Abaseen Yousafzai is a widely recognized Pashtun poet, research scholar, literary critic, and columnist in addition to being a noted radio and TV anchor-person. He is the chairman of the Pashto Department in Islamia College, Peshawar. Author of ten books of Pashto and Urdu, he is the recipient of about 400 awards for outstanding literary and social services. He has been given the presidential award by the Government of Afghanistan for his literary contribution to Pashto literature, and won the best teacher award from the Teaching Staff Association of Islamia College University Peshawar. Dr Abaseen Yousafzai has recently accomplished a tremendous task of preparing the Pashto syllabus for grades KG to 12th under the auspices of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Curriculum and Teacher Education (DCTE). Dr Abaseen Yousafzai has also been awarded Pride of Performance from President of Pakistan 2020 in recognition of his excellent performance in the field of poetry, column, research & criticism, tv, radio, stage anchor, and cultural activist. He has been contributing Pashto language and literature for the last 40 years, regularly along with different Pashto and Urdu newspapers, literary magazines and radio and TV shows.
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.
Abdul Rauf Rafiqui
Dr Abdul Rauf Rafiqui is Director, Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai Shaheed Chair, University of Balochistan, Quetta. He has been recognized by renowned research institutions for his research work on Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal and also been awarded for his literary work in Pashto Language. He has been member, board of governors, Iqbal Academy of Pakistan; member, board of directors, Balochistan Education Foundation; member, provincial review committee bureau of curriculum, Balochistan, etc. and has published 48 books in Pashto, Persian, Urdu, and English.
Abira Ashfaq is a faculty member at IBA and a human rights activist. She has fourteen years of experience teaching law in Pakistan and has practiced law for five years in the US where she defended people facing deportation for criminal convictions.
Afrasiab Khattak is President Roshaan Democratic Institute. He is a former Senator of Pakistan and has served in several important positions such as Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Provincial President, Awami National Party (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). He is an expert of Afghan affairs; analyst of regional security, socio-economic cooperation; and a human rights activist. He is Chairman, Board of Directors Bacha Khan Education Trust Foundation. The Government of Pakistan awarded him Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civil award in 2010 for his services in the parliament.
A leading contemporary Urdu poet, Afzal Ahmed Syed is well-known for his experimental writing style.
He has published three collections of prose poems and one of ghazals. Translations of his poetry have been published in English, Sindhi, Hindi, Bengali, Arabic, and German. His translation of the complete Persian works of Mir Taqi Mir was published by Oxford University Press in 2013 under the title Divan-e-Mir: Farsi maa Urdu Tarjuma.
Afzal Murad is a Brahui and Baluchi language writer, translator, poet, screenwriter from Baluchistan. Many of his assorted and long plays have been broadcast on PTV such as, Aitraaf, Sumbul, Dhund ke Paar, Hawa ki Dastak to name a few. He was Resident Director, Pakistan Academy of Letters, Balochistan region from 16 August 2000 to 3 April 2021. He is a member of the Brahui Adbi Society, Quetta; member, Sangat Academy of Sciences, Quetta.
Ahmed Ali Akbar
Ahmed Ali Akbar is a Pakistani film-television-theatre actor, singer, and former national level tennis player. He marked his television debut at the age of 13; he made his theatre debut in 2008 and received critical appraisal for his work in Grease the musical. Ahmed has given some stellar performances in his career, so far. He has won the Lux Style Award in the Best Film Actor category for his work in Laal Kabootar and also bagged an international award for the same category at Washington DC South Asian Film Festival. Following his superhit drama, Ehd-e-Wafa (2019), the actor was seen in and as Parizaad (2021). The feel-good series has captured the attention, imagination, and TRPs of audiences around the globe through a chameleon-like characterization by Ahmed Ali’s brilliant portrayal of much beloved fictional character.
Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry
Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has served as a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan for 37 years, rising to the rank of the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. He was a former Ambassador of Pakistan to the USA and to the Netherlands. Mr Chaudhry has served as the Foreign Office Spokesman, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN in New York, and as the Director General for South Asia, where he remained closely associated with the peace process with India. He has also worked as an Additional Foreign Secretary, where he dealt with the issues of arms control and multilateralism. He is presently the Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad. He is the author of Pakistan Mirrored to Dutch Eyes and Diplomatic Footprints: A Memoir.
Ajmal Siraj is an Urdu poet, based in Karachi. He has a Masters’ degree from Karachi University, and works as a Magazine Editor with Daily Jasarat. His collection of poems, Aur Men Sochta Reh Gaya, was first published in 2005 and republished in 2010 by the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi.
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.
Alyana Khan is an A Level student at Karachi Grammar School. She is a poet and writer with raw emotions and personal experiences shaping her writing.
Amar Sindhu is Assistant Professor, Sindh University, Jamshoro. A poet with origins in Sindhi Literature, she is also a columnist and political analyst. Her poetry has been translated into the German language. She has contributed many articles in Urdu and English. Amar Sindhu is known for her unflinching human rights activism, her unequivocal support for the underprivileged sections of society, and her ability to speak her mind. She also published a magazine, Adrish on political, social, cultural and theoretical issues. One can find love, rebellion and passion altogether in her strong poetic expression. She is also an author of a bilingual book of poetry.
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-Khushboo Award; UBL Literary Award; and Anjuman Taraqqi Pasand Musannifeen 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.
Amir Bashir started his writing career through the program on Radio, Pakistan, ‘Bazm-e-Talba’. His literary work was aired on programs like ‘Sirf Eik Minute’ and ‘Radio Digest’. Under the guidance of Bazm-e-Talba’s producer, Qamar Jameel, an eminent Urdu poet and established writer of poetic prose, Amir Bashir’s literary work was published in distinguished newspapers and literary journals like ‘Roznama Jang’ and ‘Oraak’. He is presently the Director of Finance at Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology, Karachi.
Amir Paracha is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Unilever Pakistan Limited. He joined Unilever Pakistan in 2000 and has held various senior management positions in Pakistan and North Africa Middle East cluster over his 20 years with the Company.Amir continues to actively experiment with disruptive business models and has championed inclusion across the Unilever ecosystem in Pakistan.Amir began his career at the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company in July 1996 and has done his Master’s in Business Administration from the Institute of Business Administration.
Amtul Baweja, comedian and co-founder of Patangeer, is an actress, known for Churails (2020), Summer Love (2019) and The Secret of Colour (2017).
Anas Baloch is the youngest rapper from Lyari, Karachi. He started his singing career in 2017. His first rap was about peace titled ‘Stop the War’. His songs are mostly about awareness and motivating youngsters. He writes in Balochi—his native language—as well as Urdu. He promotes the Lyari/Balochi culture through his music. Anas has performed in many events all around Pakistan and worked with well-known brands.
Anwar Maqsood is a well-known entertainment personality. He is a television scriptwriter, television host, satirist, humourist, and occasional actor. Associated for many years with Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV), Maqsood served as a presenter for a variety of shows, including Studio Dhai, Studio Ponay Teen, and Show-Sha. He has written scripts for several television series and plays, including Fifty-Fifty, Show Time, Aangan Terha, Fanoon-e-Latifey, Talaash, Aisa Bhi Hota Hai, Sitara aur Mehrunnisa, and Nadan Nadia. His stage plays, which were a resounding success, include Pawney 14 August, Sawa 14 August, Anwar Maqsood ka Dharna, and Siachen. Maqsood has also worked as a director and presenter at ARY TV for almost 15 years. His most popular program was Loose Talk. He is a recipient of the Hilal-e-Imtiaz award.
Arfa Sayeda Zehra
Arfa Sayeda Zehra is an eminent professional, public intellectual, educationist, culture expert, gender specialist, human rights activist, and social nationalist. 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. She is a recipient of the Fatima Jinnah Award, International Sophist Award, and the Distinguished Alumni Award from East West Center, Hawaii, USA. She has the honour of holding UNESCO Chair, as well as being a Fellow in National College of Arts, Lahore. She received an International Award in Emirates for her contribution towards national literature, language, and culture of Pakistan.
Dr Arfana Mallah is a Professor at University of Sindh, Jamshoro. A founder member of Women’s Action Forum (Hyderabad), she writes columns in Sindhi newspapers and recently did a weekly Vlog for web-based Sindhi newspaper Pahinji Akhbar. Dr Mallah has written a series of short stories about women displaced in the mega flood of 2010, which were published in Sindhi daily Kawish. Associated with the Sindhi electronic media for 15 years, she hosts weekly shows on various Sindhi channels. Presently, she has been elected General Secretary of Sindh University Teachers’ Association. She has also been elected as member of the University Syndicate, where she is actively pursuing issues of academia at various forums.
Asad Umar is a member of the National Assembly. He 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
Asghar Nadeem Syed is a poet, novelist, and a teacher of film and theatre. He is the author of “Tooti Hui Tanab Udhar” (2019) and has recently published a novel titled, “Dasht-e-Imkaan”. 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/society in rural Sindh and Punjab; 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.
Ashfaq Hussain is a well-known poet and writer of Canadian-Pakistani origin. He is considered a pioneer of Urdu literary activities in Canada and has published a highly acclaimed monthly literary journal, Urdu International, under the guidance of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Currently, he is Associate Editor of a children’s book series, a joint project of Multicultural Department, Government of Canada, and the Urdu Chair of McGill University, to prepare Urdu reading and writing materials for Canadian students as well as a teaching manual for Urdu teachers. In 2011, he was honoured with the prestigious President of Pakistan’s Pride of Performance Award. Some of his publications include Aitabar (1979), Aashian Gum Karda (2009), Mein Gaya Waqt Naheen Hoon (2010).
Asma Faiz is Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Lahore University of Management Sciences. Her academic work has explored the rising trajectory of ethnic nationalism in south Punjab. Her research has also explored the phenomenon of right-wing populism in Pakistan, from its rise to its broader impact on the political system. Her published work includes, India-Pakistan Dialogue: Bringing the Society In, Making Federation Work: Federalism in Pakistan after the 18th Amendment (OUP, 2015) and In Search of Lost Glory: Sindhi Nationalism in Pakistan (Hurst, 2021).
Dr Asma Hyder is dean and professor at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. She is also former member social sector and devolution at the Planning Commission, Ministry of Planning Development and Reform, Islamabad. She is recipient of Fulbright J. William Award for International Understanding and did her post doctorate from University of Pennsylvania, USA. She has been a visiting research fellow at University of Sussex, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK and Carleton University, Canada. Her research interest focuses broadly on development issues and specifically different labour market issues, wage differentials, schooling, gender, health and social wellbeing. Besides working on Pakistan’s social issues, she is also studying the household behavior and preferences toward child schooling during and after economic and climatic shocks in extremely vulnerable and poorest societies of the world. Her regional interest includes South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Atif Aslam Bajwa
Atif Bajwa is the President and CEO of Bank Alfalah Limited. He has an extensive international career spanning 37 years of executive leadership roles in banking, and of multiple Boards and public interest positions. He started his professional journey with Citibank in 1982, and has since held numerous senior positions in large local and multinational banks. Mr. Atif Bajwa has been active in business, social and public interest areas, and has led key advocacy institutions to impact economic and social sectors. In this regard, he has served as the Chairman of the Pakistan Business Council (PBC), and the President of the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI). He has also served as a Director on the Boards of various private and public sector companies. Mr. Bajwa received his education at Columbia University, New York.
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.
