Lyari Literature Festival

Stereotypes and disinformation persist not only due to the mindless sharing of fake news or misinformation, but also because of people not knowing cultural backgrounds, heritages, history and aware about learning through literature. The high need of this was observed in 2019, when the only university in Lyari, Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University, Lyari, faced various cultural and sectarian groups emerging within the university.

Further it was observed that even the merit based high achievers from BBSUL were being rejected from other universities for further education based on their affiliation with Lyari. To counter this and demonstrate the real information it was felt important to bring all under the same umbrella. This initiated a banner of “Safe and Peaceful Universities” under which the 2 day Lyari Literature Festival for the promotion of peace and harmony took place at Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University.

Nearly 12000 individuals from all over Karachi, including mainstream media, bloggers, vloggers, celebrities, university students, business-men, politicians and security officials participated in promoting the agenda of Peace and harmony. Various sessions on poetry, literature, community welfare, role of film, need for media literacy, countering extremism and nurturing resilience took place over a course of 2 days.

Further local entrepreneurs, cottage industries and mainstream cultural craft shops alike were given space to demonstrate and exhibit their work. The core idea was to promote literature that fuels peace, harmony and gets the attention of audiences to generate interest within learning, researching and equipping themselves with knowledge to identify and disregard misinformation. Hence various books written by local writers were also launched while a high focus was given to promote music and arts that spreads awareness.