Pakistani physicist, Dr Abdul Hameed Nayyar, taught at Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad for 32 years. Since retirement, he has pursued research on issues in education, energy, and nuclear disarmament. He has also been associated with Princeton University, USA, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, Islamabad in various capacities. He is a member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials. He received the 2010 Joseph A. Burton Award from the American Physical Society. Dr Nayyar also participates in national, regional, and international peace movements.
An artist, art critic, and curator, his writings have been published in magazines, catalogues, and books both nationally and internationally, and his artwork has been widely exhibited, most recently at Whitechapel Gallery, London, as part of a commemorative show titled, ‘Where Three Dreams Cross: 150 Years of Photography in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh’ (2010). He was a writer-in-residence at Ledig House, USA, and Ucross Foundation, USA in 2000, and a curator-in-residence at the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum in Japan in 2002. Among the many exhibitions he has curated to date, An Idea of Perfection: National Exhibition of Photography is noteworthy. He is the author of two published books, Regards Croisés (1996) and The Distant Steppe (1997), and has just finished writing his third, Dialogues with Threads: Traditions of Embroidery in Hazara. He teaches Art Appreciation and Studio Practice at The National College of Arts, Rawalpindi.
Adrian A Husain
Adrian A Husain was educated in England and Switzerland. He did his BA (Hons.) at New College, Oxford. He received a PhD for a thesis on Shakespeare and Machiavelli from the University of East Anglia and authored the critically acclaimed Politics and Genre in Hamlet (OUP, 2004). He is a winner of the prestigious Guinness Poetry Prize. A selection of his poems was published under the title Desert Album as part of Pakistan’s Jubilee in English series (OUP, 1997). His collection of sonnets titled Italian Window was published in 2017. His next collection of sonnets, Knife of the Tide awaits publication.
A political and cultural commentator and author. Her bestselling book, The Map of Love, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize (1999) and has been translated into more than thirty languages. Her account of the Egyptian revolution of 2011, Cairo: a City Transformed, came out in January 2014. Her collection of essays, Mezzaterra (2004), has been influential. From 2011 to 2015, she wrote for al-Shorouk in Egypt. In 2007, Ms Soueif co-founded the Palestine Festival of Literature, which takes place annually in the cities of occupied Palestine and Gaza. The first recipient of the Mahmoud Darwish Award (Palestine) (2010), she has also received the Metropolis Bleu (Canada) and the Constantine Cavafy (Egypt and Greece) (2012) awards. In October 2019, she received the European Cultural Foundation’s Princess Margriet Award for Culture.
Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist based in Lahore, who has covered Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia for a variety of publications since 1979. He is the author of five Taliban (2000); Descent into Chaos: The US and the Disaster in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia (2008); Jihad (2002); and The Resurgence of Central Asia (1994). His latest book is Pakistan on the Brink, The Future of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Both Taliban and Descent into Chaos are on course lists at over 200 universities and defence colleges around the world. His books have won numerous prizes and he lectures widely at universities, defence colleges, and conferences around the world.
He has informally advised governments, the UN, and other institutions on bringing peace to Afghanistan. In 2001, he donated one-third of his book profits to starting the ‘Open Media Fund of Afghanistan’ which helped revitalize the media and helped launch a dozen newspapers and magazines in Kabul. He is a founding director of the Lahore Literary Festival that was instrumental in Lahore being nominated as a City of Culture by UNESCO.
Foreign Policy magazine chose him, twice, as one of the world’s most important 100 Global Thinkers in 2009 and 2010. In December 2009, he was appointed a member of the board of the Committee to Protect Journalists and in 2018 he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group. He has also served on the Board of Advisers for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva for five years.
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.
Ali Madeeh Hashmi
Dr Ali Madeeh Hashmi is a psychiatrist, teacher, writer, and translator. In addition to his professional activities, Dr Hashmi is the author of five books on poetry and literature including the first (and only) biography of his grandfather, the celebrated poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz published in 2016. His essays about mental health, literature, poetry, and history have been published in scientific journals, magazines, newspapers and literary journals in Pakistan, India, and the US. His most recent book The Desert of Possibility: Writings on Poetry and Literature was published in 2017. He is a Trustee of the Faiz Foundation Trust, Pakistan, and President of Faiz Foundation Inc. USA. He lives in Lahore where he teaches and practices psychiatry.
Ali Raza is an Associate Professor of History at LUMS. He is the author of Revolutionary Pasts: Communist Internationalism in Colonial India (CUP 2020; Folio Books 2021)”
Amjad Islam Amjad
Amjad Islam Amjad is an Urdu language poet, dramatist, lyricist, and man of letters. He is perhaps best known for writing the television drama series Waris, which was followed by Dehleez, Samandar, Raat, Waqt, and Apnay Log. He has received many awards for his work, including Pride of Performance in 1987 and Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 1998. He began his working life as a lecturer in M.A.O. College, Lahore. He worked as a deputy director at the Punjab Council of the Arts from 1975 to 1979, before returning to teaching. In 1989, Amjad was appointed Director General of Urdu Science Board. He has also worked as a project director of the Children’s Library Complex. In addition to his famous TV drama series, Amjad has written many columns, translations, criticisms, and essays while his main focus remained on writing poetry. In June 2008, he joined the Urdu newspaper Daily Express and writes a column titled Chashm-e-Tamasha.
Amjad Noorani retired in 1999 from a physical therapy clinical and consulting practice in California—and enthusiastically plunged right into activism for education reform in Pakistan. The intensity of his efforts has incrementally picked up in recent years, resulting in thoughtful development of a series of detailed reform proposals in this book—and the ‘Call to Action’. He remains closely connected with K-12 education reform through frequent travel to his home country, and his contribution to education forums. Since 2003, he has been associated with TCF and TCF-USA in advisory and leadership positions, and for philanthropic outreach. As lead author of the book titled, Agents of Change: The Problematic Landscape of Pakistan’s K-12 Education and the People Leading the Change (OUP, 2021), his narrative and analyses are based on extensive personal research, conversations in the education community, interviews with experts in the field, and first-hand knowledge of the challenges within the education system.
Dr Ammar Ali Jan is a historian, with a doctorate degree in History from the University of Cambridge. He is an organiser at Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement, a political organisation that aims to bring together students, workers, women, peasants and all the marginalised communities to build a pro-people politics in Pakistan. He has been part of the teaching faculties at the Government College University, Lahore, Punjab University, Lahore and Forman Christian College University, Lahore. Jan writes frequently for The News and occasionally for Aljazeera, Economic and Political Weekly and several international independent platforms.
Amy Christianson is the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi. She joined Mission Pakistan from the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs where she was the Global Alumni Outreach Coordinator deepening the U.S. government’s relationship with millions of exchange alumni. She joined the Foreign Service in 2002 and previously served in South Africa, Brazil, Honduras, Mexico, and in Washington D.C. as the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Amy was the Deputy Executive Director of a Native American association located in Washington, D.C. and a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic.
Anita M. Weiss
Anita M. Weiss received her doctorate in sociology from UC Berkeley and is Professor of International and Global Studies at the University of Oregon. She has published extensively on social development, gender issues, and political Islam in Pakistan. She has published eight books including Development Challenges Confronting Pakistan (co-edited with Saba Gul Khattak, 2013), Pathways to Power: The Domestic Politics of South Asia (co-edited with Arjun Guneratne, 2014), and Interpreting Islam, Modernity and Women’s Rights in Pakistan (2014). She was in Pakistan extensively conducting interviews between 2016–19 for her recent book, Countering Violent Extremism in Pakistan: Local Actions, Local Voices (Oxford University Press 2020), which identifies the various ways in which local people are responding, taking stands, recapturing their culture, and saying ‘stop’ to the violent extremism that has manifested in Pakistan. The book, highlighted on a panel at this year’s KLF, hence focuses on finding the ‘sparks of hope’ to counter extremism and how they are creating alternative narratives about culture and identity, and their vision of a future without violence. Professor Weiss recently stepped down after seven years as Head of the Department of International Studies, is a member of the editorial board of Globalizations as well as a number of journals from Pakistan, has been a member of the Research Advisory Board of the Pakistan National Commission on the Status of Women, and is on the Executive Committee of the Religion and International Relations as well as the Interdisciplinary Studies (IDSS) sections of the International Studies Association.
Anjum Altaf was Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). He is the author of Transgressions: Poems Inspired by Faiz Ahmed Faiz (Delhi 2019; Karachi 2020; Kindle 2021) and co-author (with Amit Basole) of Thinking with Ghalib: Poetry for a New Generation (forthcoming 2021). Dr Altaf manages ‘The South Asian Idea’, a learning resource for college students in South Asia.
Anwar Shaoor is one of the most prolific Urdu poets of our time. He has a large following amongst admirers of Urdu poetry and has received high accolades from critics and contemporaries alike. With three collections of ghazals to his credit, Andokhta, Mashq-e-Sukhan, and Mee Raqsam, his work is read in literary journals around the world.
Arfa Sayeda Zehra
An educationist, literary personality, and Urdu language expert. She is the alumna of the Lahore College for Women University; Government College University; and the University of Hawaii, Manoa. Dr Zehra is a professor of history at Forman Christian College University and a former principal of the Lahore College for Women University.
