experience with all the heads of state and participation in numerous conferences.
A literary critic, editor, and author of the definitive work Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English. A regular contributor to the Pakistani press, Muneeza is editor (South Asia) for the online Literary Encyclopedia, and has edited three pioneering anthologies of Pakistani English literature, including the award-winning And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women (2005). She is bibliographic representative for The Journal of Commonwealth Literature and serves on the editorial board of The Journal of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies. She was jury member for the 2013 DSC Prize and Regional Chairperson (Eurasia) of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize from 2009–2011.
Mushaal Hussein Mullick
Mushaal Hussein Mullick is a peace activist, philanthropist, painter, conservationist, advocate of rights of women and children in war/conflict zones. She sells her artwork for charity to aid women development. She is the wife of Mohammad Yasin Malik, the leader and chair of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. As chairperson of an NGO, Peace & Culture Organization, she works for global peace and harmony and campaigns for a peaceful settlement of the Kashmir conflict. Her interest in political economy has led her to promote and conserve Kashmir’s cultural heritage.
Nadeem Farooq Paracha
A historian, author, cultural critic, and a regular columnist for Dawn. Nadeem Farooq Paracha has authored five best-selling books on the socio-political history of Pakistan namely End of the Past (2016); The Pakistan Anti-Hero (2017); Points of Entry (2018); Muslim Modernism: A Case for Naya Pakistan (2019) and Soul Rivals (2020). In 2018, Nadeem was accepted as a research scholar at the International Forum for Democratic Studies in Washington DC. He presently heads the Ideas department at Adcom Leo Burnett.
A visiting Research Fellow at IBA, Karachi, Nadeem Hussain has extensive experience of working with government, international development institutions, and not-for-profit organizations. He has attended a student leaders’ programme at SUSI in the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, and has worked with the State Bank of Pakistan where he led a team of research enumerators to collect information on consumer expectations and confidence.
Apart from being a certified psychotherapist, Nadya A.R. is a lifelong learner, educationist, humanitarian, and author. In 2006, she published her first novel, Kolachi Dreams. Her second novel, Invisible Ties, has received both critical and popular acclaim for its unconventional and original storyline. It is also one of the few titles added to the Indian Parliament library in the literature category and has been nominated for the Valley of Words award in the fiction category. Nadya has spoken at eminent educational institutions apart from appearing on various shows on television to talk about gender and pertinent social issues.
An independent human rights and political activist. Naghma Iqtidar was the only Pakistani Human Rights Defender (HRD) selected for the HRD World Summit (2018) in Paris. Amnesty International also invited her for a follow-up series of lectures in colleges and universities on the work of human rights defenders. Currently she is Joint Secretary of Democratic Youth Front, an association working for rights of the youth and students, as well as the revival of student unions. She played a significant role in reviving Democratic Students Federation in Karachi.
UK-based Najma Usman is an Urdu poet and novelist who hails from Karachi. Her poetry and prose has appeared in magazines across the UK and the Subcontinent. She has published three books of verse Shakh e Hina (1989), Karey Mausamoon ki Zad par (1999), and Khayal key Khushboo (2013). A fourth book is forthcoming. She has also authored a short story collection, Pairh se Bichrey Shakh, and a novel, Teen Nasloon ki Kahan. Najma Usman has received several awards, including two Lifetime Achievement Awards, from the Yorkshire Adabi Forum and Bazme Sukhan UK.
An Urdu poet, short story writer, columnist, and translator residing in Canada. She has published seven books: Aadhi Gawahi; Samundar Rasta Dega; Jis Tan Lage; Shumali America ke Haqiqi Bashindon ke Shaer; Khush Guzranguzar Gae; European Nau Aabadyat ke Aboriginal Adab Per Asrat; and Teele Bhae Aag. Aadhi Gawahi was chosen as the best book of the year and received an award from Los Angeles Urdu Markaz. Samunder Rasta Dega also received the best book of the year award from Washington Adbi Markaz. She is the chair of the Canadian Urdu Writers Forum.
Nasir Abbas Nayyar
A scholar, author, and short story writer, Nasir Abbas Nayyar is the former Director General, Urdu Science Board, Lahore, and currently Associate Professor, Urdu, University of the Punjab, Lahore. His book Urdu Adab ki Tashkeel e Jadid won the best Urdu Book Prize, KLF 2017, and the Baba-e-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq Award 2016 for Urdu prose from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. His book, Us Ko Ik Shakhs Samjhna to Munasib hi Nahi, was awarded the UBL Literary Prize 2019 (Non-Fiction) for the best Urdu book. His book Nazm Kaisay Parhain is the first of its kind in Urdu. Raakh Se Likhi Gai Kitab is his third collection of short stories. He regularly writes on literary issues in The News and occasionally in Dawn.
A Karachi-based poet, senior journalist, and media person with over twenty-two years of experience in print and electronic journalism. Nasira Zuberi has worked for the Business Recorder, Aaj News, Geo News, and News One and has published three collections of her poems. Her book, Teesra Qadam, was launched at the 8th KLF. She is presently working on her fourth book.