Dr Aurore Didier is permanent researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, in charge of the ‘Indus-Balochistan programme’, and director of the French Archaeological Mission in the Indus Basin. Dr Didier recently published a monograph on the 3rd millennium pottery from Kech-Makran and is currently writing a book on the Kech-Makran region during the Indus Civilization period. Since 2015, Aurore Didier and her team has been conducting field-work in Southern Sindh in collaboration with Culture, Tourism and Antiquities Department, Government of Sindh and Department of Archaeology and Museums of Pakistan, focused on the question of the emergence and development of the Indus Civilization (Excavations at Chanhu-daro and Archaeological surveys in Sindh-Kohistan)
Ayesha Irshad Mian
Ayesha Irshad Mian is a Co-Chair of the International Relations Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). She is also a member of the executive council of the International Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP). Dr Mian was awarded the Distinguished Fellow by AACAP for her continuous services in Paediatric Mental Health. She is a prolific clinical educator and has developed multiple curricula and education programmes, and was recently awarded as a Senior Fellow by the Higher Education Committee, UK, for her leadership in medical education.
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.
Baela Raza Jamil
A public policy specialist, innovator, and reformer, Baela Raza Jamil is CEO of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and founder of the Children’s Literature Festival now known as the Pakistan Learning Festival. She leads large nationwide social movements for education reforms in Early Years, Girls Education and Livelihoods, including the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) Pakistan. More recently she has spearheaded along with 20+ organizations the first ever Education Parliamentarians Caucus Pakistan announced on the International Day of Education (Jan 24, 2022) with 20 parliamentarians.
Baela is invested in ending violence against women and ending child/early forced marriages. She prominently serves on government federal and provincial boards and platforms including the National Education Foundation, Punjab Social Protection Authority; Sub-convenor Steering Committee on Education at the Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Local Education Group member in three provinces and the Sanjan Nagar Public Education Trust (SNPET). Baela served as technical adviser to the Federal Ministry of Education from 2000-2004
Globally, Baela Jamil is the Commissioner Education Commission with Gordon Brown as Chair; one of 12 members on UNESCO IBE Council; has served on UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report, as Vice Chair (GMR); UNESCO Institute of Statistics as the Chairperson of SDG 4.2.1 (ECE) Task Force; Member, Platform for Girls Education – Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK; Advisor, Global Business Coalition for Education; Advisor, Research on Improving Systems of Education (RISE), Delivery Board, Oxford UK and member People’s Action for Learning (PAL) Network.
Bee Gul is an award-winning screenwriter and director, she has written some critically acclaimed plays and films for television such as Talkhiyaan, Pehchaan, Kaun Qamar Ara, Firdous ki Dozakh, Dar Si Jaati Hai Sila, and Raqeeb se. 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. She also won the Best Drama Writer at the Hum TV Awards (2019).
Ben Okri was born in Minna, Nigeria. A poet and a novelist, Okri is considered one of the foremost African authors in the post-modern and post- colonial traditions. His childhood was divided between Nigeria, where he saw first-hand the consequences of war, and London. He has won many prizes over the years for his fiction, and is also an acclaimed essayist, playwright, and poet. Okri won the Booker Prize for his novel The Famished Road (1991). In 2019, Astonishing the Gods was named as one of the BBC’s ‘100 Novels That Shaped Our World’.
Bilal Maqsood is an artist, singer, musician, songwriter, and composer. An alumni of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, he is the son of Anwar Maqsood and Imrana Maqsood. He is a member of the very popular Pakistani pop band Strings which was dissolved in 2021. He has also directed a number of music videos. For Bilal and his band Strings, success came in 1992 after the launch of the song Sar Kiye Yeh Pahar, the song was an instant hit and so was Strings. Strings made its entry into the Bollywood music scene in 2006. Strings proved popular and were named Asia’s favourite band at the MTV Asia Awards. They were the first Pakistani band to perform at Rashtrapati Bhavan in India.
Bina Shah is a Karachi-based author and novelist. Her novels, A Season for Martyrs and Before She Sleeps, a feminist dystopian novel, have received critical acclaim. A regular contributor to The New York Times, Al Jazeera, and The Huffington Post, Bina has been a frequent guest on the BBC. She has contributed essays and op-eds to Granta, The Independent, and The Guardian, and writes a regular column for Dawn. She was the president of the Alliance Française de Karachi for three years and in 2020 was awarded the rank of Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France.
Dr Christophe Jaffrelot is a French political scientist specializing in South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan. He is Research Director at CERI-SciencesPo/CNRS and President of the French Political Science Association. He teaches South Asian politics and history at King’s College (London). Arguably one of the world’s most respected writers on Indian society and politics, his publications include The Hindu Nationalist Movement and Indian Politics, 1925 to the 1990s; India’s Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India; Dr Ambedkar and Untouchability: Analysing and Fighting Caste, and the notable recent volumes The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience and Modi’s India – Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy.
Danish Ali is a social media star and is Pakistan’s most sponsored digital content creator. His widely popular sketch video ‘Rishtay Ka Soda’ crossed 150 million views. A pioneer of branded sketch content online, his list of sponsors includes Unilever, Reckitt Benckiser, Nestle, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Castrol, Mondelez, Nokia, BMW, Meta, Google, Kenwood, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Subway, L’Oréal, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Careem, etc. He was sponsored by the US Department of State on a three-week long comedy tour of America and has been covered by international news outlets as well as all the major local news channels and print media. To expand his reach global reach, Danish recently moved to Dubai. He will be making his acting debut with Hum TV’s Ramzan special drama ‘Hum Tum’.
Faisal Anwar is a Hybrid Artist, Curator- Karachi Biennial 22, and creative technologist. Founder of CultureLab.art, he explores the intersection of art, science, nature, data, investigating pressing concerns on climate change, sustainability, and shifts in new emerging economies. He is also a co-founder of ArtAddress, mentoring and fostering creative ideas and dialogue. His creative computational thinking, research, and artistic practice branches through interactive installations, immersive environments, data-driven interventions, internet art, HybridNFT, and MetaVerse / Web 3.0. Faisal believes that it is the right time to work collectively and reimagine solutions for climate crisis.In 2019, he was awarded the Labverde Residency at the Amazon rain forest to research and work with scientific climate data. In 2013, he was co-awarded the prestigious Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development grant for his research project +City. Anwar is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Habitat-LAB, Interactive Arts Program 2004, and did his bachelor’s in graphic design from the National College of Arts Lahore, Pakistan 1996.
Dr Farid Panjwani, Dean, Institute for Educational Development, Pakistan, has a DPhil in philosophy of education from the University of Oxford. He also holds an MA in Education and International Development from the Institute of Education, University College London and an MBA and a BBA from the Institute of Business Administration, University of Karachi.
Farrukh Yar Khan
Farrukh Yar has four books of poems and a book on South Asian composite culture and history 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 & Karachi Literature Festival in 2019 and 2020, respectively.
Fathima Dada was born and educated in South Africa, and began her career there as a teacher in the apartheid era. Before she joined OUP as Managing Director of OUP’s Education division in 2018, she had both South African regional and global roles at Pearson, including Chair and CEO of Pearson’s Southern, East, and Central African businesses. Fathima also takes time out of her publishing career to work with governments and not-for-profit organizations on policy, planning, curriculum, assessment, qualifications and implementation, in many countries.
Fatima Ijaz teaches English and Speech at the Institute of Business Administration, Karachi. She is a contributing editor at Pandemonium Journal. She has studied English at Hartwick College, USA, York University, Canada and Eastern Michigan University, USA. Her poetry and short stories have been published in numerous publications including The Aleph Review, Ideas&Futures, Tillism, The Write Launch, and Bombay Review. She has also written on culture and literature in Naya Daur, The Friday Times, and Dawn. She was recently a panelist at the Bradford Literature Festival event based on ‘Memory of Place.’ Her book, The Shade of Longing and other Poems, has been published by The Little Book Company both as an e-book and a print edition in December 2021.
Dr Fauzia Shamim is Professor and Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Ziauddin University, Karachi, Pakistan. Earlier, she has worked as a teacher, teacher educator, researcher, and teacher leader in several higher education institutions both in Pakistan and abroad. Dr Shamim has taught EFL/ESL and trained English language teachers in a variety of settings in Pakistan and internationally. Dr Shamim is a founder member of the Society of Pakistan English Language Teachers (SPELT) and currently its Program Coordinator. She has also served as the Chair of TESOL International’s Research Professional Council, USA (2018- 19). Her current research interests include teacher development, program development and evaluation, large class teaching, and English as medium of instruction.
Fawad Khan is a theatre practitioner with interest in acting, writing, and direction for stage. He is a graduate of the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA). Along with acting and direction, he is also a practitioner of the storytelling genre of Dastaangoi and has been commended for his achievements in this field. Fawad has been a performer with Zambeel Dramatic Readings since early 2015.
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.
Fizza Ali Meerza
Fizza Ali Meerza is one of Pakistan’s most distinguished independent producers and screenwriters. She has established herself as an acclaimed producer in the film fraternity with back to back hits such as Na Maloom Afraad (2014), Actor in Law (2016), Na Maloom Afraad 2
(2017), and Load Wedding (2018).
Fizza Javed faced early elimination from a singing competition but it did not discourage her and she took to singing professionally. Training formally with Ustad Karam Abbas Khan (son of Ustad Ahmed Ali Khan of the Gwalior gharana), Fizza made her debut on the Coke Studio platform in Season 8 (2015) with a song originally written and composed by her. She is one of the leading contemporary singers in Pakistan, singing in diverse genres such as Sufi, Folk, Ghazal, Contemporary, Pop, and semi- classical music. Apart from singing OSTs of several TV plays, she is also a Coke Studio artist.
George Fulton first came to Pakistan in 1997 and returned in 2002 as a BBC producer for Question Time and Hard Talk Pakistan for BBC World News. He again returned in 2003 at a time when President Musharraf was liberalising the media, and joined a fledging young channel by the name of GEO. Here he wrote and presented Pakistan’s first reality show/documentary/travelogue “George ka Pakistan”. He followed this up by producing and writing the satirical news quiz, News Views and Confused, before finding himself as the presenter of AAJ TV’s Kiran aur George morning show. He currently runs a digital content platform called Desi George and works for Iqra University.
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.
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.
Gregory Maxwell Bruce
Gregory Maxwell Bruce is a Lecturer in Urdu at the Department of South & Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. He is the editor and translator of Turkey, Egypt, and Syria: A Travelogue by Shibli Nu’mani (2019); author of Urdu Vocabulary: A Workbook for Intermediate and Advanced Students (2021); and a regular contributor to Brill’s online Encyclopaedia of Islam (Third edition), and Encyclopaedia Iranica. He has previously taught Urdu courses at University of Texas, Austin in 2008-2016 and at the South Asia Summer Language Institute, University of Wisconsin- Madison in 2009. He writes ghazal poetry in Urdu and Persian, and has performed at mushairas and other literary events in the United States and India.
H.M. Naqvi is the award-winning author of “Home Boy”. The novel was awarded the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2011. Naqvi has worked in the financial services industry, taught creative writing at Boston University and at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He has written for publications including ‘The Believer’, ‘Caravan’, and the ‘Dawn’, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, and BBC World Service. His second novel, “The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack”, was published in 2019, and was referred to as ‘A delirious love letter to the Karachi that was’ in a review published in the ‘The Wall Street Journal’. Through the Covid Era, he has been working on his third novel and a collection of essays.
Hafeez Baloch, is an activist affiliated with the Indigenous Rights Movement.
Dr Haider Nizamani currently teaches at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. Dr. Nizamani did his PhD in Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Before joining IBA, Dr Nizamani has taught at the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University in Canada, as well as at Habib University in Karachi.
He is the author of The Roots of Rhetoric: Politics of Nuclear Weapons in India and Pakistan. He has published on Third World and South Asian issues in refereed journals including Millennium: Journal of International Studies, Contemporary Security Policy, and Contemporary South Asia. His op-eds have appeared in Dawn, Express Tribune, the Daily Times.