Ambassador Arif Kamal is a retired career diplomat and former Director, Institute of Strategic Studies, Research & Analysis (ISSRA), National Defence University, Islamabad. In a career with Pakistan Foreign Service spanning over 35 years, he has held a number of key assignments: Desk Officer on Iran; Political Officer in Moscow and later as a key officer on the Soviet desk in Islamabad; he was also assigned to Tokyo and Ottawa; served as Consul General in Jeddah; and Ambassador to Qatar and Jordan with concurrent accreditation to Palestine. At ISSRA, he chaired Global Studies while his role there rested upon his years of experience as a diplomat and was geared to policy-relevant research.
A political activist and theatre artist, Arooj has worked with the Progressive Students Collective for the restoration of student unions among other collectives in Lahore like The Feminist Collective, Sangat, Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement, and Aurat March, Lahore.
Arshad Saeed Husain
Arshad Saeed Husain is the Managing Director of Oxford University Press, Pakistan. He has over 29 years of broad-based commercial experience working for leading multinational companies in Pharmaceuticals, FMCG and Life Sciences sectors. Prior to joining OUP, Arshad served as the CEO of Aman Health Care Services, and as the Managing Director of Abbott Laboratories Pakistan Ltd. He was also associated with Syngenta Pakistan Ltd. as Managing Director and with PT Syngenta, Indonesia as President Director. He has also served in senior leadership positions at GlaxoSmithKline Pakistan Ltd and ICI Pakistan Ltd. Arshad has also served as the President of the American Business Council and as Chairman of the Pharma Bureau of the OICCI. He was also the founding member of the Swiss Business Council and Chairman of CropLife Pakistan. He is also a Past President and member of the board of directors of the Rotary Club of Karachi Metropolitan.
Asim Abbasi is an independent filmmaker based out of Pakistan and the UK. Asim’s most recent project, Churails, a ten-part webseries, that he created, wrote and directed, was released through ZEE5 in 2020. Asim’s debut feature film as writer/director Cake, opened theatrically in 2018 to critical acclaim. It was the first Urdu/Pakistani film to have its world premiere at West End, Leicester Square and won Asim the ‘Best Director’ award at the UK Asian Film Festival. Cake also won the awards for Best Film at Tasveer South Asian Film Festival and South Asian Film Festival of Montreal. Cake was Pakistan’s official entry for Foreign Language Oscars 2019. Prior to Cake, Asim has written, produced, and directed short films that have played at various festivals around the world. Asim has a BSc (Hons) in Economics from the London School of Economics and a MA in Global Cinemas from School of Oriental & African Studies. Asim has also studied at the London Film Academy and worked in finance for several years, prior to his filmmaking career.
Dr Asma Abbas is Professor of Politics and Philosophy, and Director of the Annex for Transdisciplinary and Experimental Studies, at Bard College at Simon’s Rock. In the recent past, she has also served as the Dean of Academics and Professor of Liberal Studies at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture in Karachi, Pakistan, and the Fulbright-Masaryk Distinguished Chair in Social Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. She is senior research fellow at the Global Centre of Advanced Studies, associate faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, and teaches in the Art and Design MPhil programme at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture, as well as at the Bard Early Colleges in Hudson and New Orleans. Abbas is founding organiser of Hic Rosa, (and its international travelling Studio in Materialist and Anticolonial Politics and Aesthetics), the Falsework School for political education, Some Beloved Productions, ACCREW Caucus of the Democratic Socialists of America, and the Common Tern Internationalist Co-op of Cultural Workers. Abbas is the author of Liberalism and Human Suffering: Materialist Reflections on Politics, Ethics, and Aesthetics (2010), and Another Love: Overtures to a Politics of the Unrequited (2018), and curated and co-edited a collaborative pandemic writing project titled Falsework Smalltalk: Aesthetic Archives, Political Education, Recitations of a Future in Common (2021). She is currently working on an experimental political phenomenology titled Anti-Odysseus: Fugues of the Non-Homeric, and a series of essays on the ‘hatred of education’ (in the same key as Rancière’s Hatred of Democracy).
Astrid Swenson is Professor of History at Bath Spa University in the UK. She writes on the cultural history of Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth century in a global context. Her publications on heritage, memory, art, and museums include The Rise of Heritage in France, Germany and England, 1789-1914 (Cambridge University Press 2013); From Plunder to Preservation: Britain and the Heritage of Empire (edited with Peter Mandler, Oxford University Press, 2013); and Art Looting and Restitution in the 20th Century (a special issue of the Journal of Contemporary History, 2017). She currently works on architecture and imperialism through a study of crusader sites across the Mediterranean.
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 Razzaque has a doctorate in Educational Administration from the College of Education, Michigan State University (MSU). She received her masters degree in the same from MSU. Ayesha benefits from ten plus years of experience supporting education development in a variety of social and political contexts, specifically in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She writes regularly for the The News International and has been following and writing on the Single National Curriculum for the past two years.
An award-winning screenwriter and director, Bee Gul, has written some critically acclaimed plays and films for television such as Talkhiyaan, Pehchaan, Kaun Qamar Ara, Firdous ki Dozakh, and Dar Si Jaati Hai Sila. Apart from television, she has written some unconventional theatre scripts. She has written scripts for feature films namely Laloolal.com and Intezar. Bee Gul won a LUX Style Award (2019) for Best TV Writer for Dar Si Jaati Hai Sila, and Best Telefilm Writer Award for Kaun Qamar Ara at the 2nd Hum Telefilm Awards (2015). She is a visiting faculty at the Media Science Department, SZABIST and Iqra University. She also won the best drama writer at the Hum TV Awards, 2019. Currently, her TV serial Raqeeb se is running on Hum TV
Ben Okri was born in Minna, Nigeria. 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. In 2019, Astonishing the Gods was named as one of the BBC’s 100 Novels That Shaped Our World.
A poet, actor, comedian, humanitarian, and social worker. For fifteen years, she has done stand-up comedy mostly in the USA, UK, the Gulf, and Pakistan for charity fundraisers and has acted in films (most recently Cake) and TV serials. She has also worked in a web series ‘Ek jhooti love story’ with Mehreen Jabbar and is currently shooting ‘Femme fatales of Androon Shehr’ with Meenu and Farjad. She has won awards for services to arts and humanity. Beo Zafar lives in London with her husband and has three grown up children.
Bilal Zahoor is the founder and editorial director of Folio Books—a Lahore-based independent publishing house. He studied chemical engineering from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, but did not let his academic training obstruct his passion for establishing an independent publishing platform in Pakistan. Zahoor aspires to contribute to a more socially just-world by publishing works offering progressive worldview on politics, history and gender. He is the co-editor of the widely-endorsed volume, Rethinking Pakistan: A 21st Century Perspective (Folio Books, 2019; Anthem Press, 2020).
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.
A German novelist, playwright, and scriptwriter, Christopher Kloeble has published four novels, a short story collection, and a memoir. He has held visiting professorships at Dartmouth College, USA and Georgetown University, USA and Cambridge University, UK, among others. His books have been translated into nine languages; the film adaptation of his novels Almost Everything Very Fast and The Immortal Family Salz is in preparation. Christopher Kloeble lives in Berlin.
A journalist since 1991, Ejaz Haider has held several editorial positions such as News Editor, The Friday Times and Executive Editor, Daily Times. Haider has also hosted TV talk shows on Dawn News, Samaa, and Capital TV. He was a Ford Scholar at ACDIS (Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997) and a visiting fellow at the Foreign Policy Studies Programme at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC (2002-3). Haider has written extensively for publications at home and abroad. He is a regular commentator on national and foreign TV channels. His areas of interest include defence and foreign policies, theories and concepts of war, international relations, literature, and satire. He is currently Executive Editor at Indus News.
Erum Kashif has MPhil in Urdu from Bahauddin Zakariya University and a B.Ed. from Islamia University of Bahawalpur. She has worked as HOD Urdu/curriculum in the City School network for several years. Currently she is associated with Lahore Grammar School 55 Main as and Urdu teacher for O levels and coordinator. Author of fifteen books regarding Urdu syllabus, one of her books was recommended by the Cambridge International Examinations. She also has experience of the broadcasting sector and is currently working as anchor/researcher in NativeMediapk—a digital journalism platform.
Dr Faisal Bari is an economist with over twenty years of research/teaching experience in the areas of economics of education, social protection, industrial organization and economic development. He is an Associate Professor of Economics and Education (joint appointment) at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS. He is currently also serving as the Interim Dean for the School of Education at LUMS. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS). Dr Bari was also Executive Director for Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre (2004–2006), and Visiting Assistant Professor of Economics at Yale University, New Haven (2000–2001). Dr Bari has also consulted with Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, DFID, CIDA, SDC, and UNDP. A former Rhodes Scholar, Dr Bari has a BA (honours) from Oxford, and a doctorate from McGill University. His research has been published in numerous journals/books. He is a regular columnist for the daily Dawn, Pakistan.
Farah is an award-winning producer/director and former BBC Television executive producer. She has a strong track record in delivering critically acclaimed programmes across a range of genres from current affairs and archive history to observational documentaries. Her films have won the Royal Television Society awards and Grierson awards for the best documentary. In 1998, she was named Sky Journalist of Year for Women in Film and Television and in 1999 she was awarded the Multicultural Media Academy journalist award. Farah has worked across the world making films for international broadcasters. Her documentaries include The New Al Qaeda: Frontline Pakistan, New York Witness—One Day of Terror (BAFTA nominated), a landmark mini-series on the Roman Catholic Church, Absolute Truth. Her films Inside Chechnya and The Red Mosque were both nominated for Emmys. She has worked extensively in Pakistan from 1988 onwards. Made several films about Benazir Bhutto and filmed with her in Larkana just a few weeks before she was killed.
A Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Senior Fellow at the Religious Freedom Institute, Farahnaz Ispahani is also a Member of the Anti-Defamation League’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities. She is the author of Purifying the Land of the Pure: A History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities (Oxford, 2017). An advocate of Pakistan’s return to democracy during the military regime of Pervez Musharraf, she served as a spokesperson and international media coordinator for the PPP, working alongside the late Benazir Bhutto. During her tenure as member of the Pakistan National Assembly (2008–2012), she was a member of the Foreign Affairs and Human Rights committees and the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. She has published over 50 newspaper opinion editorials as well as scholarly research papers. Choice, the flagship review outlet for the research library community included her book in the Outstanding Academic Titles category for 2017. In 2012 she was listed among Foreign Policy magazine’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, as well as Newsweek Pakistan’s Top 100 Women Who Matter.
Dean, Institute for Educational Development, Pakistan Dr Farid Panjwani 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 (UCL) and an MBA and a BBA from the Institute of Business Administration, University of Karachi. Dr Panjwani served as the Founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Education in Muslim Contexts (CEMC). He was an Assistant Professor at Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (AKU-ISMC) in London where he was involved, among other projects, in the conception and initiation of the master’s degree programme. In 2016, Dr Panjwani was appointed on the Commission on Religious Education, UK which was tasked to come up with policy recommendations for the future of religious education in the country.
Farrukh Iqbal is the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Partner of The Little Book Company (www.littlebook.com), a start-up publisher and e-books digital platform for publishers, authors and booksellers. Farrukh Iqbal has fifteen years of experience in book printing at Ahmed Grafics and with the publishing house Scheherzade.
Fatima Ijaz teaches English Composition and Speech Communication at IBA. She is a contributing editor at a literary publication – Pandemonium Journal. She graduated in English from Hartwick College, NY and York University, TO. She holds an MA in English Linguistics from Eastern Michigan University, MI. She won first prize at the Mclaughlin Poetry Contest in Toronto (2007). She has participated in poetry and art collaborations which were featured at Music Mela 2019, Art Baithak 2019 and Taseer Art Gallery 2020. Her poetry and prose have been published in or are forthcoming in Ideas&Futures, isacoustic, New Asian Writing, Kitaab, Rigorous, Zau, Praxis, The Write Launch, Red Fez, Whirlwind, Naya Daur Media, Amethyst Review and Aleph Review amongst others.
Fawad Hasan Fawad
Fawad Hasan Fawad is a retired civil servant, a trained lawyer (LLM), poet, public-policy practitioner, and an expert on the socio-political and economic developments of Pakistan and the South Asia region. A former Director General of the Civil Services Academy, he served as a Principal Secretary to two prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
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 is currently serving as the President of the Karachi Press Club. A collection of his poetry, Gumnam Aadmi ka Bayan, was published in 2017.
George Fulton first came to Pakistan in 1997 and returned in 2002 as a BBC producer to produce Question Time and Hard Talk Pakistan for BBC World News. He again returned to Pakistan in 2003 at a time when President Musharraf was liberalizing 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 Indus News.
A leading Urdu and English language poet, essayist, and a columnist, Harris Khalique has published nine collections of verse and two books of nonfiction including Crimson Papers: Reflections on Struggle, Suffering, and Creativity in Pakistan. His poetry has been anthologized internationally and translated into several languages. He is a recipient of the President’s Award for Pride of Performance (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.
Filmmaker, journalist, and cultural critic, Hasan Zaidi is currently the Editor Magazines at Dawn, overseeing the newspaper’s weekly print magazines Eos, Icon, and Young World. Thrice recipient of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society’s award for excellence in journalism, he has worked for print, television, radio, and digital. As a filmmaker, he has directed and produced a number of documentaries, music videos, and the pioneering digital feature film Raat Chali Hai Jhoom Ke. He has also exhibited his photographic work and was the Festival Director of KaraFilm Festival. In 2003, the World Economic Forum nominated him as one of the Global Leaders of Tomorrow in the Media.
Hira Azmat is a literature and art enthusiast. She manages the Transforming Narratives in South Asia on behalf of the British Council, a project designed to support creative and cultural organisations in Birmingham UK to engage in cultural and creative exchange with artists and organisations in cities in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Previously, she has worked towards establishing cultural spaces, including the British Council Lahore library.
Hoori Noorani runs the Karachi publishing house Maktaba-e-Danyal, which she inherited from her late father Malik Noorani on his death. Following her early education in Karachi, her love for literature and linguistics led her towards a masters degree in philology, with a major in Russian and World literature, from the People’s Friendship University in Moscow. Upon her return to Karachi after graduating in 1983, she did a short stint as a teacher of Russian language at the Russian Cultural Centre before joining her father’s publishing business. Maktaba-e-Danyal is known for having published renowned authors like Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, Syed Sibte Hassan, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Iftikhar Arif, Fehmida Riaz, Habib Jalib and many others. They have also published the works of authors from India. Currently, they are working on a series of translations into Urdu from world Literature as well as Pakistani authors writing in English. Ms Noorani is a trained classical dancer. She has also translated Henrich Borovik’s famous play Interview in Buenos Aires from Russian into Urdu.
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.
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.
Iftikhar H. Malik
Professor Iftikhar H. Malik, FRHisSoc, has been teaching modern history at Bath Spa University since 1995. During the early 1990s, Malik held the Quaid-i-Azam Chair at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, and since 2002, has been a Member of the Common Room at Wolfson College, Oxford. With doctoral and postdoctoral training at Michigan State, Columbia, and UC, Berkeley, Malik has authored 17 books, several chapters, 75 scholarly papers, and 250 review articles. Some of Iftikhar H. Malik’s recent volumes include: Pashtun Identity and Geopolitics in Southwest Asia: Pakistan and Afghanistan since 9/11 (Anthem, 2016); Pakistan: Democracy, Terror and the Building of a Nation (New Holland Publishers, 2010); The History of Pakistan (Greenwood Press, 2008); Crescent between Cross and Star: Muslims and the West after 9/11 (OUP, 2006); Jihad, Hindutva, and the Taliban: South Asia at the Crossroads (OUP, 2005); Islam and Modernity: Muslims in Western Europe and the United States (Pluto, 2004); Islam, Nationalism and the West: Issues of Identity in Pakistan (St. Antony’s-Macmillan Series, 1999), and State and Civil Society in Pakistan: Politics of Authority, Ideology and Ethnicity (St. Antony’s-Macmillan Series, 1997).
A writer/poet in Urdu and Balochi and author of two books, Imran Saqib is the translator of A Children’s History of Balochistan (authored by Hamida Khuhro) in Balochi. He is a short filmmaker and a human rights activist.
Inam Nadeem is a poet-writer, critic, and translator. An exponent of the modern Urdu ghazal, his first collection of Urdu ghazals entitled, Dar-e-Khwab (Gateway of Dreams) was published in 2003. He has translated Rabisankar Bal’s novel Dozakhnama: Conversations in Hell, from English to Urdu and is nowadays translating Rabisankar Bal’s A Mirrored Life into Urdu. His current Urdu translation work, Amritsar Aagaya Hai, is a short story by renowned Hindi fiction writer Bhisham Sahni. He has also translated Gurdial Singh’s Punjabi novel Mari Da Deeva into Urdu. Apart from poetry and literature, his deep interest in various musical art forms, vocal and instrumental, evolved into a good grasp of the theory of eastern classical and semi classical music. An area of particular specialization in his case is the film music of the sub-continent for the past eight decades. He has written extensively in various periodicals and publications about the great composers, crooners and enounces of the film music of the subcontinent. He has master’s degrees in Urdu (Literature) and Economics from University of Sindh, Jamshoro. Hailing from Shahdadpur, a small town of Sindh, he is currently living in Karachi and working at Habib University as Assistant Professor.
Indira Chandrasekhar is a scientist, writer, literary curator, and the founder and principal editor of Out of Print, one of the primary platforms for short fiction bearing a connection to the Indian subcontinent.
As a fiction writer, she focuses on the short form, drawing deeply on her scientific experience working with the complex subtleties of biological macromolecules. Her fiction has appeared in anthologies and literary journals across the world. She is the author of Polymorphism and co-editor of Pangea: An Anthology of Stories from Around the Globe.
A poet and writer and author of six Balochi poetry books, Ishaque Khamosh is the author of a Balochi, Urdu, English Dictionary; a TV host; stage moderator; Member of the Arts Council of Pakistan Karachi; and Press Secretary of the Balochi Music Promoters Society.
Renowned economist and educationist, Ishrat Husain is Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Institutional Reforms and Austerity, with the status of a federal minister. A former governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, he also served as Dean and Director of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, from 2008 to 2016. He had a distinguished career at the World Bank for two decades (1979–99) and was a member of the Mahathir Commission that developed Vision 2020 for the Islamic Development Bank. Dr Husain has been conferred the Hilal-e-Imtiaz and the Nishan-e-Imtiaz awards.
Jack Hillmeyer is the Acting Consul General of the US Consulate in Karachi. He has served as a diplomat in Pakistan since October 2019. Prior to his arrival, he was the Political and Public Affairs Advisor at the US Mission to NATO in Brussels, the Spokesperson at the US Embassy in South Africa, and the Executive Secretary at the US Embassy in Afghanistan. Hillmeyer has extensive experience in Europe and Africa having also served in Milan, Italy, Durban, South Africa, Libreville, Gabon, and Washington, D.C. Before joining the Foreign Service, Hillmeyer was a Peace Corp volunteer in Kyrgyzstan. He holds a BA from Southern Methodist University and an MPP from Georgetown University. He is from St. Louis and is a baseball fan.