Natalia Gul Jilani Baghdadi
Pakistani standup comedian, theatre actor, voice over artist, improviser at The Khawatoons (South Asia’s first all-girls comedy troupe), and a practicing dentist. As a solo standup comedian, Natalia has performed in major cities of Pakistan and internationally. Currently, she is running her own startup called The Jungle, which is providing unique entertainment experiences.
Neelam Ahmad Bashir
An author and a poet, Neelam Ahmad Bashir has emerged as an Urdu writer with a vision and creative consciousness. Eldest of the Ahmad Bashir clan, she writes poetry in Urdu and Punjabi. Well known for her contributions in today’s Urdu literary scene, she writes candidly and fearlessly on controversial and bold subjects. Neelam has five short story collections including one in Punjabi, a book of essays, two travelogues, and a new novel, Taoos Faqat Rung, to her credit.
A doctor and aesthetic surgeon by qualification, Dr Nezihe Hussain owns and runs The SWOTS Guide Pvt Ltd—the largest social media platform in Pakistan for food and related information.
An art interventionist whose seminal initiatives have expanded the space for art publication, curation and public art. Niilofur Farrukh co-edited Pakistan’s Radioactive Decade: An Informal Cultural History of the 1970s (2019) with Amin Gulgee and John McCarry. She was the founder editor of NuktaArt, Pakistan’s contemporary art magazine. She has served on the board of the International Art Critics Association (AICA) as vice president. She is one of the founders of Karachi Biennale Trust (2017) that established the Karachi Biennale and currently serves as its Managing Trustee and CEO.
Noorul Huda Shah
Noorul Huda Shah is a well-known and respected short story writer, playwright, poet, columnist, and broadcaster. She writes both in Urdu and her native language Sindhi. A familiar name in the Pakistani drama industry, she is famous for very popular serials including Jungle, Marvi, Bebak, Meri Adhuri Moahabat, Ajayb Ghar, Adhoora Milan, and Ishq Gumshuda. She was CEO of A-Plus television. Her work reflects the depth of her thoughts on cultural and socioeconomic issues that prevail in the country.
A qualified landscape consultant and horticulturalist, Nusrat Khawaja has a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College. She is also a freelance writer and critic on art and literature. She is a regular contributor of articles on literature and contemporary Pakistani art. She was a participant of the Discursive Committee of the Karachi Biennale.
Omar Shahid Hamid
Omar Shahid Hamid is a senior police officer and author of four novels. His first novel, The Prisoner , was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 and is now being adapted for a feature film. His second novel The Spinner’s Tale won the 2016 Karachi Literature Festival Prize. He received the award again for his third novel The Party Worker at the Karachi Literature Festival in 2018, which is now being adapted for a Netflix series. He has been widely quoted and regularly featured in several publications including The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, The Times, Le Monde, Reuters, CNN, and BBC.
A leading Pakistani journalist and analyst with twenty-eight years’ experience, Owais Tohid presently hosts a current affairs show and appears on national and international channels. He has headed Pakistan’s private channels, worked for Agence France-Presse and BBC World Service. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, CS Monitor, and published in The Guardian and Time magazine. He has covered conflicts in Pakistan’s tribal belt, extensively travelled in Afghanistan pre and post 9/11, Sri Lanka, and Israel.
A prominent journalist and literary personality, Peerzada Salman is a feature writer and a staff member with Dawn. He writes on a variety of subjects related to art, culture, and literature. He dabbles in short fiction and is a bilingual (Urdu and English) poet. In December 2017, his first collection of poems in English, titled Bemused, was published, followed by his first collection of Urdu poems, Waqt, in 2018.
A leading nuclear physicist, public figure, and commentator. Currently, Pervez Hoodbhoy is the Zohra and Z.Z. Ahmad Distinguished Professor of Physics and Mathematics at FC College University, Lahore. Earlier, he taught for forty years at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. In 1968, he won the Baker Award for Electronics and in 1984 the Abdus Salam Prize for Mathematics. In 2003, he was awarded UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for the popularization of science. In 2011, he was included in the list of 100 most influential global thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine. He was a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs from 2013 to 2018.
A noted Pakistani scholar, Urdu poet, scientist, and educationist. Pirzada Qasim has served as Vice Chancellor of Federal Urdu University and the University of Karachi. He is currently the Vice Chancellor of Ziauddin University. He has been engaged in higher education in Pakistan for the last fifty-three years and has served in the capacity of vice chancellor for about eighteen years.
Qamar Ahmed is an acclaimed cricket writer, broadcaster, and former first-class cricketer (early 1950s–1960s) from Pakistan. He entered cricket journalism and broadcasting in England and has set a record of sorts for covering more matches in his fifty-year journalistic career than any other living cricket reporter/writer—450 Test matches; 738 ODIs; and nine World Cups. An honorary life member of Cricket Writers’ Club of England since 2011, he has contributed in most cricket periodicals of the world; been a commentator on radio/television; and authored many books on cricket.