Hameed Shahid is an Islamabad-based fiction writer and literary critic. 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 short fiction has been anthologized nationally, internationally, and translated into several languages. He has also translated global fiction and poetry from English into Urdu. His recent books are “Gandam Ki Mehk” (fiction) and “Intekhab Ghazaliat Mir”. His book “Dehshat mein Mohabbat” was nominated for both the 6th UBL Literary Excellence and Karachi Literature Festival 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.
Hamid Ateeq Sarwar
Hamid Ateeq Sarwar is a medical graduate from King Edward Medical University, Lahore, and a civil servant by profession. He also holds a master’s in Economics, an MBA from LUMS, and an LLM from Australia. He has been writing Urdu and Punjabi poetry in both humorous and non-humorous modes.
Hanif Kureishi grew up in Kent and studied philosophy at King’s College London. His novels include “The Buddha of Suburbia”, which won the Whitbread Prize for Best First Novel; “The Black Album”; “Intimacy”; and “The Last Word”. His screenplays include ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’, which received an Oscar nomination for Best Screenplay; ‘Sammy and Rosie Get Laid’; and ‘Le Week-End’. He has also published several collections of short stories. Kureishi is a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and has been awarded the PEN/Printer Prize (2010). His books have been translated into thirty-six languages.
Haroon Khalid Akhtar
Haroon Khalid Akhtar is an award-winning author. His novel “Melody of a Tear” won the UBL best debut fiction award 2020 and enjoys a 4.3 rating on Goodreads. He has also authored an anthology titled “Threadbare”. Haroon Khalid Akhtar is a banker by profession, working in a leading bank and heading its Compliance and Financial Crime function.
Harris Khalique is a leading Urdu and English language poet, essayist, and a columnist. He 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 (2018) and the UBL Literary Excellence Award (2013) in the category of Urdu poetry for his collection Melay Mein. 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.
Scriptwriter by profession and poet by choice, Hidayat began his career as a broadcaster when he joined Radio Pakistan as a student in 1997. Since then, he has been writing Urdu ghazals and poems. His phenomenal poems are mostly centered around themes of love, humanity, suffering, social justice and revolution. His poignant poems ‘Madari’ and “Bashira” which seek to explore the true face of society received critical acclaim. He has the vision and drive to form a network of young motivated people and inspire them for a better future.
His illustrious career in media spans more than two decades. He has made his mark as a director, producer, scriptwriter, TV anchor and broadcaster in leading Pakistani news channels including ARY News, Express News, Abbtak New and more. He regularly writes columns in Urdu and English dailies and currently hosts a show on FM 107.
Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts and former Associate Dean, IBA Karachi, Dr Huma Baqai’s teaching and research experience spans a period of over twenty-five years and has to her credit forty-plus publications. She is a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs; member to the Advisory Committee on Status of Women, Government of Sindh; and a Visiting Senior Fellow at PIDE. She is the Vice Chairperson, Karachi Council for Foreign Relations. She also works with both national and international media as an international relations expert and political analyst.
Ian Talbot is Emeritus Professor of Modern South Asian History at the University of Southampton where he was formerly Head of History, Director of the Centre for Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies and Director of the Humanities Graduate School. He has published and researched extensively in the fields of Colonial Punjab History, the 1947 Partition of India, and the History of Pakistan. His works on Partition include Divided Cities: Partition and Its aftermath in Lahore and Amritsar 1947-1957 (OUP 2006); and The Partition of India (with Gurharpal Singh, CUP 2009). His most recent publications include: The History of British Diplomacy in Pakistan (Routledge, 2021); A History of Modern South Asia: Politics, States, Diasporas (Yale 2016) and (with Tahir Kamran) Lahore in the Time of the Raj (Penguin, 2016).
Idrees Ghazi has been associated with the art of public speaking and broadcasting for more than 40 years and has served PTV and Radio Pakistan as a broadcaster for more than 25 years. He is a Superintending Engineer in the Public Health Engineering Department, Government of Sindh. During his student days, he represented
D.J. Sindh Government Science College and NED University in several speech and debate competitions and won numerous prizes and team trophies. In 1987, he made history by winning the first gold medal in the art of public speaking from the NED University. He now mentors young writers, poets, and speakers and has judged and presided over several speech contests, debates, prose and poetry contests in schools, colleges, universities, and various TV channels.
Iftikhar Arif is 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). A former head of the Pakistan Academy of Letters, National Language Authority, and the National Book Foundation, he has also been President of the ECO Cultural Institute in Tehran, Iran. He is the former head of National Language Promotion Department, National History and Literary Heritage Division, Islamabad. He has received numerous awards, including the President’s Pride of Performance Award. Baagh- i-Gul-i-Surkh is his latest offering.
Ikram Sehgal as Chairman of Pathfinder Group, Pakistan, oversees two of the largest private security companies in the Security Services Division (SSD) and the most innovative IT companies in the Financial Services and Technology Division (FSTD). He is a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and has been hosting a regular Pakistan Breakfast for Pakistan’s head of state and government ministers at the WEF’s Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI). He is also a Director of the EastWest Institute (EWI), a US-based think tank.
He is Chairman, Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR), Pakistan’s prestigious think-tank and since 2015 on the Executive Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE), Vice Chairman, Board of Management Quaid-i-Azam House Museum (Flagstaff House), Karachi. He has served on the Board of Directors of Bank Alfalah since its inception for sixteen years and was elected in January 2019 as Chairman of K-Electric and has been associated as Director BAB of IOM, Geneva.
Ikram Sehgal is a regular contributor of articles in newspapers that include the Daily Times, Express Tribune, Daily Express, Ausaf, Taqat, Khabrain, Intekhab, Ittehad, and Awami Awaz (Sindhi) as well as the South Asian Monitor (Malaysia). He has also written regularly for The Nation, Nawa-i-Waqt, The News, and Daily Jang for several years. He appears regularly on current affairs programmes on television in his capacity as a defence and security analyst.
Wife of Anwar Maqsood, the celebrated Pakistani writer and playwright, Imrana Maqsood is a renowned writer in her own right. She has written three cookbooks, twenty-two children’s supplementary readers in Urdu, and is the co-author of “Karachi Halwa aur Badayun ke Pairay”. Imrana Maqsood is a three-time winner of the President’s Award of the National Book Foundation for children’s supplementary readers. Subsequent to her biography of her husband, “Uljhe Suljhe Anwar”, her most recent work “Subah ka Nashta, Shaam ki Chai: Imrana Maqsood kay Sath” was launched at the Karachi Literature Festival in 2019. Presently, she is working on a new biographical book titled, “Doosri Mulaqat”.
Born in 1967 in Shahdadpur, Sindh, Inaam Nadeem lives in Karachi and is an Assistant Professor at Habib University, Karachi. A poet, writer, translator, and a teacher by profession, Inaam Nadeem has six books to his credit including a volume of ghazals. His first book “Dar-e-Khawab” received the Aks-e-Khushbu Poetry Prize in 2003. He has translated many English novels into Urdu including Omar Hamid Shahid’s “The Prisoner” and Rabisankar Bal’s “Dozakhnama” and “A Mirrored Life”. He has also translated and edited a volume of short stories of renowned Hindi fiction writer Bhisham Sahni. His literary essays and articles about music are published frequently. He has also compiled an anthology about Asif Farrukhi and complete works of poet Akbar Masoom.
Dr. Saba has more than 17 years of progressive regulatory, research, training, and teaching experience with organizations of international repute. She trained more than 6000 employees in Pakistan’s financial sector and taught more than 3000 students in Pakistan. She has extensive regulatory experience with specific focus to promote women empowerment, organisational development and Islamic banking and Finance while working in the Islamic Banking Department of SBP. She is a Shari’ah-registered financial planner (Shari’ah RFP). She holds the Chartered Islamic Finance Professional (CIFP) credential from INCEIF with distinction and PhD in Islamic Finance from INCEIF. She holds M.Com with distinction and PGD in Islamic Banking and Insurance from Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance (IIBI), London. Her areas of interest are Political Economy, Management, Shari’ah, Wealth planning and Management, Islamic microfinance, corporate governance, and Islamic finance.
Dr Ishrat Husain is a renowned economist and educationist. He is a former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (1999-2005); Dean & Director IBA (May 2008-March 2016); Chairman, National Commission for Government Reforms (NCGR); and Advisor to the Prime Minister [Imran Khan] on Institutional Reforms and Austerity with the status of Federal Minister (2018-2021). The Banker Magazine of London declared him as the Central Bank Governor of the Year for Asia in 2005. He received the Asian Banker Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Currently, he is HEC National Distinguished Professor, Professor Emeritus and Chairman Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi. He is the recipient of the Hilal-e-Imtiaz (2003) and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz (2016).
Javed Jabbar is a writer, filmmaker, policy analyst, former senator, and federal minister, with an interest in voluntary services, communications, environmental issues, politics, and public affairs. He has 17 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?” are prescribed in the curriculum of several education and training institutions. His latest book is titled, “But, Prime Minister… Interactions 1986-2000 with Benazir Bhutto, the World’s First Muslim Woman Prime Minister (2021)”. He is the chairperson of several leading public service organizations. Details at www.javedjabbar.net
Jeeva Haroun is a barrister at law from Gray’s in United Kingdom and has been active as an internal Legal Counsel for various banks, K- Electric Ltd and more recently NICVD (National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases) Karachi, where he is the Legal Manager and Head of Department. He was born in Malaysia and met his wife, Shireen Z. Haroun while studying for the Bar in London. They married in the late 1980s and reside in Karachi. They have a son and daughter. Poetry for Jeeva has been a discovery of meaning, symbol, myth and reality-juxtaposing a common thread or pattern in chaotic and seemingly unrelated events around us.
Jehan Ara is the Founder & CEO of Katalyst Labs which is a Startup Accelerator Innovation Hub and Women Leadership Fellows program. After a 20 year stint as President of P@SHA and 6.5 years as Founder & CEO of The Nest I/O, this is the culmination of a dream for Jehan. She is also an Independent Director on the Board of the Central Depository Council, the Punjab IT Board, IDEAS, and the Boards of several Universities. She is also on the Gender Advisory Council of the World Bank and a Member of the Prime Minister’s Taskforce on IT & Telecom. More recently she has been appointed as a Member of the Tik Tok APAC Safety Advisory Council.
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 and a 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.
Kaleem Butt is a Sindhi novelist and critic with eight published novels including Dahir; Rai Diyyach; Youthopia; Plagiarism; Azadi Ji Uptar; Watan jin Wesaryo and his recently published novel is Regal Chowk. He is better known for writing postmodern novels in Sindhi. He is editor of www.pechro.com (a Sindhi news and blogging website) and also regularly contributes to different newspapers including Sindh Express, The News, and Daily Times. He is a M.Phil. scholar in Media and Communication at the University of Sindh, Jamshoro.
Kamila Shamsie is regarded as being among the most accomplished Pakistani novelists writing in English. Hailing from Karachi, she is the author of seven novels, including “Home Fire”, which was longlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her novels have been translated into over twenty languages. Three of her novels have won awards from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. In 2013, she was listed as one of the Best of Young British Novelists by ‘Granta’ magazine.
Prof. Dr Karamat Mughal is a writer, editor, translator, transcribe, column writer, feature writer etc. He is an activist struggling for introducing Punjabi at primary education level. He did his master’s in Urdu Literature; master’s in Punjabi Literature; and PhD from Punjab University. He is the author of several short story collections, research and criticism, travelogue, and translated many short stories, poems and articles of various writers in Punjabi and in English. Karamat’s notable work is writing the Punjabi Grammar for students; basic rules in 2005. He is also the co-author of Punjabi Qaaiday for classes one to five.
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).