Jan Eliot is the creator of the internationally syndicated cartoon strip ‘Stone Soup’. Eliot is a graduate of the University of Oregon Honors College in Eugene, Oregon. Her cartoons are exhibited at the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa and The San Francisco Museum of Cartoon Art, where her work is part of their permanent collections; the Library of Congress in Washington DC, and the Billy Ireland Museum of Cartoon Art in Columbus, Ohio.
Jan Eliot started cartooning when she was a young divorced mom trying to raise two daughters, working full-time to make ends meet and still keep her sanity. Cartooning about her life was therapeutic and soon became her passion. Drawing from her own experiences, Eliot’s work reflects real life and real people, with enormous empathy for any parent with too little time, money, or patience. Her first comic strip was launched in the Willamette Valley Observer in 1980 and was titled ‘Patience and Sarah’. In 1990, ‘Sister City’, her second comic endeavour was launched in the Eugene Register Guard. It ran weekly for 5 years, until the strip was retitled ‘Stone Soup’ and distributed in daily syndication by Universal Press Syndicate beginning on 20 November 1995.
Kaif Ghaznavi is a Fulbright Scholar, who graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts from California College of the Arts, San Francisco. An alum of National College of Arts, Lahore and faculty for seven years at the same institution, she chose to exit the world of education and fine arts, braving and owning her love for acting and dancing. She has since then invested her energies in learning music and acting in theater, television, and films.
Kashaaf Iqbal, a chemical engineer, is the author of five published afsaanas including one novel, Bas Ishq Ho. A lyricist/songwriter for films such as Heer Maan Ja and celebrities such as Bushra Ansari and Atif Aslam. Author of short stories for ARY Digital; public speaker, winning more than thirty nationwide and Karachi declamation competitions including the most prestigious King Edward Medical University, Lahore. Winner of Bol TV Ramazan transmission 2020; Winner of PTV, GEO Speech competition. Currently working as a Quality Control Officer at Shafi Gluco Chem (SGC).
A poet, fiction writer, translator, and a broadcast journalist by profession, Syed Kashif Raza has authored six books including two volumes of poetry and a novel. His first novel, Char Darvesh aur Aik Katchwa received the UBL Fiction Prize in 2020. The novel was also short-listed for KLF Urdu Literature Prize in 2020. He has translated Mohammed Hanif’s novel, A Case of Exploding Mangoes, into Urdu. His critical essays and political articles, both in English and Urdu, are published frequently. He has also translated the writings of Milan Kundera, Jorge Luis Borges, James Joyce, Arundhati Roy, and Noam Chomsky into Urdu.
Kathy Gannon serves as News Director for Pakistan and Afghanistan for The Associated Press (AP). She has covered the region for the AP as a correspondent and bureau chief since 1988. She is the author of I is for Infidel: From Holy War, to Holy Terror, 18 Years Inside Afghanistan (2005). Gannon was the only Western journalist allowed in Kabul by the Taliban in the weeks preceding the 2001 US-British offensive in Afghanistan. In addition to her coverage of South Central Asia, she has covered the Middle East, including the 2006 Israeli war against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and war in northern Iraq. A native of Timmins, Ontario, she was the city editor at the Kelowna Courier in British Columbia and worked at several Canadian newspapers before her career took her overseas. She has lived in Israel, Japan, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, received two honorary doctorates from Northern Canada universities and is the recipient of numerous awards, including: She has received two honorary doctorates from Northern Canada universities and is the recipient of numerous awards, including: Committee To Protect Journalists Burton Benjamin Lifetime Achievement Award; Tully Free Speech Award, S.I. Newhouse School of Communication, University of Syracuse; International Women’s Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Award; Overseas Press Club Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad; John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger Freedom of the Press Award from the University of Arizona School of Journalism; Grady College McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage from the University of Georgia; James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications; Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award; Edward R. Murrow Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations; National Newspaper Awards Governors’ Award and; AP Oliver S. Gramling Award in Journalism.
Kazim Saeed has been working as a public policy expert in developing countries for over twenty years. He has worked for the World Bank serving in advisory roles in the energy sector for China, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Besides working with the Government of Pakistan on growth in agriculture, he has also advised the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, USAID, UN Food & Agriculture Organization, etc. His recently published book Dou Pakistan (Urdu) presents a comprehensive strategy for delivering prosperity to every Pakistani household. Kazim Saeed grew up in a family of intellectuals and poets. After completing his school education in Karachi, he received bachelor’s degrees in engineering, history, and philosophy of science from Cornell University, USA, and received a master’s degree in public policy from Princeton University, USA.
Khademul Islam is a Bangladeshi writer, editor, and translator. He was the editor of Bangladesh’s premier English literary journal Bengal Lights from 2012 to 2019 and the director of its publications wing. He is a member of the jury for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2021.
Khaled Anam is a singer, actor, song-writer, theatrical producer, and performer. He also hosts and produces a radio show based on Urdu literature and old songs on FM107. With a Master’s from Karachi University, Anam has done various theatrical training courses with Grips Theatre in Berlin, Germany. As part of a core team responsible for translating and adapting over 100 episodes of Open Sesame of Children’s Television Workshop into Urdu—he was solely responsible for translating and re-recording the songs of all episodes. A founding member of Grips Theatre, Pakistan, he has performed in both children’s and regular theatre all over Pakistan, India, UAE, and Germany. In recognition of his services to children’s theatre and education, Anam has been conferred the Goethe-Institut Award of Merit. Author of Bachon kay Geet (OUP, 2014), he is also an ambassador for the Children’s Literature Festival. He has been awarded the President’s Pride of Performance by the Government of Pakistan.
A former fighter pilot from the PAF, Khalid Banuri holds two decades of expertise in arms control and diplomacy. He has been part of Pakistan’s official delegations for bilateral dialogues and multilateral negotiations for several years. He has taught at public sector universities, published on diverse topics; and has been decorated with a Sitara-e-Imtiaz for policy analysis, and a Sitara-e-Imtiaz (military) for services rendered in the PAF. Banuri has been teaching ‘Use of Force and International Law’ at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad since 2017.
Khalilullah Shaikh is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Pakistan (ICAP). He is associated with PIA as Chief Financial Officer. Previously, he remained associated with K-Electric Limited, a vertically integrated power utility for 12 years in various roles – as Director Finance, Head of Supply Chain and as Chief Internal Auditor. He was part of the K-Electric turn-around team which transformed the utility into a successful, customer-centric entity. Mr Shaikh started his career with A.F. Ferguson & Co., a member firm of PWC. He also worked for a Shell group refinery in Pakistan as Head of Treasury & MIS.
Mr Shaikh has the honour of being the youngest elected President of ICAP. He has been serving as an elected Council member of ICAP for last eight years and he has chaired a number of Committees and Task Forces of the Institute. He is also a member of global Professional Accountants in Business (PAIB) Committee of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC). He also Chairs the governing committee of ICAP-IBA Research Unit. He is ex-officio Director of PIA subsidiaries viz Skyrooms (Pvt) Ltd and Sabre TN Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd. He is also ex-officio Trustee of Al-Shifa Trust.
Professor Dr Khurshid Rizvi is a scholar of oriental languages. He is fluent in Arabic, Persian, Urdu, English, and Punjabi. In 2008, in recognition of his services to literature, he was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan. Presently, he is associated with the Government College University, Lahore as Professor Emeritus.
Dr Rizvi also has the distinction of being a member of the Arabic Language Authority, Cairo, an honour previously bestowed on Abdul Aziz Memon from Pakistan. He is the recipient of the Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi Award 2005; Ahmad Faraz Literary Award 2012; Khalid Ahmad Award 2013; UBL Literary Excellence Award (Urdu Poetry) 2013; Majlis-e-Farogh-e-Urdu Adab, Doha, Qatar’s Award 2015.
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).
M. Athar Tahir
Thrice the recipient of the Patras Bokhari Award (Yielding Years ); The Gift of Possession ; and The Last Tea ), the highest National Prize for Literature in English, Athar Tahir is the founder of the International Centre for Pakistani Writing in English, Lahore. He was the 1974 Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University; a 1979 Rotary International Scholar; and a 1984 Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow. His poems have been set as text for secondary schools and for the ‘O’ Levels, University of Cambridge, and included in several Oxford University Press, and other, anthologies. They have also been translated into Urdu, Chinese, and Italian. His books on literature, art, and culture, have won eleven national and international awards. Tahir is an elected Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Life Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Letters. He has been awarded the Tamgha-i Imtiaz (1998) and the Sitara-i Imtiaz (2009) for his works.
M. Hameed Shahid
M. Hameed Shahid is an Islamabad-based leading 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 the global fiction and poetry from english into Urdu. His book Dehshat mein Mohabbat was nominated for both the 6th UBL Literary Excellence and KLF awards (2016) and was declared a winner at the UBL Literary Excellence Award in 2017. He received Tamgha-e-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan in 2017.
Born in Mashhad, Mahboubeh Pakdel, cartoonist and caricaturist, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. She has pursued a career in the field of cartooning since 2011. She has won many awards in domestic and foreign festivals, including: Special Award at the Torhan Seljuk International Festival in Turkey 2013; won first place at the ISIL International Festival in June 2015; winner of the fourth edition of the 2015 Naji Ali Jordan International Award (with the theme of Palestine and Freedom); won two grand prizes and a special prize at the 18th Porto Cartoon World Festival of Portugal April 2016; first place at the 4th World Resistance Art Festival 2016; winner of the third prize at the 20th World Porto Cartoon Festival Portugal 2018; winner of the Special Prize in International Festival in Germany 2018; winner of the Special Prize of the Porto Cartoon World Festival Portugal 2019; winner of the Golden Prize of the RED MAN China International Cartoon Competition 2019; special prize of the 29th International Cartoon Competition of Romania 2019; special prize of the 26th Ricardo Randon Colombia 2019 International Cartoon Festival; and won the 14th Portugal International School Cartoon Exhibition Award for her work on discrimination.