A development professional with specialization in strategy and policy development, political economy analysis, and social development. Rafiullah Kakar has provided technical assistance and policy advice to the Government of Pakistan and the Balochistan government on key development issues including CPEC, public-private partnership, and education reforms. He has previously worked at the Commonwealth Secretariat London and is also a member of UNESCO’s Global Expert Group on Citizenship Education and Education for Peace. He was the 2013 Rhodes Scholar from Pakistan.
The lineage of Raga Boyz goes back to Ustad Kalluji (Darbar Gayak of Patiala State, the Maharaja of Patiala, Bhupinder Singh) followed by his sons and the greatest singers of their era, Ustad Ali Baksh Jarnail and Ustad Barey Fateh Ali Khan. The legacy of this family continued with the descendant, and the pioneers of the modern classical singing, Ustad Aashiq Ali Khan, Ustad Akhtar Hussain Khan, and his sons Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, and living legend Ustad Hamid Ali Khan. The band Raga Boyz is the ninth generation of this family.
Rashid Masood Alam
A chartered accountant by profession, Rashid Masood Alam has more than twenty years of professional experience at strategic positions within the global banking and corporate sectors, and audit/financial services. A former host of TV programmes at Dawn TV and Sun TV, mainly on economy, political issues, and current affairs. Alam also writes on music, art, and human rights, and volunteers his time to teaching and supporting The Citizens Foundation education drive for underprivileged children by mentoring them.
A multidisciplinary archival artist, curator, and art educator, Romila Kareem dedicates her time to projects revolving around printmaking, history of art, and art education. She has also participated in a number of national and international artist group shows. She conceived and curated First International Print Biennial Karachi with the collaboration of VM Art Gallery, a research-based project that highlights the journey of Printmaking in Pakistan. Her most recent research-based show ‘Walking through Play’ (2019) was an interactive and experimental show focusing on the relationship between play and learning.
Poet, writer, scholar, visiting faculty at the Urdu Department, University of Karachi, former Assistant Editor Qaumi Zaban, and a former member, editorial board, Urdu, a research journal published by Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu. Rukhsana Saba is the author of Raakh Raushan He (poetry collection); Taweel Nazmen aur Jamiluddin Aali ki Nazm ‘Insan’ ka Tajziati Mutaalea; Jehaat-e-Sir Syed (compilation); Mutaalea-e-Ghaib ki Jehten (compilation); and Gawahi Mery Ehd ki (compilation).
A director on the board of the Children’s Literature Festival (CLF); general secretary of the Karachi Conference Foundation; and author of Karachiwala: A Subcontinent Within a City. Rumana Husain is the winner of the 4th UBL-Jang Literary Excellence Award (2014) in the children’s books category for her graphic story Dr Akhtar Hameed Khan. She has written and illustrated over fifty children’s books and developed numerous teacher’s manuals for publishers, both locally and abroad. Rumana has presented over thirty programmes on art and architecture for TV One.
A filmmaker and producer, best known for her independent documentary films. Sabiha Sumar’s first feature-length film was Khamosh Pani (2003). She is known for exploring themes of gender, religion, patriarchy, and fundamentalism in Pakistan. She, along with Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and Samar Minallah, are the only three Pakistani women independent documentary filmmakers to have screened their work outside of Pakistan.
Sabrina Toppa is an American journalist based in Pakistan. Her stories have been published by The Guardian, TIME Magazine, The Washington Post, NBC News, Public Radio International, and Al Jazeera English, among other outlets. She previously worked in the offices of Mother Jones in San Francisco, TIME Magazine in Hong Kong, The Dhaka Tribune in Bangladesh, and The Kathmandu Post in Nepal. In 2016, she was a Panos South Asia fellow on migrant labor, reporting on labour conditions across the Middle East and Pakistan. Her reporting in Pakistan won the 2018 Humanitarian Reporting Award from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Center for Excellence in Journalism, and was shortlisted for the Thomson Foundation’s Young Journalist Award.
Sabyn Javeri is an award-winning short story writer and author of the novels Nobody Killed Her (2017) and Hijabistan (2019). She edited the Arzu Anthology of Student Voices (2018). Her short stories on the topics such as gender, class, and the immigrant experience, as well as her texts on creative writing, have been widely published. Her research is currently exploring the works of forgotten literary heroes of the subcontinent and developing a discourse related to cultural identity through creative writing. She holds a Master’s from the Oxford University and a PhD from the University of Leicester. She is currently Asst. Professor of Writing at New York University, Abu Dhabi.
An English language poet and short story writer, Sadaf Halai received a BA from Bennington College, a B.Ed. from York University, and a Master’s in Creative Writing from Boston University. She has been published in Ploughshares, Granta,Vallum, Aleph Review, and Journal of Postcolonial Writing. She has work forthcoming in Salmagundi, a quarterly periodical. One of her short stories was a finalist for the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers.