Kiran Ahmed teaches Gender Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University and is the author of Stories with Oil Stains: The World of Women Digest Writers in Pakistan (OUP 2020)She holds a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, and masters degrees in International Relations, Philosophy and Anthropology from Pakistan, Canada and the US.
Kishwar Naheed is 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 Pakistan National Council of Arts (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).
Laleh Khalili is a professor of International Politics at Queen Mary University of London. For her first book, “Heroes and Martyrs of Palestine: The Politics of National Commemoration” (2007) she conducted ethnographic research with Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon. Her second book, “Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies” (2013), drew on interviews with former detainees of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and various Israeli detention camps and prisons, and military officers, guards, and interrogators, as well as a large number of archival sources to show the continuities in practices of detention in liberal counterinsurgencies from the Boer War until today. She also edited “Modern Arab Politics” (2008) and co-edited (with Jillian Schwedler) “Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion” (Hurst/OUP, 2010). Her most recent book, “Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula” (Verso, 2020) includes travels aboard containership, port visits, archival work in more than a dozen archives, and a deep dive into the history of logistics and hydrocarbon ports of the Arabian Peninsula to understand the (trans)formations of capitalism there.
Maheen Rahman was appointed the Chief Executive Officer of InfraZamin Pakistan in 2020 and has played a crucial part in setting up IZP’s base operations and its initial structure. Maheen has over twenty years of experience in investment banking, research, and asset management. She has been featured on Fortune’s ‘40 Under 40’s women to watch’ list, in 2015, as the youngest head of Alfalah GHP Investment Management and the only female CEO in an industry where her rivals were all men. In addition to her extensive work experience and professional achievements, Maheen holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Economics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) and a Master of Science in Finance and Economics from Warwick Business School in the UK.
An award-winning journalist, Maheen has worked in television, print, and digital media. She has reported on human trafficking, refugees, minorities, health, education, climate change, special children, sports and culture and heritage. Maheen has also made investigative documentaries on the separation of East Pakistan and the trial and execution of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She has worked as a research analyst for the Sustainable Development Policy Institute and the Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre, and as a consultant at the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan as well as in the UK. Maheen Usmani is the author of The Mercurial Mr Bhutto and Other Stories, a short story collection set in Karachi.
Mahmood Shaam is a Pakistani journalist, poet, writer, and analyst. He has a bachelor’s degree in English literature, Persian, and Philosophy from Government College Jhang and a master’s degree in Philosophy from Government College Lahore. As a journalist Shaam has worked for 50 years in various newspapers/magazines, including 16 years in the Jang group. He has written 20 books including poetry books. His several books were banned by the military government of Zia-ul-Haq. He was arrested on 4 August 1977 by Martial Law authorities. He joined Ary Digital Group in 2010 to launch a new Urdu newspaper. His popular works include Akhri Raqs, Chehra Chehra Meri Kahani, Nawishta-e- Dewar, Bhutto Key Akhri Ayyam, and Bartania Mein Khizaan.
Mahtab Akbar Rashdi
Mahtab Akbar Rashdi is a well-known television host and anchor, government official, politician, and a campaigner for human rights. Her articles are regularly published in newspapers and journals in Sindhi, Urdu, and English. She has also written a book, Indo-Pak Relations. Mahtab has been honoured with several 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 Naqvi is a novelist and short story writer. She has written five novels: Mass Transit, On Air, Stay with Me, and A Matter of Detail. Her novel completed in 2010, The Inn, will be published in 2021. 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 3Quarksdaily.com and has contributed essays for the monthly magazine Herald, including an essay on Pakistan’s English fiction. Her book A Guest in the House is a memoir which chronicle’s her time at the Pioneer Book House, Karachi and provides a lens into the history of the city. Maniza Naqvi is the Founder and CEO of The Little Book Company (www.littlebookcompany.net), a start-up publisher and e-books digital platform for publishers, authors, and booksellers.
Dr Mariam Chughtai is Director, National Curriculum Council of Pakistan. She has a Doctorate and two Masters degrees in Education from Harvard University. Upon her return to Pakistan in 2015, she set up the School of Education at LUMS where she is now a tenure track faculty member. Dr Chughtai is also the Pakistan Director for Harvard Mittal South Asia Institute. As part of her family business, she serves on the Board of Directors for Chughtai Lab, Pakistan’s largest private healthcare network.
Marina Khan is a Pakistani television and film actress, director, and producer. She made her debut in a PTV drama in honour of Rashid Minhas Shaheed. She rose to fame with the drama serial ‘Tanhaiyaan’, which was a tremendous hit amongst Pakistani viewers. ‘Tanhaiyaan’ established her as one of the best actors out there, and similar performances in serials such as ‘Ehsaas’ and ‘Dhoop Kinare’ ensured that Marina rose to the top of the media industry. She is working in showbiz as a director and producer too. She is also a representative of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
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.
Meesam Naqvi graduated from the National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA) with a diploma in Theatre Arts. He has acted in well-known productions by NAPA as well as its Repertory Company including Sultan ka Faisla, Beech Bahar ki Raat ka Sapna, Dark Room and Marat/Sade. Meesam has also directed for theatre, including the critically acclaimed production of Vijay Tendulkar’s play Kamla. He has acted in and directed plays for television and most recently has worked as Assistant Director in Pakistani films Chambaili, Karachi say Lahore and Hijrat. Meesam has been an actor with Zambeel since 2013.
Mehvash Amin is an English language poet based in Lahore. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her poem titled ‘Karachi’. Her poems have been published in various literary journals, such as Vallum; New International Poetics (Canada); Sugar Mule (USA); One Hand Clapping (UK); The Missing Slate; and books such as A Khanna’s Capitals (Bloomsbury) and The Stained Glass Window (Liberty Books), amongst others. Mehvash has a publishing house, Broken Leg Publications, and is publisher and editor-in- chief of The Aleph Review, a yearly anthology of creative writing and art. She has also compered sessions for the Islamabad Literary Festival and EShe magazine (India) amongst others.
Michael Houlgate has worked in Pakistan since 2018 as Director Sindh and Balochistan, and is now leading the British Council’s work in Punjab as Acting Director. He is a strong believer in the work the British Council does in Pakistan, supporting young people, including women and girls, to access the education and opportunity they need to reach their full potential. Michael has worked in Beijing, Cairo and Kabul, leading the British Council’s work on education, research partnerships and civil society.
Miftah Ismail is General Secretary of PML-N Sindh. He has served as Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs; as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister; and as Chairman, Board of Investment, the Privatisation Commission and the Sui Southern Gas Company. A professional economist, Dr Ismail worked briefly for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Later, he became CEO & Director of Ismail Industries Ltd. He has also served as President of Karachi American School and visiting faculty at Institute of Business Administration. Dr Miftah Ismail holds a bachelor’s degree from Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and a PhD in Public Finance and Political Economy from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.
Minaa Shahzad is currently doing A-Levels from Cedar College in Karachi. Aged 17, she writes poems and short stories that focus on love of all kinds, its absences and its presence in our lives in different ways, and the inherent human need to be loved. She believes that she writes because she is bad at remembering and just wants to capture memories and feelings into words. She hopes to write and publish novels in the future, as well as poem collections. Currently she posts her works on @https.starsundrowned on Instagram.
Mir Ahmad Navaid
Mir Ahmad Navaid is a renowned Urdu poet who received the Infaq Foundation Award for poetry in 2020.
Mira Sethi is an actor and a writer. She grew up in Lahore and attended Wellesley College, after which Sethi worked as a books editor at ‘The Wall Street Journal’. She has written op-ed pieces for ‘The New York Times’, ‘The Wall Street Journal’, and ‘The Guardian’. Her recently released debut collection of seven short stories, “Are You Enjoying?” brings out contemporary life in Pakistan, with themes ranging from adultery to politics, class divide, loneliness, patriarchy, #MeToo, as well as religious and national identity. Sethi regularly appears in mainstream Pakistani drama series on television. She lives in Karachi.
Moeen Faruqi is an artist and English language poet living in Karachi. His paintings have been exhibited widely within Pakistan and internationally in Canada, Italy, Singapore, Bangladesh, UK, and India. His poems have been published in various literary journals in Pakistan and abroad, including Poetry from Pakistan: An Anthology (1997); Dragonfly in the Sun: An Anthology of Pakistani Literature (1997); and The Poetry of Men’s Lives (2004). His poems have also appeared in Verse, Orbis, The Rialto (UK), Rattle (USA), Cyphers (Ire.), and Vallum (Canada).
Mohammad Waseem is Professor of Political Science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. Formerly a Fulbright fellow at Columbia and the Brookings Institution, and Pakistan chair at St Antony’s College, Oxford, he specialises in Pakistan’s ethnic, constitutional, electoral, sectarian, military and militant politics. His books include Politics and the State in Pakistan and Democratization in Pakistan. His latest book is titled, Political Conflict in Pakistan.
Mohsin Sayeed is one of the pioneers of fashion journalism in the electronic, print and digital media in Pakistan. He has worked as a design consultant and adviser with leading designers and multi-brand stores. He is currently a member of the out-reach committee of Karachi Biennale of Pakistan 2017. He is also a cultural & social commentator for various print & online publications and TV channels.
A journalist, researcher, historian, and fiction writer, he has eleven books and innumerable articles to his credit and his writings have been translated into, English, Urdu and Gurumukhi and published in reputed magazines, both in Pakistan and abroad. He has also worked for the electronic media and is currently doing a radio programme on the history of Lahore.
Mufti Irshad Ahmad Aijaz
Mufti Irshad Ahmad Aijaz is graduated from Jamiat-ul-Uloom Islamiyyah, Binnori Town, Karachi and obtained his Shahadat-ul-Aalamia (Masters in Arabic and Islamic Studies) from there. Afterwards, he completed his Takhassus fil-Iftaa (Specialization in Islamic Jurisprudence and Fatwa) from Jamia Dar-ul-Uloom, Karachi. He has also completed his MBA program from a leading private university in Karachi, Pakistan. He is actively involved in providing consultation for development of policies and regulations for regulatory authorities and different Islamic financial institutions. He also regularly delivers lectures on Islamic Economics and Finance at different forums and educational institutions including National Institute of Banking and Finance (State Bank of Pakistan) and Centre for Islamic Economics (a division of Jamia Dar-ul-Uloom, Karachi).
Muhammad Ahmed Shah
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. He 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.
The Arts Council, during Shah’s tenure, has seen an upsurge in its activities, including theatre festivals, music festivals, youth festivals, dance festivals, literary festivals, and activities highlighting socio-political issues and has gained international recognition by collaborating with China, Germany, the US, Portugal, and Japan.
Muhammad Azfar Ahsan
Muhammad Azfar Ahsan is Minister of State & Chairman of Board of Investment, Government of Pakistan. He is Founder of Corporate Pakistan Group – CPG. As Founder & CEO of Nutshell Forum; an international conference management and training resource organization, he has organized more than 400 national and international conferences, seminars, training workshops and group discussions in Pakistan; Singapore; Malaysia; Sri Lanka; Dubai; and Bahrain. He is the thought leader behind Pakistan’s biggest corporate gathering Leaders in Islamabad Summit. He is the Board Member of Institute of Financial Markets of Pakistan, RYTS Global, and the Advisory Board Member of Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital Karachi. Azfar is the Vice President & Member Executive Council of Marketing Association of Pakistan. He also served as Chairman of MARCON.
Dr. Muhammad Imran has privilege of working directly under the Chairmanship of Mufti Taqi Usmani. He has headed Islamic Banking at Standard Chartered Bank, UBL, National Bank of Oman & Bank Alfalah. Dr. Imran has been a visiting faculty member at IBA for the last 20 years.
Mujahid Barelvi is a leading journalist, analyst, and commentator, he has been appearing on television without a break, for the last two decades. 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. Currently he is hosting program Live with Mujahid on GTV News.