An award-winning journalist, Maheen has worked in television, print, and digital media. She has reported on human smuggling, 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.
Maikan Wahid Baloch
Maikan Wahid Baloch is a student of Inter Arts General Group, an artist in Rock the band (theatre group formed by her sister Mahin), and a female footballer from Lyari (she plays in midfielder position). She has participated in many theatre plays and has been appreciated for her performances. She was nominated for the Pride of Sindh Award 2019 by the Sindh Arts and Culture Organization. BBC and Dawn have covered her extraordinary achievements and specially made a documentary about her struggle. Currently, she is working on short movie on gender-based violence. Recently, she received the Mai Bakhtawar Award from Sindh Commission on the Status of Women.
Maleeha Lodhi is a former Pakistan Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York—the first woman to represent Pakistan at the UN. She twice served as Pakistan Ambassador to the US (1993-1996; 1999-2002) and as High Commissioner to Britain (2003-2008). She also served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Affairs from 2001 to 2005. She was the first woman in all of Asia to become the editor of a national daily newspaper. In 1994, Time magazine nominated her as one of 100 people in the world who will help shape the 21st century—the only one from Pakistan. Dr Lodhi was a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington in 2010 and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School in 2008. She is the recipient of the President’s award of Hilal-e-Imtiaz for Public Service in Pakistan. Author of two books: Pakistan’s Encounter with Democracy and The External Challenge, she also edited a volume titled Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State’.
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.
Mehjabeen Ghazal Ansari
A lawyer, a renowned poet, and author of Adhurey Khwaab, Sunehry Khwaab, and Zindagi. She is chairperson of the Yorkshire Adabee Forum (a literature society working to promote and celebrate the Urdu language). The Arts Council of Pakistan has recognized her contribution to Urdu Literature. Her poetry has been translated into Arabic and has been included in the PhD curriculum of Al Azhar University, Cairo.
Mehr Afshan Farooqi
A multiple gold medalist from Allahabad University, Mehr Afshan Farooqi is currently associate professor of Urdu and South Asian Literature at the University of Virginia. Her research publications address complex issues of Urdu literary culture particularly in the context of modernity. She is interested in bilingualism and how it impacts creativity. A well-known translator, anthologist and columnist, she is the editor of the pioneering two-volume work The Oxford India Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature (Oxford University Press, 2008).
More recently, she has published the acclaimed monograph The Postcolonial Mind: Urdu Culture, Islam and Modernity in Muhammad Hasan Askari (Palgrave and Oxford University Press, 2013). Farooqi also writes a featured column on Urdu literature of the past and present in the Dawn.
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.
Mian Raza Rabbani
Mian Raza Rabbani is a former Chairman of the Senate of Pakistan and an eminent jurist. 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. Senator Rabbani was awarded the highest civil award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, for his parliamentary services. He is the author of A Biography of Pakistani Federalism and Invisible People which received the best English prose Pitras Bukhari Award 2017, from the Pakistan Academy of Letters.
Michael 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.
Mirza Waheed was born and brought up in Kashmir. His debut novel, The Collaborator, was an international bestseller, was a finalist for the Guardian First Book Award and the Shakti Bhat Prize, and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. It was also a book of the year for The Telegraph, New Statesman, Financial Times, Business Standard and Telegraph India, among others. His latest novel, The Book of Gold Leaves, was published in 2014 to critical acclaim.
The Book of Gold Leaves was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2016, longlisted for the Folio Prize, and was a finalist for the 2015 Tata Literature Live! Book of the Year (Fiction).
Waheed’s latest novel Tell Her Everything was nominated for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019 and Tata Literature Live Book of the Year. Tell Her Everything won the Hindu Prize for Fiction 2019.
Mirza has written for the BBC, the Guardian, Granta, Guernica, Al Jazeera English and The New York Times.
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).
Momina Mela is a Lahore-based poet. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere.
Mubeen Mirza is a noted Pakistani fiction writer, poet, and journalist. He is widely acknowledged and well received short story writer of the modern era of Urdu fiction. He has been writing a weekly article in the Sunday magazine of daily Express for about three years on literary, socio-political, and international issues. At present, he is the editor of renowned literary magazine Mukalama and runs a well reputed publishing house Academy Bazyaft as the managing director. He is a former member of Board of Governors of Pakistan Academy of Letters. He is the author of Khof ke Aasman Talay; Saadat Hasan Manto: Shakhsiyat o Fun; Tabani; Zameenen aur Zamane; Arzang; Urdu ke Behtareen Shakhsi Khakay; Pakistani Adab; Adabiyat; and Manto: Muntakhab Mazameen.
A leading journalist, analyst, and commentator, Mujahid Barelvi 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.
A journalist for the last twenty-six years, working for print, electronic, and digital mediums in both English and Urdu. At present Executive Producer, Geo News (International) as well as the editor of The Economist-Jang Group annual joint publication Kaisa Hoga. Before that she has worked for dailies such as The Muslim and Dawn, television news outlets like PTV, Dawn, Samaa, and was an international editor and broadcaster in Germany for Deutsche Welle (Voice of Germany).
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
Nadeem Hussain is an education economist and activist for reform. He has a decade’s experience in the design and implementation of programs for multilateral and global development institutions, including World Bank and UNDP projects for governments of Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa; not-for-profit organizations—TCF, YCR, IBA-NTHP, and rehabilitation work for urban slums. He has worked with the State Bank of Pakistan leading a team of research enumerators to collect and analyze data on consumer expectations and confidence. Nadeem writes on a range of subjects relating to social issues, poverty, public finance, and urban planning. He is a co-author of a book on Pakistan’s sub-national governance and provincial policy reforms, The Economy of Modern Sindh (OUP, 2019) for which he engaged with nearly 100 business leaders in Pakistan and beyond.
Namita Gokhale is an award-winning writer, publisher, and festival director. She has written 20 books, including 11 works of fiction. Her recent novel, Jaipur Journals, will be published in the UK in April 2021. Betrayed By Hope, a play on the tragic life of the poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt, was published in December 2020. A co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Gokhale is keenly involved in curating intra-literary dialogues across languages and cultures. She was conferred the Centenary National Award for Literature by the Asam Sahitya Sabha in 2017 ‘for her literary contribution as well as her service to the nation in showcasing literary talents and creating a literary environment in the country.
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.
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.
Prof. Hussain is Convener for the Establishment of ‘Centre of Excellence on Countering Violent Extremism Studies’ by the Government of Pakistan since January 2020; Convener of Working Group on Middle East at the National Security Division, Prime Minister’s Office since December 2019; and Member Advisory Committee for the establishment of Pakistan Media University since November 2019. He was Member Board of Governors, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (2017-18) and Member Board of Governors, National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, Islamabad, (2017-2019).
He has also been associated with the electronic media since 1999. He has hosted various current affairs programs on Pakistan Television (PTV) and ATV, including the live coverage of Agra Summit in July 2001. He has also hosted regular current affairs programs on Pakistan Radio during 2002-2007 and 2013-14. At present, he expresses his views on the electronic media as a security analyst.
Neda Mulji is Senior Manager, Professional Development, Oxford University Press, Pakistan. Before joining OUP, Neda taught communication skills and English courses as a university lecturer in Dubai. She has an MA in Postcolonial Studies literature and culture from Goldsmiths, University of London, a Cambridge Certificate of English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) and a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGC-HE) from Middlesex University. Neda writes regularly for Dawn on education and has authored a book on parenting titled, The Love Connection. She has recently written a children’s story titled, Little Jimmy, published by OUP.
Newal Osman is an Assistant Professor in the department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA, Karachi). She holds a PhD in History from Trinity College, Cambridge, and a Master’s degree in International History from the London School of Economics. A former visiting fellow at the University of Oxford, Newal’s main area of research centres around colonial Punjab and the effects of partition.
Nigar Nazar is the first woman cartoonist of Pakistan and of the Muslim world. She is the CEO of Gogi Studios. She received the Government of Pakistan’s Fatima Jinnah Award for her contribution to Art. Her character, Gogi, has appeared in different newspapers and magazines and at present the cartoon strip appears regularly on her official Facebook page (GogiStudios). Four children’s hospitals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi have been decorated with Gogi cartoons and health messages. These have made the hospitals child friendly. Nigar has also authored and illustrated twenty-seven books for children. Nigar Nazar is twice a Fulbrighter and was the first to be nominated for the programme, Visiting Fulbright Specialist to Colorado College. She is also one of the founding members of the Asian Youth Association for animators and cartoonists (AYAAC), China. She was nominated by BBC for ‘100 Global women who have made a difference in 2014’; NHK, largest TV channel of Japan, has produced a 28-minute documentary which was aired on 19 and 20 February 2015. Recently the President of Pakistan launched her book on corruption. She was recently voted for ‘50 Power Women of Pakistan’ a survey conducted by The News.
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).
