Fiaz International Festival was held at Lahore from 16-18 November, 2018. Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi came all the way from Mumbai to attend. In addition, artists, performers, literary figures and intelligentsia from all over the country gathered at Lahore for the festival, which included, literary sessions, dance performances, theater and music.
Prominent journalist Rashid Rahman and son Taimur Rahman, an academic at LUMS, alongside, Ali Wazir of Pashtoon Tahafuz Movement(PTM) and Ammar Ali Jan, assistant professor at FC College, Lahore were to participate in panel discussions. However, the organizers were contacted by elements from a “state institution” and told to debar all the aforementioned from participation.
The only common denominator, I find, among all four is their progressive outlook and social activism for basic human rights.
The seating capacity of Al-Hamra halls, where they were supposed to partake in discussions, ranges from 250 to 450. Imagine, the “state institution” is not ready to allow these to share their views with less than 500 people. This appears to be the worst form of censorship, where a “state institution” is involved, even in a cultural and literary activity. However, to register their reaction, the organizers kept the seats empty for all those who were not allowed to speak.
Think of a state where academics from renowned national universities, a journalist, and a human rights activist cannot speak. On the other hand, there is absolutely no bar on the abusive Khadim Hussain Rizvi, the retrogressive Orya Maqbool Jan, the liar Shahid Masood and the hate monger Amir Liaqat Hussian.
Hence, the “state institution” has no issues if the people of this country are abused, are exposed to retrogressive thought, told lies and subject to hate material. However, it is revelation of truth which they fear. However, one thing they always forget is that, censorship never conceals the truth!Sooner or later,it is revealed!