Munawar Saeed is Pakistan’s veteran TV artist with a career of over four decades in the industry, having done roles in 200 films and more than 1000 television dramas. He is known for Moorat Aka Eunuch’s Wedding (2004); Anmol (1973); and Pehchan (1975). Some of his recent famous drama serials are Bunty I Love You; Mere Humrahi; Main Hari Piya; and Roshan Sitara. He had acted in several popular dramas of 1970s such as Taqreeb-e-Imtehaan; Mirza Ghalib Bunder Road Par; Akhara; and Gandasa. He has the honour of having acted in a popular patriotic play, Azadi Ke Mujrim for which he won the Graduates Award. He continues to be associated with the television industry and works in select dramas to maintain the quality of his acting.
Muneeza Shamsie is the author of a literary history “Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English” (2017). She is an Area Editor of the online Literary Encyclopedia. She received the Gold IPPY and the 2008 Bronze Foreword prizes in the US for the American edition of her anthology “And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women” (2008). She is Bibliographic Representative (Pakistan) for ‘The Journal of Commonwealth Literature’ and is on the international advisory board of ‘The Journal of Postcolonial Writing’ and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. She has served as a jury member for the latter and for several literary awards in Pakistan too. She was the regional chair Eurasia of the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009 and 2010. She lives in Karachi and contributes to ‘Dawn’ and ‘Newsweek Pakistan’.
Munir Momin is one of the finest contemporary Balochi poets. He is widely revered for his sublime art of poetry. Momin has published six collection of poems including Nigaah-e- Baatin-e-Safar, Daryaa Chankey Hoshaam Inth, Istaal Shapaada Gardanth, Paas Janaan Inth Darwaazag, Bicheeley Azmaan and Payaapein Lachchahy Paththo. The latter is the collection of his prose poems. Momin divides his time between Pasni and Gwadar Balochistan. He also edits a literary journal Gidár.
Nabeel Qureshi is a Pakistani film, television, music video director, screenwriter, and singer. An award-winning director, he is best known for directing films like Na Maloom Afraad, Actor-in- Law, and Na Maloom Afraad 2, all box-office hits. He has directed the political comedy news show Banana News Network which aired on Geo TV. Qureshi is a two-time Lux Style Award winner in the Best Director category and tried his luck in singing, with at least one song, Khamosh Dono. He recently launched his new movie Khel Khel Mein starring Sajal Ali and Bilal Abbas Khan.
Nadeem Farooq Paracha
Nadeem Farooq Paracha is a prominent Pakistani historian and author. He has authored six best-selling books on the social and political history of Pakistan. His latest book, The Reluctant Republic, was published in January 2022. Two of his books, End of the Past (2016) and Points of Entry (2018), have been two of the biggest selling non-fiction books in Pakistan in the last five years. In 2018, Nadeem was accepted as a Research Scholar at the International Forum for Democratic Studies in Washington DC. He has been a regular columnist for Dawn, Pakistan’s largest English language newspaper. He is also associated with Adcom Leo Burnett as Head of Ideas.
Dr Nadya Chishty- Mujahid is Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts, School of Economics and Social Sciences, Institute of Business Administration Karachi. She is the author of a monograph titled, ‘Fraternal Male Twinship in History, Society, Fiction and Entertainment’. Previously, she wrote a book titled ‘A Political Chess King’, which ranked eighty-seventh on Edwin Mellen’s top 100, prizewinning book list. In addition, she has authored eight other books, several articles and over 150 book reviews.
Najam Sethi is a leading journalist, publisher, TV personality, and political commentator, who lives in Lahore. He is a graduate of Government College, Lahore, and Cambridge University, UK. In 2011, he was elected Alumnus of the Year and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Sethi is Pakistan’s most decorated journalist, with three international press freedom awards, including the Golden Pen for Freedom from the World Association of Newspapers in 2009. He is also a recipient of Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the highest civil award in Pakistan. He remains the Founder-Chief Editor of ‘The Friday Times’, Lahore. Along with Salmaan Taseer, he founded the ‘Daily Times’ and ‘Daily Aajkal’ and remained their Editor until 2009. He is Chairman of the Pakistan Publishers and Booksellers Association and CEO of Vanguard Books. His TV programme Najam Sethi Show on Ch24HD is presently rated among the top political talk shows of the country. Sethi has served as Caretaker Punjab Chief Minister and later as Chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board during which time he launched the Pakistan Super League.
Prof. Dr Najeeba Arif is a writer, poet, and academic, she has authored twelve books and fifty research papers, published in national and international journals. Currently, she is Dean, Faculty of Languages and Literature, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan. Dr Arif was the founder co-editor of the research journal ‘Meyār’, and the Guest Editor of ‘Bunyād’, the research journal of LUMS. She is also the editor of the first indexation agency of Urdu journals in Pakistan.
Najia Ashar is a broadcast journalist and media development professional with more than 20 years of experience in Pakistan’s mainstream media. She is the founder & president of Global Neighbourhood for Media Innovation (GNMI), a non-profit organization working for media literacy, capacity building and advocacy. She developed Pakistan’s first virtual Media Incubation Center and Accelerator Platform (www.micaponline.com) for online training delivery and launched 20 news start- ups in August 2021. She launched a digital news platform (www.taar.tv) in October 2021. Ms Ashar was morning show host at GNN TV and Editor News Strategy and Planning at Aaj News. She was the host of a daily news show ‘News Hour with Najia’. She worked as a senior anchor/ producer at Geo News for 12 years.
Nasir Abbas Nayyar
A scholar, author, and short story writer, Nasir Abbas Nayyar is the former Director General, Urdu Science Board, Lahore, and currently Professor, Urdu, University of the Punjab, Lahore. His book Urdu Adab ki Tashkeel e Jadid (OUP, 2016) 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 (OUP, 2017), 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. Aik Zamana Khatam Howa Hae is his fourth collection of short stories. His latest book is titled, Jadeediat aur Nauabadiyat (OUP, 2021). He regularly writes on literary issues in The News and occasionally in Dawn.
A retired judge of the Lahore High Court, Nasira Iqbal is a graduate of Kinnaird College, Lahore. She completed her LLM from Harvard after getting married and having two children. In addition to being an advocate and retired judge, she is also a professor of law at Quaid-e-Azam Law College and School of Law. She was president of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (2009) and also a member of the Pakistan Law and Justice Commission. She has spoken around the world at many forums on women and human rights. Her awards include, Sitara-e-Imtiaz (2020); the Fatima Jinnah Medal for Women’s Rights (2006 & 2021); Woman of the Year Star Award (2007); and Wonder Woman Award (2011). Her non-legal experience includes being a Trustee of Transparency International Pakistan; Trustee, Ferozsons Trust; President Punjab Mental Health Association (Fountain House); Member, Interfaith Dialogue Austria; and Global Women’s Peace Initiative. She was a member of PILDAT; is a member of Pakistan SOS Children’s Villages; is a member of the Syndicate Punjab University; is a former member of the Syndicate Fatima Jinnah Women University; and Goodwill Ambassador of the Child Care Foundation, Lahore.
Nasira Zuberi is a senior journalist and media person with twenty-five years’ experience of print as well as electronic journalism. She has worked for Business Recorder, Aaj News, Geo News, and News One. She is the only female journalist who has the successful launch of two news channels (Aaj News and NewsOne) to her credit. A former Controller, News of Aaj TV; Director, News of NewsOne; and Editor, Business Desk, Geo News. She is the author of three poetic collections: Shagoon, Kaanch ka Charaagh, and Teesra Qadam. Working on the fourth book these days. During her professional career she got the opportunity to visit different countries and attend prominent conferences.
Nazir Hussain is Professor of International Relations and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He was Director School of Politics and International Relations (SPIR), Quaid-i-Azam University (2017-2020); he has been associated with the University since 1985. He has also served as Senior Research Fellow on Middle East at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (2001-2002) and has over 30 years of teaching, research, and administrative experience. He has also been associated with the electronic media since 1999. At present, he expresses his views on the electronic media as a security analyst.
Following his graduation from NAPA (National Academy of Performing Arts), Nazrul Hasan has acted in numerous theatre productions, including Equus, Court Martial, and Raagni.His love for classical Urdu literature has also drawn him towards Dastaangoi, the art of storytelling.
Nida Kirmani is Associate Professor of Sociology in the Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. She is also Faculty Director of the Saida Waheed Gender Initiative. Nida has published widely on issues related to gender, Islam, women’s movements, development and urban studies in India and Pakistan. She completed her PhD in 2007 from the University of Manchester in Sociology. Her book, Questioning ‘the Muslim Woman’: Identity and Insecurity in an Urban Indian Locality, was published in 2013 by Routledge. Her current research focuses on urban violence, gender and insecurity in the area of Lyari in Karachi. She is the editor of Marginalisation, Contestation, and Change in South Asian Cities (OUP, 2021).
Niilofur Farrukh is a Karachi based art interventionist whose work has expanded the space for art publication, curation, and public art in Pakistan. She is the author of A Beautiful Despair—The Art and Life Of Meher Afroz ( Le Topical Pvt Ltd., 2020); Pioneering Perspectives (Feroszons, Pvt. Ltd., 1996); and co-editor Pakistan’s Radioactive Decade: An Informal Cultural History of the 1970s (Oxford University Press, Pakistan, 2019). Her columns in mainstream media include ‘Critical Space’ (Dawn) and ‘Art Speak’ (Newsline). She has been on the Board of the International Art Critics Association (Paris) as Vice President. She is on the Advisory Board of a recently launched online discursive platform ‘Ideas and Futures’. She is currently the Managing Trustee of the Karachi Biennale Trust and the CEO of Karachi Biennale. (www.karachibiennale.org.pk).
Noor Us Sabah Tauqeer
Noor Us Sabah Tauqeer is Visiting faculty at Ziauddin University, Karachi where she teaches history of English Literature. She has written and edited children’s comics as well as served as a mentor in school plays, elocution, and rehearsed reading programs. Her work has also been published in anthologies as well as newspapers. She is the author of ‘A Quest with Kaaf’ a first full-length novel.
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 now works as a freelance consultant with a few broadcasting houses. Ms Shah is working on an Urdu translation of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s poetry, and novels in Urdu and Sindhi. She also has three collections of short stories and one collection of poetry in Sindhi.
Nusrat Khawaja is a freelance writer on art and literature. She is also a practising landscape design consultant and qualified horticulturist. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College.
Omair Alavi began his career as a sports journalist and moved to entertainment early in his career. He has been around for over two decades and has written for Dawn, The News, Newsline, etc. He is also the only Pakistani journalist to interview Hollywood stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), and Faran Tahir (Star Trek). Omair Alavi is currently part of the Voice of America team in Karachi and his by-line continues to appear in leading weeklies and websites.
Omar Shahid Hamid
As part of the Karachi Police’s Counter Terrorism department, Omar Shahid Hamid has survived being ambushed by gangsters, implicated by colleagues in a false case, and, as CID chief, barely escaped the bombing of his office by the Pakistani Taliban. In 2011, following an attack on his office by the Pakistani Taliban, he took a five-year sabbatical to write books and worked as a Political Risk Consultant. In 2016, Omar returned to active duty as a Counter Terrorism Officer. 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. His first novel, “The Prisoner” (2013), 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” (2015) won the 2016 Karachi Literature Festival Prize. He received the award again for his third novel “The Party Worker” (2017) at the Karachi Literature Festival in 2018 which is now being adapted for a TV series. His fourth book, “The Fix”, explores the world of cricket match fixing. His fifth book “Betrayal” is a spy thriller based in a regional cold war in South Asia.
Owais Tohid is a leading Pakistani journalist and analyst with twenty-eight years’ experience, he 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.