Noorul Huda Shah
Noorul Huda Shah is a well-known and respected short story writer, playwright, poet, columnist, and broadcaster. She writes both in Urdu and her native language Sindhi. A familiar name in the Pakistani drama industry, she is famous for very popular serials including Jungle, Marvi, Bebak, Meri Adhuri Moahabat, Ajayb Ghar, Adhoora Milan, and Ishq Gumshuda. She was CEO of A-Plus television. Her work reflects the depth of her thoughts on cultural and socioeconomic issues that prevail in the country.
Omar Shahid Hamid is a senior police officer and author of four novels, The Prisoner; The Spinner’s Tale; The Party Worker; and The Fix. 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.
Osman Haneef was born in Pakistan and, as the child of a diplomat, grew up in different cities in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. He studied creative writing at Stanford and the Faber Academy, and won the Frank Allen Bullock Prize for creative writing at the University of Oxford. He has worked as a tech entrepreneur, and a strategy consultant. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2017. The Verdict, published by Reverie Publishers, is his first novel.
I have been cartooning professionally for 20 years and have worked with most of the major newspapers in Kenya. I have published several books on political cartooning in Kenya and also regularly write columns on international affairs in publications such as the Washington Post and Financial Times. He is a board member at Cartoonists Rights Network International, an organisation dedicated to protecting cartoonists around the world who are threatened due to their work.
Paul Harding is the author of two novels, Tinkers, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and Enon. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and PEN America. He was a fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, in Provincetown, MA, and has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, The Michener Center for Writers, and Harvard University. He is the Associate Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Literature at Stony Brook University. His third novel, This Other Eden, will be published by Random House in 2022.
A prominent journalist and literary personality, Peerzada Salman is a feature writer and a staff member with Dawn. He writes on a variety of subjects related to art, culture, and literature. He dabbles in short fiction and is a bilingual (Urdu and English) poet. In December 2017, his first collection of poems in English, titled Bemused, was published, followed by his first collection of Urdu poems, Waqt, in 2018.
Rahila Fatima leads the Partnership Schools Programme at TCF and is responsible and accountable for developing and implementing projects, programs and services. The unit works to establish long range organizational objectives, develop feasibilities, manage and oversee project implementation. In addition, the unit is responsible for identifying potential field testing partners, and overseeing business development activities such as financial forecasting and marketing plan development etc. Earlier, she was heading the Education Team at TCF and her portfolio included working at policy and programmes review level; conceptualizing and designing educational material development programmes; and coordinating with regional team for nation-wide programme implementation. She also coordinates an internal team that design tools and systems to monitor and evaluate TCF Schools.
Prior to TCF, Rahila worked with Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan in capacities of lecturer in English and Head of Humanities. There she had been involved in language curriculum and programs, designing and implementing elective courses, conducting writing workshops, and developing publication and promotional material. Apart from this, she initiated many student-related projects including Career Guidance and Counseling, and Internship Programmes. She has been country coordinator for international projects and participated in various national and international courses and conferences.
Rahila has two post-graduate degrees, a MA in English Literature and in Linguistics from University of Karachi and a one-year joint diploma in Social Enterprise Management from LUMS-McGill.
Rania Hafez is an academic and writer. Currently leading the MA Education at the University of Greenwich, Rania also co-chairs the London Learning & Skills Research Network and was previously non-executive Director at the Institute for Learning. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Muslim Institute. In addition to her academic work, Rania is a regular political and cultural commentator, with media credits that include the BBC, Levant TV, and the Islam Channel.
Raza Ahmad Rumi
A policy analyst, journalist, and an author. Raza Rumi 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 was a scholar in residence at Ithaca College and taught courses in journalism and writing departments as well as at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. Raza has been a fellow at the New America Foundation and the United States Institute of Peace. He is a member of think tank at Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, Georgetown University; and a non-resident fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs.
Raza was the editor of Daily Times, The Friday Times, and a TV broadcaster in Pakistan before he moved to the United States in 2014. He is the author of Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller; The Fractious Path: Pakistan’s Democratic Transition; Identity and Faith and Conflict: Essays on Pakistan and Beyond; and Being Pakistani: Society Culture and the Arts and a co-editor of Rethinking Pakistan: A 21st Century Perspective.
Raza Naeem is a Pakistani social scientist, literary activist, blogger, book critic, and an award-winning translator and dramatic reader based in Lahore. He has been trained in Political Economy from the University of Leeds in UK, and in Middle Eastern History and Anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, USA. He has engaged with the Middle East since the last two decades now and widely travelled in and reported from Egypt, Yemen and Turkey over the last decade or so. He contributes regularly to The Wire in India and The Friday Times in Pakistan. He has curated and moderated a first-ever edition of ‘Banned Books Week in Pakistan’ in Lahore in September 2014, and five successive editions since then, in collaboration with Olomopolo. His translation and dramatic reading work has been showcased internationally at the Lucknow and Delhi Literature Festivals in India (both in 2014), and most recently at the Winnipeg International Writers Festival (Canada, September 2017), one of Canada’s largest literary festivals; and locally at many TEDx (most recently at TEDxLUMS, Lahore, April 2018) and Model United Nations (most recently at LUMUN 17, Lahore, January 2021) events at some of Pakistan’s most prestigious universities and schools. He is the recipient of a prestigious 2013–2014 Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship in the UK, awarded for his translation and interpretive work on banned Pakistani writer Saadat Hasan Manto’s essays, and most recently a runner-up/finalist for the inaugural 2017 Jawad Memorial Prize for Urdu-English Translation (India), awarded for his translation of ‘Bahaar’ (Spring), a short story written by Abdullah Hussein. He is currently the President of the Progressive Writers Association (Anjuman Taraqqi Pasand Musannifeen) in Lahore. He is presently completing a manuscript on Sahir Ludhianvi and Lahore, forthcoming in 2021 (to coincide with the 100th birth anniversary of the poet).
Razi Azmi is a well-known columnist. A former academic with a doctorate in modern history, he is the author of Pakistan-Canada Relations, 1947-82 (Islamabad: Area Studies Centre, 1982) and editor of Pakistan-American Relations: The Recent Past (Karachi: Royal Book Co., 1994). He has contributed nearly three hundred columns on current affairs and travel, mostly in the Daily Times, but also in Dawn, Express Tribune, The Muslim, and The Nation
Rina Saeed Khan
Rina Saeed Khan is an award-winning environmental journalist/consultant based in Islamabad, Pakistan and currently a member of the Prime Minister’s National Climate Change Council. In November 2020 she was appointed Chair of the Islamabad Wildlife Management Board (IWMB) by the federal cabinet. IWMB is responsible for the management of the Margallah Hills National Park and the upcoming Margallah Wildlife Centre (to be built on the site of the old Marghazar Islamabad Zoo).
Rina began her career in journalism in 1992 when she joined The Friday Times, Pakistan’s first independent English weekly newspaper, where she served as Features Editor till 1998. From 1998 onwards she began working as a consultant in communications with the UNDP in Pakistan and WWF-Pakistan, travelling across Pakistan to visit project sites and writing reports and articles.
Rina completed her BA from Grinnell College, USA in 1991 and in 2000 got her MA degree in Environment and Development from the London School of Oriental and African Studies as a Chevening Scholar. She has received international awards like the Earth Journalism Award in Copenhagen during the UN Summit on climate change in 2009. Rina wrote a popular weekly column on the environment called Earthly Matters for DAWN, Pakistan’s largest circulation English-language national daily for over 10 years.
She currently writes blogs for Express Tribune and articles for Reuters Alertnet in addition to her duties as Chair of IWMB. She has also trained other journalists in climate change reporting for the Heinrich Boll Foundation from 2015 to 2019. Rina has attended the annual UN Climate Change Conference or COP21 in Paris, COP22 in Marrakesh, COP23 in Bonn, COP24 in Katowice and COP25 in Madrid in 2019 as a journalist and filed reports for DAWN, Reuters and Express Tribune on the international climate negotiations.
She has also co-authored a book on the environment in Pakistan, published in 2016 by Oxford University Press entitled: “Water in the Wilderness: Life in the Coast, Deserts and Mountains of Pakistan”. Her second book, “From Mountains to Mangroves: Protecting Pakistan’s Natural Heritage” was also published by OUP in 2017. She also toured the USA in July 2019 along with other selected journalists from water scarce countries on an invitation by the US Foreign Press Center on “Water: Creating a More Water Secure Future”.
Risham Waseem is a digital content creator, documentary filmmaker, and human rights activist based in Lahore, Pakistan. She is the director of Maati TV, Pakistan’s first web TV dedicated towards creating content on civic education, human rights, and cultural diversity. She is also the program director at Interactive Resource Centre, an info media organization creating self-empowerment opportunities for marginalized members of the community through various art-based communication tools. More recently she has also worked as a digital communication strategist for the office of UNHRC, where she designed digital strategies and products for the Special Rapporteur on from of peaceful assembly and association. She is also the co-founder of Documentary Association of Pakistan, an initiative dedicated to promoting the art of documentary films in Pakistan. She has received her BA honors in Film and Television from National College of Arts, Lahore and since then has been part of several documentary productions with a particular focus on human rights. She has also been a Hurford Youth Fellow with the World Movement for Democracy where she designed a web series tackling the hurdles young people face towards being more politically engaged. Risham also has an extensive background in interactive/forum theatre and has been part of a theatre group that has performed on issues of gender-based violence, interfaith harmony and democracy, all over Pakistan.