Author of At Freedom’s Limit: Islam and the Postcolonial Predicament—winner of the 2015 MLA Prize for a First Book—and a debut novel, The Empty Room—shortlisted for the 2019 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. She is Associate Professor of Postcolonial Studies at Rutgers University-Newark, where she also directs the multi-media and multi-disciplinary speaker series, ‘Postcolonial Questions and Performances’. She is currently co-editing a volume on Shahzia Sikander’s art, with Jan Howard of the RISD Museum, and working on her next academic book and novel.
Saima Saleem is a filmmaker, script writer, casting director, and creative head at Azadkhayal. She has been nominated twice for South Asia’s Promising Script Writers and has worked on Moor – Shortlisted foreign Language film in Oscars 2015. Saima has been a part of social impact campaigns that are recognized locally and internationally with Aurora, Effie, Lisbon International and Gold Clio awards. Known for her brave approach to cross-pollination of ideas, artists, and creative media, Saima is now all set to launch her own podcast.
Salman Tarek Kureshi
An English language poet, writer, and columnist. Salman Tarek Kureshi is presently engaged as an editorial consultant at Oxford University Press. Kureshi’s poems have appeared in anthologies such as Pieces of Eight; Legacy of the Indus; The Blue Wind;Dragonfly in the Sun; An Anthology; Journal of Postcolonial Writing; and a solo volume Landscapes of the Mind. Some of his poems and short stories have been published in the annual Pakistan Journal of Literature. As a columnist, he writes on socio-political topics in the weekly The Friday Times and the dailies Dawn and Daily Times.
An acclaimed actor, singer, and former model who predominantly works in Urdu cinema and television. Sanam Saeed is best known for portraying the role of Kashaf Murtaza in HUM TV’s Zindagi Gulzar Hai. After establishing herself as a leading actress in television, Sanam made her film debut with Bachaana (2016) and later appeared in a supporting role in Dobara Phir Se. Her performance in both films earned her nominations for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectively, at Lux Style Awards. For her performance in Cake (2018) she received nomination for Best Actress at Lux Style Awards and Pakistan Achievement Awards. In 2019, Saeed was named ‘Pride of Pakistan’ by Daily Times.
Sangeeta is a Pakistani film actress, filmmaker, and director of television drama serials. In 1969, Sangeeta appeared as a child star in the film Koh-e-Noor which was directed by Agha Husaini. In 1971, she moved to Lahore from Karachi and started a more serious career in Lollywood movies. Her role as a supporting actress in Riaz Shahid’s movie Yeh Aman (1971) was well-received by the public. She went on to act in dozens of other movies before deciding to become a film producer-director with her own film Society Girl in 1976. Sangeeta has over 120 films to her credit as an actress and a producer-director.
A filmmaker with over thirty years’ experience of advertising, producing, and directing television commercials, Saqib Malik made his first feature film, Baaji, in 2019. A commercially successful venture, Baaji has been part of official selections at several international film festivals. Saqib has also served as a jury member for renowned award platforms in the country. He has also written on culture and cinema for Dawn, Xtra, and the Herald. Currently, Saqib is in the process of working on new script ideas for his second feature production.
Sara Khan Pathan
SARA KHAN PATHAN is a multidisciplinary artist and educator. She is a Fine Arts and Islamic Arts Painting Instructor and also a senior Thesis Advisor at the Visual Studies Department, University of Karachi. She has worked as an Artist in Creative Education with CCE (Creativity Culture and Education), Ikon Gallery (England), Vasl Artists Collective and British Council Pakistan. Her creative educational methodologies have transformed children’s education in Bhit Island and several schools in Karachi. Animation and book illustration are also her forte. Sara’s illustrated travelogue and map ‘Bander Road to Kemari’ was published in Right to the City: Travel Guide Karachi.
Sardar Masood Khan
Sardar Masood Khan is currently serving as the 27th President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Before he became President, he was the Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad.
Sardar Masood Khan Khan has had a long diplomatic career with the Foreign Service of Pakistan. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he served as Director General United Nations, Director General Nuclear Disarmament, Director General Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Director General East Asia and Pacific. He was Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China and Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Headquarters.
Poet, painter, translator, and prose writer in the Punjabi and Urdu languages. Sarwat Mohiuddin is the author of Kannian; Seik Sunehray; Do Phool Khiley Mahia; Geet Hayati Hoey; and Raat ki Dhoop. She is the author of a children’s book, Pani ki Kahani and her forthcoming books for children are Shehed ki Kahani and a selected translation of Heer Waris Shah in English. She is a visiting lecturer at various national and international institutes and universities. Sarwat is also a member of the Pakistan Punjabi Literary Board and vice president of the Pak-Hungarian Friendship Association.