Parveen Malik is a writer of fiction, teleplays and radio programs; a known literary personality on radio and TV; and, a highly respected publisher of Urdu and Punjabi literary books. Malik is a recipient of several prestigious literary awards and distinctions, including the Waris Shah and Baba Fareed awards. She has authored two books of Punjabi short stories, ‘Ke JanaN MaiN Kaun’ and ‘Nikkay Dukhh’. Her autobiography, ‘Kassian da Paani’, was published in 2016.
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, Bemused, was published, followed in 2018 by his first collection of Urdu poems, Waqt.
Peter Morey is Professor of 20th century English Literature at the University of Birmingham. He specialises in narratives and power, with special attention to representations of, and by, the Muslim diaspora. He has published widely in the fields of postcolonial and modern literary studies, while his interdisciplinary interests also take in media and political discourses. His books include “Fictions of India: Narrative and Power” (Edinburgh UP, 2000); “Rohinton Mistry” (Manchester UP, 2004); “Alternative Indias: Writing, Nation and Communalism” (Rodopi, 2006); and “Framing Muslims: Stereotype and Representation after 9/11” (Harvard University Press, 2011) [co-authored with Amina Yaqin]. From 2007 to 2010 he was Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded ‘Framing Muslims’ international research network. In addition to the “Framing Muslims” monograph, the project resulted in a co-edited collection: “Culture, Diaspora, and Modernity in Muslim Writing” (Routledge, 2012). Between 2012 and 2015 he was an RCUK Global Uncertainties Leadership Fellow heading the ‘Muslims, Trust and Cultural Dialogue’ project. This project yielded two co-edited books: “Muslims, Trust and Multiculturalism” (Palgrave, 2018), and “Contesting Islamophobia” (IB Tauris/Bloomsbury, 2019). His latest book is “Islamophobia and the Novel” (Columbia University Press, 2018). He is currently working on intercultural empathy and narrative form.
Qirat Zahid has an M.Sc. in Microbiology from the University of Karachi and a B.Ed. from the Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad. She has been in the teaching profession since 2013 and currently teaches English at the Civilizations Public School, Karachi. Inspired by the Human Library Organization at Denmark she co-founded The Human Tales Pakistan in 2021 with a group of like-minded friends. It is a platform where people serve as ‘talking books.’ Listeners select books (humans) of their own choice and have a conversation with them. The main objective of this platform is to eradicate prejudice and discrimination in society by listening to stories of people from different backgrounds, without being judgemental, and see the world through their lens.
Rafay Mahmood is the Culture Editor of The Express Tribune. He has previously worked for The News International, PTV Quetta, and Aag TV and serves on the jury panel for ‘SongLines’ Magazine in the UK. In the past 10 years, he has extensively written on Pakistani music, film and theatre, while simultaneously teaching at different media and liberal arts departments in Karachi. In 2017, he left to pursue an MA in Creative Industries: Ethnomusicology and Film Studies from SOAS, University of London. There he also trained as a music researcher and his thesis on the Politics of Folk Music Digitisation in Pakistan has been widely appreciated.
Raja Shehzad originally hails from Karachi and has been based in New Zealand, along with his family, for over two decades. He has a master’s degree from the University of Canterbury in International Law & Politics along with a postgrad diploma from Australian National University in Migration Law and Practice. Despite being in the legal profession he has been writing short stories, novels, and poems for years. Other than the translation of an anthology of lectures of Swami Vivekananda, he has avoided publishing his fiction. Now his first collection of Urdu stories has been published by Maktaba-e-Danyal under the title of ‘Log Sargoshiyon Mein Goya Hain,’ which includes around 60 short stories and one novella.
Karachi-based TV personality, Zulqarnain Jamil Aali, popularly known as Raju Jamil, was a banker by profession, and retired as Senior Vice President/Head Social Media at UBL after 40 years’ service. He debuted on TV for the first time in 1967, appearing in a PTV play. He has acted in over 210 serials, 55 single plays, and 20 English stage plays. He successfully anchored the famous and well-known Weekend with Raju Jamil, a late-night TV show. While
with UBL, he worked on deputation as GM Media, Pakistan Cricket Board for Pak Test Series in Australia in 1999–2000. Raju Jamil, since his teenage, has been an ardent admirer and supporter of Pakistani Cricket and Cinema. He has not only watched almost every Pakistani film since 1958 but remembers most of them; since 2005 he has been researching and writing about the famous Pakistani movies and lamenting on the lost original charm of Pakistani Cinema. In view of Pakistani cinema today, he doubts that it can maintain the norms to match the values and needs of the country regarding environment, religion, and society. In October 2015 Raju, as a member of the Governing Body, was elected as President of Anjuman Taraqqi e Urdu Pakistan. He was nominated by Aftab Ahmed whose tenure ended.
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. He is 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
Senator Mian Raza Rabbani is a Pakistani political leader, constitutional lawyer, and a former Chairman of the Senate (2015-2018). As a legislator, he was responsible for the drafting of the famous 18th Amendment, which restored the original spirit of the Constitution and established a firm foundation for Federalism. He has been elected a Senator from Sindh six times since 1993. A long-standing member of the Pakistan Peoples Party, he was a close aide to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and was appointed the Party’s Deputy Secretary General in 1997 and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate in 2005. Prior to his work in constitutional politics, he was a leading figure on the democratic left and has written extensively on left-wing ideas. Senator Rabbani was awarded the highest civil award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, for his parliamentary services. In addition, he was awarded the Bacha Khan Award for the Defence of Provincial Rights. The Human Rights Society of Pakistan selected him for the 2006 award for his invaluable services for human rights. He was Vice-Chairman of the National Institute of Public Policy and member, Forum of Federations, Toronto. He has represented Pakistan as a delegate and speaker at the UN General Assembly, Inter-Parliamentary Union, and Commonwealth Parliamentary Union. He is the author of three books, “A Biography of Federalism in Pakistan”; “Invisible People” (fiction), winner of the Patras Bukhari Best Fiction Award; and “Smile Snatchers” (fiction).
Raza Ahmad Rumi is a policy analyst, journalist, and an author. He is Director, Park Center for Independent Media and teaches in the journalism department. He is also Visiting Faculty at Cornell Institute for Public Affairs. Raza has been a fellow at the New America Foundation, United States Institute of Peace and is a member of think tank at Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, Georgetown University. Raza was the editor of Daily Times and a TV broadcaster. He is the author of Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller; The Fractious Path: Pakistan’s Democratic Transition; and Identity and Faith and Conflict. His most recent book is Being Pakistani: Society Culture and the Arts (2018). He is co-editor of Rethinking Pakistan (Anthem Press, 2020). Currently he is the editor of The Friday Times and NayaDaur Media.
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.
S. M. Shabbar Zaidi
S. M. Shabbar Zaidi is a Chartered Accountant and is also a senior partner in A.F. Ferguson & Co., a member firm of PwC. He has served as a caretaker provincial minister of Sindh in 2013. Zaidi is best known for his extensive contribution towards development of the taxation and fiscal laws of the country. Among his non-profit work, he is a trustee of Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplantation (SIUT) and member, Board of Governors, Liaquat National Hospital, Karachi. In the past, he has also been the President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan and Chairman of the South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA). Zaidi has authored a number of books, including Panama Leaks–A Blessing in Disguise–Offshore Assets of Pakistani Citizens, A Journey for Clarity and Pakistan: Not a Failed State.
Dr Saad Shafqat is Professor of Neurology at the 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 latest novel, “Rivals”, a hospital drama set in Karachi, has recently been published by Bloomsbury.
A filmmaker and producer, best known for her independent documentary films Her first feature film, ‘Khamosh Pani’, won 17 international awards, including the Golden Leopard award for best film at the Locarno Film Festival in 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.
Sabir Zafar is a poet and lyricist. He is the author of 36 collections of Urdu ghazals and more than one thousand lyrics. Zafar is the recipient of Tamgha -e-Imtiaz in 2010, PTV Award, Indus Music Award, and the ARY Music Award.
Sachin Kureishi is a successful writer for film and TV in the UK. He co-wrote the original series, The Driver, about a Syrian immigrant’s arrival in London, under commission from The Forge. He is currently adapting a novel for Daybreak Pictures, has developed an original series with Fable Pictures, and was in the writers’ room for series two of Ackley Bridge, a comedy-drama that aired on Channel 4. He is currently a staff writer for Channel 4/Lime Pictures’ Hollyoaks. He has also collaborated on writing projects with Hanif Kureishi in the past.
Sadaf Halai is a poet and educator whose poems have been published in Salmagundi, Ploughshares, Granta, Vallum, Journal of Postcolonial Writing and The Aleph Review. Her writing has also been published in various anthologies, including The Life’s Too Short Literary Review and Voices and Visions: Young Writers from Pakistan (2008). She is the recipient of many awards including prizes from the Academy of American Poets. Sadaf was chosen as a finalist for the Glimmer Train Short Story Award for New Writers. She is an alumna of the Creative Writing Program at Boston University.
Safinah Danish Elahi
Safinah D. Elahi is an Early Learning Years Educator. She has been teaching at Pre School Plus, Karachi since 2015. She also has a LLB degree. She is the author of The Unbridled Romance of Love and Pain (2019); Eye on the Prize (2020); she also contributed to the pandemic anthology, The Stained Glass Window. She is the founder of Reverie Publishers. Safinah is an acclaimed writer with many publications for Pakistan’s leading print & digital magazine, Destinations. She remains an active member of various Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in health and education including Baithak School Foundation and Karachi Down Syndrome Programme (KDSP).
Saira Ghulam Nabi
Saira Ghulam Nabi earned her graduation and post-graduation degrees from University of Karachi. During her academic career, she remained associated with Radio Pakistan’s program ‘ Bazm e Talaba’. While she was completing her post-graduation she joined Chand group of publications. At the age of 18, she worked for ‘Khawateen digest’ and ‘Shua’a digest’ as sub-editor. She is Head of Script, MD Productions, HUM TV. In 2010, her book ‘Mukhaatib’ was published, which contains selection of interviews with poets. She has also worked as sub-editor of ‘Quarterly Ainda’ and ‘Mazaah Plus’.
Salahuddin Ahmed obtained his law degree from the University of Buckingham, UK in 2000. He was called to the Bar of England Wales from Lincoln’s Inn in 2002. He has been practicing in Karachi since. He is a partner of the law firm of Malik, Chaudhry, Ahmed Siddiqi, in Karachi.
Salena Godden is one of Britain’s best loved poets and performers. She is also a broadcaster, memoirist and essayist and is widely anthologised; her essay ‘Shade’ was published in award-winning anthology The Good Immigrant. She has published several volumes of poetry, the latest of which was Pessimism is for Lightweights, and a literary childhood memoir, Springfield Road. In November 2020, she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Mrs Death Misses Death is her debut novel. It was shortlisted for the Gordon Burn Prize 2021. Film and TV rights for Mrs Death Misses Death have been optioned by Idris Elba’s production company Green Door Pictures.
Salma Malik is Assistant Professor at the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan. She is a member, Board of Governors, Institute of Regional Studies, Islamabad. She is an alumnus of Uppsala University, Sweden, the Asia Pacific Center for Strategic Studies APCSS, Hawaii. Besides being a member of IISS London, she is part of various regional and international fora. Prior to joining QAU, she worked as a Research Officer at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan (June 1996-August 1999). Her publications include an edited volume, Pakistan’s Security Problems and Challenges in the Next Decade (October 2015); RCSS Policy Studies titled, Small Arms and the Security Debate in South Asia; USIP co-authored study Mapping Conflict Trends in Pakistan, besides articles in research journals, book chapters and monthly columns.