An editorial cartoonist for The Friday Times, Express Tribune, and Independent Urdu, Pakistan, Sabir Nazar was a 2014 fellow at National Endowment for Democracy and in 2015, showcased his cartoons at the Association of American Editorial Cartoonist, in San Francisco. He started learning watercolours from his father some fifty years ago and graduated from National College of Arts, Lahore in 1988. His paintings revolve around socio-political commentary through symbols from indigenous history. He has exhibited at several solo and group shows. He has contributed my cartoons for a number of national and international human rights groups such as the HRCP Pakistan, IRC Lahore, UNDP, CWS, Action Aid, AASHA, Oxfam, and UNICEF etc. Sabir won the Editor’s Pick award at the South Asian Cartoonist Conference, Nepal, in 2004. He won a painting award from Punjab Artist Association in 2019 and became the founding member and representative of the Pakistan wing of the International Cartoonist Rights Network. He was elected as Chairperson of the Pakistan Union of Editorial Cartoonists.
Sabyn Javeri is Senior Lecturer of Writing at New York University, Abu Dhabi. She is the author of Hijabistan (Harper Collins, 2019) and the novel Nobody Killed Her (Harper Collins: 2017) and has edited two anthologies of student writing titled, The Arzu Anthology of Student Voices (Vols. I & II; HUP, 2019, 2018). Her writing has been widely anthologized and published in the South Asian Review, London Magazine, Wasafiri, Oxonian Review, Trespass, and World Literature, among other publications, and she writes a monthly column for 3Quarks Daily on gender and identity. She has a master’s from the University of Oxford and a doctorate from the University of Leicester. Her research interests include transnational feminism, South Asian literature, and creative writing.
I am a fine artist by profession and started my studio practice in 2001 after graduating from the National College Of Arts, Lahore and exhibited my work publicly at various occasions.
English Literature has always been a passion; the seeds sown by my early education at the St. Joseph’s Convent and later the Karachi Grammar School and my mother and grandmother, both avid readers.
My first book of verses, prose an paintings was recently published by the Liberty Books in February 2021.
I have recorded my journey as an artist and poet during the past two decades in this book titled, ‘A Scatter Of Verses, Prose and Paintings’.
I am currently compiling my next book of verses and paintings and working on a comparative study of Allama Iqbal’s poetry and Hazrat Ali Hajveri’s doctrine, ‘The Kashf Al Mahjub’, which I hope to publish soon.
Safinah D. Elahi
Safinah D. Elahi is an Early Learning Years Educator. She has been teaching at Pre School Plus, Karachi since 2015. Her interest in the law and world affairs led her to pursue an LLB degree. A mother of two, she often finds herself juggling many roles. She published The Unbridled Romance of Love and Pain with Markings Publishing in August 2019. The book consists of short free verse poetry and has earned raving reviews from book reviewers as well as avid readers of poetry. Her novel, Eye on the Prize was published by Liberty Publishing in August 2020 which has earned many accolades by Dawn, The News on Sunday, The Daily Times among a few. She also contributed to the pandemic anthology, The Stained Glass Window, which was featured in Arab News as a ‘promising book in Pakistan’s literary landscape.’ She founded Reverie Publishers, to translate her passion of literature and to revive the romance of reading and writing in Pakistan. Reverie’s first title The Verdict by Osman Haneef has been applauded for being an important addition to Pakistani literature. Reverie will also be publishing the much awaited memoir by Aamer Hussain, in collaboration with Ushba Publishing International of Shahbano Alvi, a celebrated visual artist as well as a writer.
Safinah D. Elahi is an acclaimed writer with many publications for Pakistan’s leading print & digital magazine, Destinations. She often contributes to online platforms (including www.littlestars.pk) to share her experiences and knowledge on parenting in the present new tech age.
Safinah has been featured in various magazines, TV (GEO News), online digital platforms (Vcast etc.) for her contribution as both a writer and an educator. She’s often invited to judge and mediate at poetry and writing competitions across Pakistan. 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).
Sajjad Ali Ashar
Sajjad Ali Ashar is an entrepreneur who runs a digital agency and production house. He writes poetry, short stories, humour, columns, songs and articles on digital marketing. His has published two books of poetry, Madawa and Ramz, and a life philosophy, Ankahi.
An author, art historian, film critic, journalist broadcaster, and expert in Development and Human Rights. He has served as an advisor at the UN on human rights, gender equality, and culture. Asif has written extensively on literature, art, South Asian cinema, and sociology in English, Hindi, and Urdu. He is currently working on his book on women’s rights movement in Pakistan in the context of its literary and contemporary art moorings.
Salman Tarik Kureshi
An English language poet, writer, and columnist. Kureshi’s poems have appeared in anthologies such as Pieces of Eight; Legacy of the Indus; The Blue Wind; Dragonfly in the Sun; An Anthology; Journal of Postcolonial Writing; and a solo volume Landscapes of the Mind. Some of his poems and short stories have been published in the annual Pakistan Journal of Literature. As a columnist, he writes on socio-political topics in the weekly The Friday Times and the dailies Dawn and Daily Times.
Samiullah Siddiqui is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountant of Pakistan. Currently he is serving as Director Finance, Oxford University Press Pakistan Branch. He remained Executive Director and CFO of Linde Pakistan Limited and prior to that he has served with Siemens Pakistan in various position including CFO Energy Business responsible for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Dubai, Chief Internal Auditor, Commercial Head of Telecom and SAP businesses. He has studied and trained with Harvard Business Schools, Said Business School, LUMS, Babson University and Duke Corporation. He is serving in various Committees of ICAP and OICCI Taxation sub-committee. He is also the Board Member for CERM technologies and the Digital Accounting and Assurance Board of ICAP.
Sarmad Khoosat is an award-winning actor, film/TV director, producer and screenwriter best known for directing the TV dramas Humsafar and Shehr-e-Zaat. He was nominated as best actor and director for Manto at the Lux Style Awards; and won the jury choice award for best actor for Manto at the ARY Film Awards. His film Zindagi Tamasha won the Kim Ji Seok Award at the Busan International Film Festival in 2019.
Shagufta K Iqbal
Founder of The YoniVerse Poetry Collective and Kiota Bristol, Shagufta K Iqbal was longlisted for the Jerwood Compton poetry fellowship. She is an award-winning writer, workshop facilitator and Tedx Speaker. One of Asiana Magazine’s favourite British Asian poets, she has been described by gal-dem as a poet whose work ‘leaves you validated but aching – her narratives are important, heart-wrenching and relatable.’ Her poetry collection ‘Jam Is For Girls, Girls Get Jam’ (one of Burning Eye Books bestselling collections) has been recommended by Nikesh Shukla as ‘a social political masterclass.’ Her poetry film ‘Borders’ has won several awards, and has been screened across international film festivals, including London Short Film Festival, Glasgow Short Film Festival, Athena Film Festival. She is currently writing her second poetry collection and debut novel.”
Shahid M. Amin
A veteran Pakistani diplomat, Shahid M. Amin spent 39 years in the Pakistan Foreign Service (1958–1997). He was Deputy Agent of Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch Arbitration Tribunal in Geneva. Since retirement from Foreign Service, Shahid Amin has written extensively for newspapers, is a well-known analyst on national television on foreign policy and national affairs. Since 1999, he has been Visiting Professor for International Relations and Pakistan Studies at the College of Business Management, Karachi. He is the recipient of Tamgha-e-Quaid-e-Azam for his work in the Rann of Kutch case. He is the author of seven books on national affairs and foreign policy. The 3rd edition of his book Pakistan’s Foreign Policy—A Reappraisal, first published by OUP in 2000, has recently been published.
Shahida is a world renowned and internationally acclaimed Urdu poetess. Shahida expresses herself through the Ghazal and Nazm genres of Urdu poetry and has published two books: Eik Tara Hai Sirhany Mairay and Yahaan Kuch phool Rakhay Hain. She is currently working on her kulliyat titled Zameen ka Naqsha Badal Raha Hay. An M.A. Honors in English Literature from Karachi University, she worked as a Professor of English Literature at various colleges in Karachi, spending a number of years as the Head of the English Department. She retired as a Principal, Government College for Women, Nazimabad, Karachi. Amongst Shahida’s many recognitions and awards include: Faani Badayuni Aalmi Urdu Award 1990 for Urdu poetry by Aalmi Urdu Conference, New Delhi, India; Women of the Year in Literature (1996) by Triple-E, Karachi; Honorary Citizenship and appointed Goodwill Ambassador by the Mayor of Houston, USA (2005) in recognition of the valuable contributions in the field of literature; and the 5th Ali Sardar Jafri Literary Award (2012) for contribution to modern Urdu literature by The Aligarh Alumni Association, Houston, Texas
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 a number of quality audio and video albums. He has also written, produced, edited and published a number of 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 a voting member of NARAS/Grammy Awards and judge to several international music awards. Story of Gulsher (a tribute to the martyred APS School children) produced by Sharif was part of a UNESCO project, and thereby promoting national cause at the international level. Sharif has won for his music projects, several international awards including the Global Music Awards (USA) gold and silver medals and Independent Music Awards (USA). 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. He is founder/director of the Tehzeeb Festival. Sharif is also a senior civil servant having served in federal government, Sindh government and various corporations. He is presently working as Member in the Federal Board of Revenue.
Sheba Saeed, a solicitor by profession is a lecturer of Media at the School of Media, Communication and Creative Studies HBU-UCLAN (a joint school of the University of Central Lancashire, UK and Hebei University, China). She holds a PhD from the University of Birmingham, UK. Her debut documentary Beggars of Lahore has been screened at international conferences and film festivals. Her research interests are of an interdisciplinary nature and encompass a range of disciplines ranging from media and cultural studies, film, history, theology, documentary practice, social policy, criminology, and visual criminology.