An MNA from Lahore, Shafqat Mahmood is the current Federal Minister for Education, Professional Training and Heritage as well as Prime Minister’s Special Representative on International Religious Freedom. In a distinguished political career, Mr Mahmood is a former Senator (1994–9); MNA (2013–8); and caretaker Federal Minister for Agriculture (1996–7). He was also Punjab Minister for Information and Culture (1999–2000). He has represented Pakistan at the UN and at the UNCHR.
With experience of over 25 years in the media industry, Shaheen Salahuddin is a well known TV anchor, journalist , and short story writer. She was formerly the head of Indus News Network.
Ms Salahuddin has represented Pakistan on numerous occasions Internationally. She is also a fellow of East West Centre(USA), founding member of the Think tank , KCFR (Karachi council of Foreign Relations). She has been presented with number of prestigious awards from various organizations including the Pakistan Federation of Business and Professional Women. She has worked as a peace activist between Pakistan and India along with the late Kuldeep Nayarand Iqbal Haider.
Shahid M. Amin
A veteran Pakistani diplomat, Shahid M. Amin spent 39 years in the Pakistan Foreign Service (1958–1997). He was Deputy Agent of Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch Arbitration Tribunal in Geneva. Since retirement from Foreign Service, Shahid Amin has written extensively for newspapers, is a well-known analyst on national television on foreign policy and national affairs. Since 1999, he has been Visiting Professor for International Relations and Pakistan Studies at the College of Business Management, Karachi. He is the recipient of Tamgha-e-Quaid-e-Azam for his work in the Rann of Kutch case.
A renowned educationist, linguist, teacher, researcher, academic, administrator, and a prolific writer for the last three decades. Dr Siddiqui has worked in several prestigious universities such as AKU, LUMS, and AIOU to name a few. Currently, he is Dean Faculty of Social Sciences at NUML, Islamabad. He is the author of Rethinking Education in Pakistan: Perception, Practices, and Possibilities;Education, Inequalities, and Freedom: A Sociopolitical Critique; Language, Gender, and Power: The Politics of Representation and Hegemony in South Asia; Education Policies in Pakistan: Politics, Projections, and Practices; Aadhay Adhooray Khwab a novel; andZair-e-Aasmaan.
Shahnaz Wazir Ali
Both a political personality and an educationist, Shahnaz Wazir Ali has served as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and thrice elected member of the National Assembly on Reserved Women’s Seat for
the Pakistan People’s Party. She is currently the President at Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology. Additionally, she is the Technical Coordinator for Primary Health Care and Family Planning
programs for the Government of Sindh. She has served for the last 35 years as a Trustee of the Education Trust Nasra School.
Shameneh Majid is a writer and performer who has performed across the country and was a featured performer at India’s first national poetry slam in Bangalore 2016, as part of a group. She currently works with Spoken Stage to help promote the spoken word as a medium, conducting workshops and hosting events, and helping people to express themselves. Her poetry explores the idea of the body, the self, womanhood, families, and interpersonal relationships.
Currently heading National Resources Limited, a company interested in exploring copper & gold resources in Balochistan especially the Reko Diq project at Chaghai, a former CEO of Engro Energy Ltd., Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company; Thar Foundation; and Chair of Engro Powergen Thar Pvt. Ltd. as well as Engro Powergen Qadirpur Ltd. Shamsuddin has also remained the Senior Vice President at Engro Foods. He was a member, Board of Directors, Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company, Thar Power Company Ltd. and Engro Energy Limited. Shamsuddin has an extensive career of over 30 years in manufacturing, sales, commercial and supply chain. He holds a BE (Mechanical) from NED University while he attained an MS in Industrial Engineering along with an MBA from Colorado State University. He strongly believes in commercial projects with a larger social purpose – which he declares as the soul of the project
A writer, culture revivalist, and curator/producer of classical, folk, and world music of Pakistan. Sharif Awan has written, produced, edited, and published a number of books on Pakistani culture and musical legacy. He has recorded and preserved indigenous Pakistani music and produced a number of quality audio and video albums. His project Indus Raag was Pakistan’s first ever entry to the prestigious Grammy Awards. Awan has won several international awards including the Global Music Awards (USA) gold and silver medals and Independent Music Awards (USA). He is the founder/director of the Tehzeeb Foundation of Pakistan, an organization working for the promotion, preservation and archiving of classical heritage, music, literature, and fine arts.
A Karachi-based journalist who has won various awards—for her stories and features—including the CEJ-IBA’s International Committee of the Red Cross inaugural award for humanitarian reporting, and four Agahi awards. Shazia Hasan’s book of short stories has also earned her the National Book Foundation Award. She is a senior staff reporter with Dawn newspaper. Concurrently, she is also a visiting faculty at the Institute of Business Management where she teaches several courses including creative writing to students of Media Studies.
Sheema Kermani is the founder of Tehrik-e-Niswan—a Cultural Action Group which uses the medium of theatre and performing arts to bring awareness on rights issues. She is a classical dancer, choreographer, teacher, theatre practitioner, and peace and women’s rights activist. She is Pakistan’s leading performance artist. Sheema teaches dance and drama and also acts for the stage and television. She combines this with activism, which includes Mobile Theatre in low-income areas. Sheema Kermani teaches at Szabist University, Karachi; National College of Arts, Lahore; and Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi.