Prof. Dr Salma Shaheen, Director Pashto Academy, is a prominent Pashto intellectual, writer, and poet. She has penned 19 books. Dr Shaheen has been awarded the prestigious Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the government of Pakistan for her services to literature. Besides this, the government of Afghanistan also awarded her the presidential award in 2018.
Salman Tarek Kureshi
Salman Tarek Kureshi is an English language poet, writer, and columnist. His 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.
Sameena Nazeer, entomologist, theatre film and TV actor, playwright, producer, traveller and author of a book Kallo. Her second novel is getting published this year.
Sardar Masood Khan
Sardar Masood Khan is currently Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US. He has served 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.
He 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.
Sarvat Hasin is from Pakistan. She has a master’s degree in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford. Her first novel, This Wide Night, was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Her second book You Can’t Go Home Again was published in 2018 and featured in Vogue India’s and The Hindu’s best of the year lists. She won the Moth Writer’s Retreat Bursary in 2018 and the Mo Siewcharran Prize in 2019. Her essays and poetry have appeared in publications such as Outsiders, The Mays Anthology, English PEN, and Harper’s Bazaar. She lives in London and works at the Almeida Theatre.
Sateah Afreedi is an author, researcher, and trainer. She has been in the content industry for more than a decade easily. She’s worked in different fields on content, writing for tourism, real estate, about books and scripts for shows as well. She’s also worked with a thinktank, Center for Research and Security Studies, and done many workshops with them in Islamabad over the years on the concept of public speaking. In March of 2021, she published her first book, We are All Sinners in the End, which is an ode to her maternal grandparents and explores the themes of love and death. It is a collection of poems that manifested during the quarantine in 2020.
Shahbaz Nayyar is a renowned poet from Rahim Yar Khan. He is a host, anchor person at PTV Home since January 2019 and a poet/compere/ RJ at Radio Jeevay Pakistan Fm99, Rahim Yar Khan since October 2017.
Shaheen Salahuddin is a well-known TV anchor, journalist, and short story writer. She has over 25 years of experience in the media industry, 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 Nayar and Iqbal Haider.
A renowned educationist, linguist, teacher, researcher, academic, administrator, and a prolific writer for the last four decades. Dr Siddiqui has worked in several prestigious universities such as AKU, LUMS, AIOU, and NUML to name a few. Currently, he is Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Media Studies, Art and Design at Lahore School of Economics. 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” (Urdu novel); “Zair-e-Aasman” (Urdu columns); “Mausam-e-Khush Rang” (Urdu columns); and “Ad Pora Khawab” (Sindhi novel).
Shahnaz Wazir Ali
Shahnaz Wazir Ali is the President of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology ( SZ ABIST ) a multi- campus university in Pakistan. In 2016, she was awarded Sitara-e-Imtiaz, a National Civil Award for her services to education. She has an illustrious career as an educationist, development policy specialist, member of parliament, Minister of State for Education, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sectors and as a well- known women’s rights activist, and a strong advocate for polio immunization and women’s reproductive health. Her long-term commitment to education provision for children of low income families is reflected in her 53 years of contribution as a Trustee to the Education Trust Nasra Schools in Karachi.
Shahzad Sharjeel regularly writes for Dawn, the leading English language newspaper of Pakistan. He also teaches International Political Economy, Social Policy, and Development Communication at public and private universities. A native of Tharparkar, Sindh, he grew up in Karachi. He has a post-graduate degree in International Relations from the University of Karachi where he has also taught. He also studied at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University Boston. “Rindana”, a collection of satire and humour essays in Urdu, is Sharjeel’s latest book published by Danyal publications. His collection of poetry titled “Kiyun” was published in 2008.
Shaiq Usmani is the Senior and founding Partner of Usmani & Iqbal – Advocates and Solicitors. He is the holder of a Master of Laws Degree from the University of Southampton, is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators in London and as is a Member of the International Bar Association. Mr Usmani has also served as a Judge of the High Court of Sindh. He regularly appears before the Supreme Court of Pakistan in various civil and constitutional matters. In addition to being one of the most experienced practicing lawyers and general counsel Mr Usmani is considered to be an expert on Admiralty and Maritime Law, as well as often being asked to give his interpretation on Islamic Jurisprudence of which he is a researcher and scholar.
Sharif Awan is a writer, culture revivalist, internationally acclaimed curator/producer of classical, folk and world music of Pakistan. He has recorded and preserved indigenous Pakistani music and produced several quality audio and video albums. He has also written, produced, edited and published books on Pakistani culture. Indus Raag, produced by Sharif Awan, was internationally acknowledged as a premier project of Pakistani music. Indus Raag was Pakistan’s first ever entry to the coveted Grammy Awards. Sharif is the Founder/Director of Tehzeeb Foundation of Pakistan, an organization working for the promotion, preservation and archiving of classical heritage, music, literature, and fine arts and is also the founder/director of the Tehzeeb Festival. Sharif is also a senior civil servant and is presently working as Member in the Federal Board of Revenue.
Shazad Dada is President & CEO of United Bank Limited (UBL). He has been CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (Pakistan) Ltd and Africa & Middle East Regional Management Team; and CEO & Managing Director of Barclays Pakistan. Mr Dada worked at the Deutsche Bank Securities Inc, New York, for over fifteen years in various capacities, last as the Managing Director, Head of TMT Americas, in the Mergers, Acquisitions and Corporate Advisory Group, before moving back to Pakistan as the Managing Director, Deutsche Bank AG, Pakistan.
Sheema Kermani is Pakistan’s leading performance artist and 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. Sheema teaches dance and drama and 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.
Shireen Haroun is an English language poet, whose work is imbued with sharp observations of nature and a sensibility tending towards the dark side. Her poems have appeared in the journals of the Pakistan Academy of Letters, the Canadian magazine, ‘Vellum’, and other international publications in the UK and US. Shireen Haroun is the only daughter of the late Maki Kureishi, who was herself one of Pakistan’s finest poets in English. She teaches English Literature to both O and A level students. She holds a law degree from the University of Warwick, England. She lives in Karachi with her husband of Malaysian origin, Jeeva Haroun, who is also a lawyer and occasional poet.
Sibtain Naqvi is an independent researcher and focuses on institutional and cultural history. A frequent contributor to Pakistan’s English newspapers, Naqvi’s research has been presented in Oxford, Cambridge, Columbia, and other institutions. His essays have been published by Oxford University Press in Pakistan’s Radioactive Decade. He has been heavily cited in Through the Eyes of Tiger Cubs: Views of Asia’s Next Generation published by Time Magazine, Asia Business Council, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at National University of Singapore. He has authored Unravelling Gordian Knots: The Works and Worlds of Dr. Ishrat Husain, Chronicling Excellence: A History of IBA, Cobwebbed World of Sadequain: A Retrospective, Ghalib: Call of Angel, Sadequain: Drawings 1970, Surah-e-Rehman: Calligraphy and Rubaiyaat-e-Kuliyaat-Sadequain.
Sultana Siddiqui is a Pakistani television director, producer, and a businessperson from Karachi. She is director and president of Hum Network Limited and is first woman to start and run a TV channel. Ms Siddiqui started her career from PTV as a producer in Karachi in 1974. Later, she started the Eye Television Network, under which her four cable channels are working, including Hum TV. Over the years, she has won numerous awards for her work on television. These have included Best Producer of a Drama Serial, Best Producer of a Music Production, the Hazrat Khadijat-ul-Kubra Award, Women of Vision Award, Nigar Award, the Gold Medal Award, Sindh Graduates Association Award, and the Pride of Performance Award from the Government of Pakistan. As a director she had remained inactive for ten years before her latest drama serial Zindagi Gulzar Hai, a critically acclaimed serial that has been widely commended.
Ms Siddiqui was awarded the Leadership Award 2014 by the CEO Club and Manager Today Magazine. Her contribution to the entertainment industry was recognized with the Scroll of Honour award at the 5th GR8! Women Awards held in Dubai.
Syed Jaffar Ahmed
Dr Syed Jaffar Ahmed is Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, Sohail University, and Director of Institute of Historical and Social Research, Karachi. He is also a former Director of Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi. Dr Ahmed has a long and rich academic career. Dr Ahmed teaches Government and Politics in Pakistan, History of Freedom Movement, Research Methodology, and Contemporary Socio-political Issues of Pakistan. He has to his credit six books; he has also compiled twenty other books on history, politics and literature. His authored books include Federalism in Pakistan: A Constitutional Study, and Pakistan: Historical Legacies, Contemporary Issues. His research articles have been published in international and national journals and anthologies.
Syed Kashif Raza
Syed Kashif Raza is a broadcast journalist by profession. A poet, fiction writer, and translator based in Karachi, he has authored seven books including two volumes of poetry. His first novel, “Char Darvesh aur Aik Katchwa”, was published in October 2018; the novel won the UBL prize for fiction and was short-listed for the KLF prize for Urdu Literature. He has also published two poetry collections: “Muhabbat ka Mahall-e Wuqu” and “Mamnu Mausamon ki Kitaab”. His translation of Arundhati Roy’s latest book “Azadi: Freedom, Fascism, Fiction” has been published recently by Folio Books. He writes book reviews, critical essays, and political articles, both in Urdu and English, for different newspapers and websites. He works for Geo News and lives in Karachi.
Taha Kehar is a novelist, journalist and literary critic. A law graduate from SOAS, London, Kehar is the author of two novels, “Typically Tanya” (HarperCollins India, 2018) and “Of Rift and Rivalry” (Palimpsest Publishers, 2014). He is the co-editor of “The Stained-Glass Window: Stories of the Pandemic from Pakistan”. Kehar has served as the head of Peshawar city pages and bi-monthly books page of ‘The Express Tribune’, and worked as an assistant editor on the op-ed desk at ‘The News’. Kehar’s essays, reviews and commentaries have been published in ‘The News on Sunday’, ‘The Hindu’ and ‘South Asia’ magazine and his short fiction has appeared in the Delhi-based quarterly ‘The Equator Line’, the biannual journal ‘Pakistani Literature’ and the OUP anthology “I’ll Find My Way”. Two of his short stories appeared in an anthology titled “The Banyan and Her Roots”, which has been edited by the British writer Jad Adams. In 2016, he guest-edited ‘Pakistan: After the Stereotypes’ – an issue of ‘The Equator Line’ – that focused on new writing from Pakistan. Kehar curates ‘Tales from Karachi: City of Words’, an Instagram e-anthology that publishes flash fiction from and about Karachi. He recently compiled and edited the first print anthology of the initiative titled “Tales from Karachi” (Moringa, 2021). Based in Karachi, he teaches undergraduate media courses and has just completed a post-modern detective novel.
Tania Aidrus co-founded Rayn to create a space for emerging talent to solve tough problems enabled by technology and put Pakistan on the global map. She is a former Head of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Digital Pakistan Initiative. Previously, Tania spent over a decade at Google in the US and Singapore where she was a Director of Product Management for Next Billion Users and Payments. Tania also started Google’s business in South Asia Frontier Markets (Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka), and led those teams as the Country Manager. She co-founded a health-tech startup— ClickDiagnostics and spent a part of her career consulting for private and public sector organizations at Booz Allen Hamilton. Tania holds an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and a BSc from Brandeis University.
Tanveer Anjum is a distinguished poet from Karachi, who emerged on the scene of Urdu poetry in the 1970s and became famous in the genre of prose poem. She is the author of Andekhi Lehrein (1982); Safar aur Qaid mein Nazmein (1993); Toofani Barishon mein Raqsan Sitarey (1997); Sar-o-Barg-e-Arzoo (2001); Zindagi Mere Pairon se Lipat Jaaegi (2010); Naye Naam ki Mohabbat (2013); Hashyon mein Rang (2016); Frame se Bahar (2016); Nai Zabaan ke Huruf (2020); and Fireworks on a Windowpane (2014; English translations of her selected poems). She has a PhD in English from the University of Texas, Austin and currently teaches Urdu and English Literature courses at Habib University and Iqra University, Karachi. She is a recipient of the Aizaz-e-Fazeelat award from the President of Pakistan.