Shehzad Ghias Shaikh
Shehzad Ghias Shaikh is a Fulbright scholar, holds a Masters in Theatre from Brooklyn College, New York, and is one of the foremost stand-up comedians in Pakistan. Apart from multiple national tours, Shehzad has also performed in Dubai, Germany, Canada and toured the United States, including a one man special at the Broadway Comedy Club in New York. Shehzad also hosts the podcast, The Pakistan Experience and writes for multiple news publications.
Sibtain Naqvi is an independent researcher and author 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 international universities and 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 by Mark L. Clifford and Janet Pau and co-sponsored by Time Magazine, Asia Business Council and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Besides Unravelling Gordian Knots, Sibtain Naqvi has also authored 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 (The Complete Quatrains of Sadequain).
Sima Kamil was appointed as the Deputy Governor of State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) by the federal government on 25 August 2020 for a period of 3 years with immediate effect. She assumed her responsibilities on 26 August 2020, thereby becoming the first woman Deputy Governor of SBP. Before joining SBP, Ms Kamil was the first-ever woman appointed President, United Bank Limited. Earlier she served Habib Bank Limited for 16 years at various senior management levels, including Head of Corporate & Investment Banking and then Head of Branch Banking. Ms Kamil was also Director of the First Microfinance Bank for a number of years. In addition to her professional commitments, Ms Kamil takes keen interest in the social sector, primarily in education. She is Chairperson of the Board of Governors of Karachi Grammar School. Ms Kamil has a degree in business from Kingston University, UK and an MBA from City University, London. In 2019, the Kingston University, UK awarded her an Honorary Doctorate degree in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the banking sector and support of inclusivity in business leadership. She is also a certified director from Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.
Sophya Kanwal is an artist, social activist, photojournalist, philanthropist, and event planner. She is associated with the Lions Club, Rotary, and the Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi.
Syed Nomanul Haq
Dr Syed Nomanul Haq is a historian, noted especially for his contributions to the fields of Islamic history, philosophy, and literature in Muslim societies. He is General Editor of Oxford University Press’ Studies in Islamic Philosophy series—one volume of this series received the coveted Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques award. Currently, he serves as Dean of the Institute of Liberal Arts at the University of Management and Technology in Lahore, as Visiting Distinguished Professor at Habib, and as Chairman of the Arts and Humanities Panel as well as of the Eastern Canon Committee of Pakistan Higher Education Commission (HEC). Dr Nomanul Haq has recently been appointed as Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds the same title at the University of Pennsylvania. A former standing faculty member of Brown, LUMS, and IBA Karachi, he was educated at University College London, as well as Harvard, and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His many works of scholarly research have appeared in several international periodicals, and his more general writings have been published by some of the top publishers of the world such as Harvard University Press, Cambridge University Press, OUP at Oxford, and Brill. He is a contributor to the New Cambridge History of Islam, a six-volume work that was awarded the prestigious Waldo Leland Prize of the American Historical Association and serves as Consulting Editor of Brill’s Journal of South Asian Intellectual History, and Senior Editor of the periodical Critical Muslim. Most recently, he published a critical edition of the complete poetic works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and continues to contribute to the newspaper Dawn.
Tabitha Spence is a geographer focused on water and climate politics with degrees from University of Texas and University of Arizona. She took part in the people’s mobilisations in Paris during the COP21, and is active with youth, farmers, and workers for a just transition to an anti-colonial global green new deal. She is a Lahore-based member of Haqooq-e-Khalq Movement, is part of Democratic Socialists of America, is active with Asia Europe People’s Forum and part of Progressives International.
A journalist, author, and editor. Former head of The Express Tribune’s Peshawar city pages and former assistant editor on the opinion’s desk of The News. A law graduate from SOAS, London, Kehar is the author of two novels, Typically Tanya (2018) and Of Rift and Rivalry (2014). He is the co-editor of The Stained-Glass Window: Stories of the Pandemic from Pakistan. Kehar’s essays, reviews and commentaries have been published in The News on Sunday, South Asia magazine, The Hindu, The Literary Encyclopedia, and the Delhi-based Equator Line magazine. 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. He has also guest-edited Equator Line’s issue on Pakistani writing. Based in Karachi, he teaches undergraduate media courses and has recently completed his third novel.
Taimur Rahman is an academic, musician and socialist political activist. He is associate professor of political science at the Lahore University of Management Sciences. He is the author of the book The Class Structure of Pakistan published by Oxford University Press. The book won the Akhtar Hameed Khan Memorial Award for the best social sciences book about Pakistan in 2012. He is also the General Secretary of the Mazdoor Kissan Party and the spokesperson of the progressive rock band Laal.
Tariq Ali is a writer, journalist, historian and filmmaker. He has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics, and seven novels (translated into over a dozen languages) as well as scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of New Left Review and contributes frequently to The Guardian, CounterPunch and the London Review of Books
Urvashi Butalia is co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publishing house, and now runs Zubaan, an imprint of Kali. She is an independent researcher and writer, concerned mostly with issues relating to gender. Among her best known publications are the award winning history of Partition, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India, which has been translated into more than ten languages. Recently, she edited a collection of essays on Partition entitled, Partition: The Long Shadow (Zubaan and Penguin India) and has also written on Kashmir. In 2011 she was awarded the Padma Shri for her work in the field of women’s publishing and writing.
Vali Nasr is the Majid Khadduri Professor of International Affairs and Middle East Studies at Johns Hopkins-SAIS, and Non-Resident Senior Fellow at Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center. Between 2012 and 2019 he served as the Dean of the School, and between 2009 and 2011 as Senior Advisor to U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke. He has previously taught at Tufts University’s Fletcher School, Naval Postgraduate School, Stanford University, University of California San Diego and University of San Diego. He is the author of several books including, The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat; Forces of Fortune: The Rise of a New Muslim Middle Class and How it Will Change Our World; The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam will Shape the Future; Democracy in Iran: History and the Quest for Liberty; Islamic Leviathan: Islam and State Power; and Vanguard of the Islamic Revolution: Jamaat Islami of Pakistan, and also the author several book chapters and articles in peer reviewed journals, as well as commentary in The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. Nasr is a member of World Economic Forum’s Global Action Council, and has been the recipient of grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. He is a Carnegie Scholar for 2006. He received his BA from Tufts University in International Relations summa cum laude and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa in 1983. He earned his masters from the Fletcher School of Law in and Diplomacy in international economics and Middle East studies in 1984, and his PhD from MIT in political science in 1991.
Vanessa Kisuule is a writer and performer based in Bristol. She has won over ten slam titles and has performed at renowned poetry events and venues such as the Royal Albert Hall and the British Library, and at festivals including Shambala, WOMAD, and Glastonbury. She has had her work featured on the BBC iPlayer, BBC Radio 1 and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, The Guardian, Huffington Post, and TEDx in Vienna. Her poetry collections Joyriding the Storm and A Recipe For Sorcery are both published by Burning Eye and her work was highly commended in The Forward Prize Anthology 2019. She was the Bristol City Poet for 2018-2020.
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 traveled 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.
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 previous publications include The Black Watch; Wavell: Soldier and Statesman; Kashmir in Conflict; Afghan Frontier, and Bhutto: Trial and Execution.
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.
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.
Mohammed Moulessehoul better known by the nom de plume Yasmina Khadra is an award-winning Algerian author who writes in French and Arabic. A former officer of the Algerian army, he adopted his wife’s name as a pseudonym to avoid military censorship. His novel set in Afghanistan under the Taliban, The Swallows of Kabul, was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award (2006), as was The Attack (2008). L’Attentat won the Prix des libraires in 2006, a prize chosen by about five thousand bookstores in France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada. Yasmina Khadra became director of the Algerian Cultural Center in Paris in November 2007. He is the author of six other books published in English, among them are The Attack, The Swallows of Kabul, In the Name of God, and Wolf Dreams. He lives in Aix-en-Provence, France.
Zafar Masud is the President and CEO of the Bank of Punjab. He has the unique experience of working across multinationals, public sector corporations, government, multilaterals, and as entrepreneur. He was the former DG of National Savings, Ministry of Finance; the CEO Barclays Southern Africa; the Founder Partner of Burj Capital; and the Founder CEO (Interim) of InfraZamin Pakistan. He has served as director on the boards of SBP, OGDCL, PQA, Gadoon Textile, and as the member of the privileged Independent Monetary Policy Committee. In May 2020, he miraculously survived the PK8303 air crash in Karachi, Pakistan. He is a regular contributor to the local media on the topics of finance, economics, energy, etc., and has published his newspaper articles in a book form, titled, Out of the Box.
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.
An MPhil scholar of the Balochi language in the University of Balochistan, Quetta. She has a master’s degree in Balochi Language and literature from the University of Balochistan. A science graduate from the Karachi University, she has a two-year diploma in Computer Science from Sindh Board of Technical Education, 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 also translates literary and academic texts, and has authored academic and non-academic research papers.
Zeba Hasan Hafeez
Zeba Hasan Hafeez, MD, is a Board-certified psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente, California. A well-known prize-winning poet (Jane Townsend Poetry Competitions; American Center, Karachi; Arts Council, Karachi; English Speaking Association of Pakistan) she has been nominated Poet of the Year (1997, 2000, 2002, 2003) by the International Society of Poets, USA. Her work has been published in anthologies and magazines of poetry in Pakistan, Europe, India, and the USA.
One of the foremost Urdu poets of Pakistan, Zehra Nigah was one of two female poets to gain prominence in the 1950s. 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.