Sheherbano Husain taught painting, drawing, and art theory at the IVS and the University of Karachi. She has freelanced as an art critic for Newsline and has been on curatorial committees of art exhibitions and on the jury of film festivals and degree shows. Sheherbano has participated in art residencies and held several exhibitions of her work at home and abroad. She received a blue ribbon (first prize) for a juried exhibition conducted by the Brazos Valley Art League, USA, during her stint at the Texas A&M University. She has been a nominee of the Lux Style Award (2003) and the Asian Sovereign Art Prize, Hong Kong (2011).
Sheheryar Munawar is a well-known actor, film producer, and ad-film director. He made his film debut as a lead actor and producer in 2016 with Ho Mann Jahaan. He was executive producer and lead actor for Parey Hut Love (2019). For his performances in Ho Mann Jahaan, Saat Din Mohabat In, and Parey Hut Love, he has won a Lux Style Award (2017); a Masala Award (2019); and a Pakistan International Screen Award (2020), respectively. Having achieved success early on in his career with hits like Aasmano pe Likha, Sheheryar quit television and joined Asim Raza’s The Vision Factory as an assistant director on ad-films.
Shehrbano Naqvi is a short story writer and poet. She not only writes for different platforms but is also pursuing teaching English and the skill of writing. Although she has always identified herself as a prose writer, over the past year, she has found a companionship in poetry as it helps her navigate her brother’s untimely passing away in 2018. His loss an inspiration, her writing now focuses primarily on grief, mental health, toxic conventions, and life after death.
Shehzad Ghias Shaikh is a Fulbright scholar, holds a Masters in Theatre from Brooklyn College, New York, and is one of the foremost stand-up comedians in Pakistan. Apart from multiple national tours, Shehzad has also performed in Dubai, Germany, Canada and toured the United States, including a one man special at the Broadway Comedy Club in New York. Shehzad also hosts the podcast, The Pakistan Experience and writes for multiple news publications.
Simi Kamal is Head of Programmes at Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, where she oversees several grant-making donor-funded programmes. She is also the Founder of Hisaar Foundation where she served three terms as Chairperson of the Board of Governors. She has over 37 years of experience in the water, environment, women development, and social development sectors. She has served on many boards, task forces, and committees in Pakistan and abroad, including the National Commission on the Status of Women, the South Asia Technical Advisory Committee and the Global Technical Committee of the Stockholm-based Global Water Partnership. She is the recipient of many national and international awards.
A former trustee of Vasl Artists’ Collective, Sohail Zuberi has served on the board of Pakistan Chowk Cultural Centre and currently works as a design consultant at Tali—a contemporary craft design brand. A former head of the Communication Design department at the IVS (2012–15), he has taught design, fine art, and photography courses at the University of Karachi and the Textile Institute of Pakistan. Sohail Zuberi was also the curator of the recently concluded International Public Art Festival, Karachi. He was featured in the inaugural edition of the Karachi Biennale 2017 and the second Karachi Biennale 2019.
Syed Jaffar Ahmed
Professor Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed is a Karachi-based scholar and academic who teaches Government and Politics, Modern Indian History, Research Methodology, and Contemporary Socio-political Issues of Pakistan. He has written and edited twenty books on history, politics and literature. His research articles have been published in international and national journals and anthologies. He is a frequent contributor to periodicals and newspapers. Dr Ahmed has participated and presented papers in numerous international and national conferences. Dr Ahmed is presently Director of the Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi. He has worked closely with civil society organizations particularly on the issues of rights, democratization and constitutional reforms. He has served for four years as President of Irtiqa Institute of Social Sciences, and at present is General Secretary, Institute of Central and West Asian Studies (ICWAS), University of Karachi.
Syeda Shehla Raza
Starting her political career in 1986 by joining People’s Student Federation (PSF)—a student wing of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)— Syed Shehla Raza, within a span of three years, was elected Joint Secretary, PSF, and later Joint Secretary, PPP Women’s Wing, in Karachi. In 2005, she became General Secretary, Women’s Wing, PPP, in Karachi. In 2008 she was unanimously elected Deputy Speaker in the Thirteenth Assembly of the Sindh Assembly, and re-elected in 2013 for that position in the Fourteenth Assembly. She is also Vice President, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, Sindh Branch.
A journalist, author, and editor. Former head of The Express Tribune’s Peshawar city pages and former assistant editor on the opinion’s desk of The News. A law graduate from SOAS, London, Kehar is the author of two novels, Typically Tanya (2018) and Of Rift and Rivalry (2014). He has recently completed a post-modern detective novel set in Karachi. Kehar’s work has been published in The News on Sunday, South Asia magazine, The Hindu, and the Delhi-based Equator Line magazine. He has also guest-edited Equator Line’s issue on Pakistani writing. Based in Karachi, he teaches undergraduate media courses and conducts creative writing workshops for young adults.