Tariq Banuri, Chairman, Higher Education Commission, Government of Pakistan, holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University. He started his career as a member of the erstwhile Civil Service of Pakistan, and served in a number of positions, including as Professor of Economics, University of Utah; Director, UN Division for Sustainable Development; founder and first Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad; Director, Asia Centre of the Stockholm Environment Institute; and Executive Director of the Global Change Impact Studies Centre, Islamabad. In the past, he has served on national as well as international forums for policy and research, including as Coordinating Lead Author on the Nobel Prize winning Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change; member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change; member of the UN Committee on Development Policy; member of the Pakistan Environmental Protection Council; member of the Central Board of Governors of the State Bank of Pakistan; and member/secretary of the Steering Committee on Higher Education. In 2002, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz for his services to research and education.
Ushna Shah is a Pakistani actress. She was born on 12 February 1990 in Toronto, Canada. She is the daughter of Ismat Tahira and sister of actress Irsa Ghazal and acclaimed director Shah Sharahbeel. Ushna has a passion for theatre, acting, and especially writing. She is an avid animal lover and a strong advocate for better treatment of animals in Pakistan.
Uzma Aslam Khan
Uzma Aslam Khan is an award-winning author of five novels translated worldwide to critical acclaim. These include “Trespassing”, recipient of a Commonwealth Prize nomination in 2003; “The Geometry of God”, a Kirkus Reviews’ Best Book of 2009; “Thinner Than Skin”, nominated for the Man Asian Literary Prize and DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and winner of the French Embassy Prize for Best Fiction at the Karachi Literature Festival 2014. Her new novel, “The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali” won the 9th UBL Literary Awards English Language Fiction category 2020 as well as the Karachi Literature Festival-Getz Pharma Fiction Prize 2021. Recently released in Sweden, “The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali” is forthcoming in the US and UK in April 2022. Ms. Khan’s work has appeared in ‘Granta’, ‘AGNI’, ‘Zoetrope: All Story’, ‘The Massachusetts Review’, ‘Nimrod International Journal’, ‘Calyx’, ‘The Guardian’, ‘Dawn’, and ‘Herald’, among many other journals and periodicals. Born in Lahore and brought up in Manila, Tokyo, London, and Karachi, Ms. Khan currently lives in the US.
Dr Vaqar Ahmed is a former civil servant and currently Joint Executive Director, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). Earlier, he has served UNDP, and has undertaken assignments with Asian Development Bank, World Bank Group, and Ministries of Finance, Planning and Commerce in Pakistan. He has held advisory roles in provincial governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He is also the honorary Research Fellow at Partnership for Economic Policy, Canada, and Steering Committee Member for Southern Voice. He served as a visiting faculty member and researcher in different international institutes, including the University of Laval in Canada, University of Le Havre in France, National University of Ireland, Pakistan’s Quaid-i-Azam University, and National School of Public Policy. He was recipient of 2015 Young Leaders Fellowship award by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He continues to publish on various aspects of international trade, public finance, and private sector competitiveness. He is the author of “Pakistan’s Agenda for Economic Reforms” (OUP, 2018). He is convenor of Pakistan’s National Network for Economic Think Tanks. His political economy commentary can be seen on Arab News and PTV World.
He has also served on various boards and committees including at Fauji Foundation, Pakistan’s Planning Commission, Punjab Urban Unit, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment & Trade, National Skills University, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, and Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industries.
A historian and commentator on international affairs, Victoria Schofield was educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and graduated with a degree in Modern History. While at Oxford she was president of the Union, in succession to Benazir Bhutto. In 1978, she travelled to Pakistan to attend the appeal of Benazir’s father, former prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, against the death sentence in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Her first book, “Bhutto: Trial and Execution”, was published in 1979. Since then, she has contributed to numerous media outlets including the ‘Sunday Telegraph’, ‘The Times’, ‘The Independent’, ‘The Spectator’ and, as a commentator, for the BBC and Al Jazeera. Her other publications include a two-volume history of the UK’s’ oldest highland regiment, “The Black Watch”; “Wavell: Soldier and Statesman” (published by OUP Pakistan in 2018); “Kashmir in the Crossfire” (1996); “Kashmir in Conflict” (2000, 2003, 2010, 2021); “Afghan Frontier”; “At the Crossroads of Conflict” (2003). Her latest book, “The Fragrance of Tears: My Friendship with Benazir Bhutto” was published by OUP Pakistan in 2021.
Waheed Noor is 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.
Yasir Husain has worked to bring knowledge about environment, art and new media, to the public, through art and technology projects, community involvement, an engagement with culture, and working in schools. He is an artist and nature campaigner and his working concepts are the social, society, culture, information, media, technology, interactive, connected, history, theory, philosophy, individual and collective space, urban global future.
After co-organizing the climate march 2019, Yasir founded the Green Pakistan Coalition for advocacy, and Darya Lab for doing on-ground projects. The first, Green Pakistan Coalition, is an environmental law network – monitoring the climate emergency in Pakistan, frequently taking erring provincial governments to repent in court!Yasir has engaged the public through art and technology projects, climate activism, teaching ecological science and “stepping into” eco-friendly lifestyles. Some
- Parks for people – socially designed parks
- Citizen & Information – Online public engagement in government
- The Clean Air campaign & an artwork for Karachi Biennale-22
Founder Director of the Gurmani Centre for South Asian Languages and Literature, Social Sciences Department, LUMS; she worked at LUMS from 2007 to August 2016. Yasmeen Hameed has authored five books of poetry in Urdu. Her book, Pakistani Urdu Verse (2010), was awarded the UBL/Jang Literary Excellence Award in 2012. She has compiled and edited Daybreak: Writings on Faiz (2013); and Naya Urdu Afsana. Her poems have been published in translation in Granta, 112 Pakistan, and the anthology Modern Poetry of Pakistan. She was guest editor of Pakistani Literature (English), published by the Pakistan Academy of Letters, Islamabad and has edited seven volumes of the journal, including two volumes of a special issue on women writers from Pakistan. Yasmeen Hameed was awarded the Tamgha-e Imtiaz (2008) for Literature by the Government of Pakistan.
Younis Butt is a Pakistani screenwriter and humourist notable for his shows. He is also a column writer and executive producer. His most popular show is Hum Sab Umeed Sai Hain. Most of his TV shows were derived from his writings. His current show is Hum Sab Ajeeb Se Hain which is being broadcast on Aaj Entertainment.
Zafar Ali Hilaly
Zafar Ali Hilaly is a Pakistani political analyst and diplomat who has previously served as an ambassador to Yemen, Nigeria, and (from February 2001) Italy. He was Special Secretary (Foreign Affairs) (G22) to the Prime Minister (1993–96); Special Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1997–98); and Additional Foreign Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1991–93). A columnist, he often writes for newspapers such as the Daily Times, The Express Tribune, and The News International. Additionally, he makes frequent appearances on 92 News in his capacity as an analyst and has his own program on GNN TV on weekends from 10–11 p.m. Mr Hilaly has an LLB (Hons) from King’s College, University of London and an MSc from the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.
Zahid Hussain is an award-winning journalist and author. A former correspondent for The Times of London and The Wall Street Journal, he also has covered Pakistan and Afghanistan for several other international publications, including Associated Press, Newsweek, The Economist, and India Today. He is a regular columnist for Dawn. He has published numerous research papers for various international think tanks on subjects related to regional conflicts, terrorism, and geopolitics. Hussain was Pakistan scholar at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington D.C., and Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, and the Henry Stimson Center, Washington D.C. He has worked as a consultant to the World Bank and the Department for International Development (DFID). He regularly participates in international conferences and seminars. Hussain appears regularly as a commentator on various national and international radio and TV channels including BBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera. He is the author of Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam and The Scorpion’s Tail: The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan—And How It Threatens America. The books have won widespread acclaim as seminal texts on the subject. His new book No-Win War: The Paradox of US-Pakistan Relations in Afghanistan’s Shadow has recently been published by Oxford University Press.
Zahida Quadri is Assistant Director Excavation, Culture, Tourism Antiquities and Archives Department, Government of Sindh.
Zahida Raees Raji
Zahida Raees Raji is an MPhil scholar of Balochi language and literature at the University of Balochistan. She has a also has a master’s degree in Balochi language and literature from the same university. A science graduate from the University of Karachi, she has a two-year diploma in computer science from the Sindh Board of Technical Education, Karachi and a one-year diploma in Oracle Database and developer tracks from OraSoft, Karachi. Zahida has authored five books on diverse genres such as poetry (in Balochi and Urdu), short stories, essays, novel, novelette, drama , book reviews and technical writings. She has also translated literary and academic texts and authored academic and non-academic research papers.
Zarmina Raza is the co-founder and co-host of both the truth-telling platform, The Crows Karachi, and the podcast, A Cup of Possibilitea. In 2020 she started a weekly reading and writing meet-up, Poetry in the Park. She also teaches A level Literature at KGS, Cedar, and Eden. She is currently on the AKU-IED Blog Editorial Board and has co-edited and contributed to the recently published Inked: Conversations, an anthology based on the weekly sessions of the online writing group that she formed in response to the Covid lockdown in 2020.
Zehra Nigah is one of the foremost Urdu poets of Pakistan. She was one of two female poets to gain prominence in the 1950s. She was born on 14 May 1937 in Hyderabad, India and migrated to Pakistan with her parents during the partition in 1947. Coming from a well-known literary and intellectual family, she counts Anwar Maqsood and Fatima Suraiya Bajia among her siblings. She has three collections of poetry to her credit and recently an omnibus of her works has been published in Lahore. She has received various awards at home and abroad in recognition of her work. She is also a scriptwriter of popular television serials and films. She received the Pride of Performance Award from the President of Pakistan in 2006.
Zia Akhter Abbas
Zia Akhter Abbas, is Executive Vice President Inputs at the TCF. In this role, leads teams responsible for moving TCF towards being a more sustainable enterprise. He has a strong financial services and retailing background with a 17 year accomplished career in the banking industry. Zia served in executive management roles at Standard Chartered Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, NIB Bank and Citibank in Pakistan and UAE. He was the Head of Retail Products & Segments at the Standard Chartered Bank until he stepped down in 2014 to join TCF. He holds an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma from Lester B. Pearson United World College, Canada and an MBA from LUMS.
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.
Zubair Ahmad retired as Associate Professor of English from Government Islamia College, Lahore in 2018. He has authored seven books in Punjabi including a book of poetry “Dam Yaad na Keeta” (1996); three collections of short stories; a short fiction “Kabootor, Banare te Galiãn” (2013); and “Pani di Kandh” (2019). He is the recipient of several awards such as the Dhahan International Punjabi Literature Prize for Short Stories 2014 and 2020 (the Canada based prestigious award is considered Booker Prize of Punjabi language and Literature); and the first Masud Khaddarposh Award for Best Book of Punjabi Fiction for the year 2013. He worked as a sub-editor in the first Punjabi newspaper ‘Sajjan’ (1988-1990) under the editorship of Hussain Naqi and contributes columns about Punjabi in Daily ‘Dawn’ and ‘The News on Sunday’. He is the co-editor of the annual magazine ‘Bara Mah’ with Amarjit Chandan. Zubair Ahmad worked for French Encyclopedia of Punjabi and has written ten entries under the editorship of Dr Anne Murphy of the University of British Columbia. He runs a Punjabi welfare bookshop, Kitab Trinjan, as a volunteer.