President and CEO of First Women Bank Limited, Tahira Raza joined Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Board of Directors in 2019. A former Senior Executive Vice President, National Bank of Pakistan, she is Chairperson of the Board Audit Committee and a member of Board Strategy and Finance, Enterprise Risk and Procurement Committees. She has been recently appointed on the board of Green Star Social Marketing and is a member of the Board Investment Committee. Apart from her professional achievements, she is a keen golfer.
Head of Media Sciences Department at SZABIST, Karachi, and a former assistant professor at IVS, teaching courses for the last decade on the History of Art and Visual Culture. As visiting faculty at National College of Arts, Lahore, Taimur Suri intermittently taught History of Art. Taimur has an M.Phil. in Islamic Art and Architecture (Oxon) and has written extensively in various publications about art and visual culture and held a number of workshops and continued education programmes at IVS and FOMMA.
Currently, Professor Dr Tanzeem-ul-Firdous is the Chair, Department of Urdu, University of Karachi. She is distinctive among female Pakistani critics and researchers in Urdu literature. In addition to several published books, she has to her credit a large number of research papers and critical essays. She is the author of Jang-e-Azaadi 1857: Niswani Yaaddashton ke Tanazur mein (2012).
Taqi Shaheen is a film-maker and media artist whose work crosses mediums and defies genre distinctions. Since 2004, he has been working closely with artists, designers, musicians, and performers to produce collaborative work, pedagogic alternatives and creative investigations to address the experiences and dilemmas of education in the developing world. As a director and curator, his previous works include a documentary series on artists as educators, Lessons on Lessons, The Petman Girls, Whose Pakistan is it anyway?, Morris Mata, Kundun, and Congregation of the Distressed.
Tariq Alexander Qaiser
The principal architect at TAQ Associates, Tariq Alexander Qaiser is a photographer, painter, and author. He periodically teaches design at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, Karachi. A former faculty member at the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Tariq’s interests in science, art, craft, and prose have taken him towards sculptural symbolic works in architecture, its allied arts, and the written word. In addition to creating the architecture of schools, hospitals, offices, interiors, residences, Tariq designs dhows, mobile libraries, kitchens, and retail outlets on vehicles.
Dr Tariq Rahman is an eminent scholar and academic. He has authored books on the linguistic history of the Muslims of South Asia, namely Language and Politics in Pakistan (1996); Language, Ideology and Power: Language-learning among the Muslims of Pakistan and North India (2002); and From Hindi to Urdu: a Social and Political History (2011). The National Institute of Pakistan Studies at The Quaid-i-Azam University, where he served most of his life, made him a professor emeritus in 2010 and the Higher Education Commission conferred upon him the title of Distinguished National Professor in 2004. He has been conferred the Pride of Performance Award and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz.. He is presently working as Dean, School of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and Acting Dean, School of Education, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.
Vice Chairperson of Yorkshire Adabee Forum UK based. Has been writing Urdu poetry and participating in many poetry events in UK such as Ilkley literature and Bradford literature festival.
A writer, photographer, and documentary filmmaker. One of the founders of Newsline, Tehmina Ahmed worked as a senior editor at the magazine and headed its film production unit, Newsline Films. She has written and produced documentaries screened at several international festivals. Tehmina has published poems, essays, and articles in The Aleph Review, Pakistani Literature, International Gallerie, Nukta, Newsline, Dawn, and Herald. She translated a selection of verse by Zeeshan Sahil into English, in a volume titled, On the Outside. She now works at Tehmina Ahmed & Associates, a company offering film production and editorial services.
Usman Abdul Qayyum
A graduate of Manchester University, Usman Abdul Qayyum is a member of Yorkshire Adbee Forum UK. Yorkshire Adbee Forum was the first platform where he learned about the basics of poetry, arooz and how to present poetry before audiences. He has also been the General Secretary of Ilm-o-Adab. Besides his involvement in Urdu adab, Usman is an entrepreneur who runs his own online business.
A writer and commentator who writes extensively on South Asia and is an acknowledged expert on the Jammu and Kashmir issue. Victoria Schofield is a frequent commentator on BBC and other news outlets, including Al Jazeera. Author of Kashmir in the Crossfire and Kashmir in Conflict, her other publications include Afghan Frontier: At the Crossroads of Conflict; Wavell: Soldier and Statesman; and Bhutto: Trial and Execution. She is also an associate of the Pakistan Security Research Unit (PSRU), University of Durham, and a visiting lecturer at King’s College, London.
A lawyer by profession and a former member of the managing committee of Karachi Bar Association. A social and human rights activist from Lyari, Karachi, Waheed Noor writes poetry in Urdu and in Balochi and is the author of Sukoot Bol Para.
William Dalrymple is the bestselling author of In Xanadu, City of Djinns, From the Holy Mountain, Age of Kali, White Mughals, The Last Mughal, Nine Lives, Return of a King and Kohinoor. He has won many awards, including the Wolfson Prize for History, the Hemingway, the Kapuscinski, the Thomas Cook, the Duff Cooper Memorial Prize, and has, prior to the shortlisting of Return of a King, been longlisted four times for the Samuel Johnson /Baillie Gifford Prize. He has also been awarded the prestigious President’s Medal by the British Academy. His new books are The Anarchy: The East India Company, Corporate Violence and the Pillage of an Empire and Forgotten Masters: Indian Painting for the East India Company. Dalrymple is one of the founders and a co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Wusat Ullah Khan
Working as a journalist for the last thirty-six years, Wusat has been associated with the BBC Urdu Service since 1991. He is the author of Sailab Diaries, a book on the 2010 Pakistan floods. Wusat writes a weekly column Baat say Baat for the BBC Urdu Service (online/radio) and has produced documentaries for BBC Urdu TV. He has also contributed a weekly column to the Daily Express. Currently, Wusat co-hosts a daily talk show, Zara Hut Kay, for Dawn News.
A radio broadcast journalist, poet, prose writer, researcher, columnist, and translator, Yasir is carrying forward the legacy of his father, the celebrated Sindhi poet and scholar, Maqsood Gul. He has published three poetry books for children, all of which were awarded the Best Children’s Book of the Year by the Sindhi Language Authority, Government of Sindh, and the Institute of Sindhology. Compiler of a volume of Sindhi essays, write-ups, and columns on Maqsood Gul, he is the author of a poetic biography of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
Yasmin Lehri is a politician and social worker from Balochistan. She has been engaged in political work for over twenty years. A member of the National Party, she has been on the Party’s Central Executive Committee for the last twelve years. She is currently her Party’s Central Woman Secretary. Ms Lehri was elected as a Member (MPA) of the Balochistan Assembly in June 2013, in which capacity she worked until May 2018. In the social field, Yasmin Lehri has fifteen years of working experience in different positions with local and national organizations.
Yousuf Musti Khan
Yousuf Musti Khan started his political career with the Baloch Student Organisation. When Sherbaz Khan Mazari announced the National Democratic Party (NDP), Musti Khan joined NDP and was elected President NDP (Karachi) and member of its Central Committee. Later, he joined Pakistan National Party (PNP) and was elected its President PNP (Karachi) and member of its Central Committee. Later, Musti Khan became the PNP President. Currently, Yousuf Musti Khan is the Federal President of the Awami Workers Party.
Zaheda Hina is an Urdu language short story writer and novelist, as well as a columnist. She has to her credit four short story collections, one novel, five collections of articles and many translated books. Her work has been translated into English, German, Hindi, Sindhi, Gurumukhi, Marathi, Bengali, Pushto, Russian, and Nepali. Ms Hina has written for the Sindhi daily Ibrat for more than two decades and also for a widely circulated Hindi newspaper, the Daily Bhaskar. She has four Hindi books to her credit, as well as a selection of short stories, and a collection of articles on feminist thought.
Fiercely passionate in the causes she espouses, Hina locates herself to the left of the political spectrum and her work attacks patriarchal attitudes towards women. In 2001, she was awarded the SAARC Literary Award. She refused to accept Pakistan’s highest literary award from the hand of the then military ruler in 2006, but later accepted it from a democratic government in 2011.
She has worked for the BBC Urdu Service, Voice of America and Radio Pakistan and has written plays and serials for Pakistan Television.
A trained Kathak dancer and a graduate of Queen’s University with an honours degree in drama, Zahshanné Malik has trained in dance under many renowned dancers in Pakistan, Canada, and the US since the young age of four, and began her performing career at the age of six. Since then Zahshanné has performed in numerous shows across the world.
A 23-year-old Pakistani poet, Zain Baweja’s poems have been published in the Oxford Review of Books and GoF Magazine. He has also won The Avril Gilchrist Bruten Award for Creative Writing in 2019.
A living legend and a man of many talents, Zia Mohyeddin’s career spans acting, directing, writing, broadcasting, and a wide range of aesthetic disciplines. An alumnus of Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, he has produced, directed, and acted in numerous plays. In 1970s, he hosted the now legendary Zia Mohyeddin Showon PTV. In England, he produced Here and Now and Family Pride—Britain’s first Asian soap in which he also starred. In 2005, Zia Mohyeddin set up the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) in Karachi. He is also the author of A Carrot is a Carrot: Memories and Reflection, Theatrics, and The God of My Idolatry: Memories and Reflections.
A Regional Disaster Reduction Advisor, Arab States at UNDP. Despite living among people from different cultures and travelling around the globe, Zubair Murshed’s heart belongs to the people, culture, and history of Pakistan. Dabi Saanson ka Shor is Murshed’s first book of Urdu short stories and he is working on a novel in English. Currently he lives and works in Erbil, Iraq.