TENTH CONFERENCE—PAKISTAN, 2004

The 10th SAARC Writers Conference was held in the historic city of Lahore in Pakistan from 12th to 15th March 2004. Representatives from all the seven SAARC countries—Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Bhutan participated in the Conference.

The central theme of the Conference, held at Lahore Arts Council, was “Understanding and Synergy through Literature”.

The Conference was inaugurated by the Minister of Education of the Federal Government of Pakistan, Begum Zobaida Jalal.

Other Eminent participants included : Mr. Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi, the seniormost and very eminent fiction writer of Pakistan, Mr. Iftikhar Arif,Chairman of Academy of Letters of Pakistan,Mr. Ahmad Faraz, Chairman of Pakistan National Book Foundation, Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Country Director, Action Aid Pakistan, Dr. Mubashir Hasan, prominent peace activist; Dr. Asif Farrukhi, Dr. Khalid Aftab, GCU Vice-Chancellor, and Dr. Shahzad Kaiser, Asghar Nadim Syed, Mushtaq Ahmed Yousfi, Minoo Bhandara, Shoaib Hashmi, Ms. Kishwar Naheed, Mr. Intizar Hussain, Mr. Imtiaz Alam, Dr. Attash Durrani, H.E. Mr. Shiv Shankar Menon, India’s High Commissioner in Pakistan, Mr. Tissa Abeysekara, Sri Lanka, Mr. Dwarika Shreshta,Nepal,

Prof. Zobaida Gulshan Aara, and Mr. Abdur Rahim, Bangladesh.
Mr. Abbas Ibrahim, Maldives, Ms. Ajeet Cour, Mr. Bishnu Mohapatra, Mr. Kunwar Narain, Dr. Ashok Vajpeyi, Mr. Kamleshwar, Prof. Qazi     Afzal Hussain, Mr Ashok Koshy, Ajeet Caur India.

Interacting at the Airport.

Saeen Zahoor Singing for Ajeet Cour

Ajeet Cour with Fouzia Saeed and Kishwar Naheed in SAARC Writers Conference in Pakistan.

Ajeet Cour with the Young Artist from Pakistan.

Ajeet Cour in Data Da Darbar Lahore

Ajeet Cour with Dr. Indira Goswami in SAARC Writers Conference in Pakistan.

Ajeet Cour with Famour actress of Pakistan and our own dear Manohar Shyam Joshi.

Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, who never went out anywhere, inaugurated the SAARC Writers Conference and said “I am here for my favourite dear Ajeet Cour”.

Ajeet Cour touched Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi Sahib’s feet while welcoming him

Ajeet Cour welcoming Ahmad Naheed Qasmi, a Master for us for Indian and Pakistani Writers

Ajeet Cour with Mr. Mustansar Tarar

The themes of the sessions were :

• The Mystiques and Roots of SAARC region, as reflected in literature.
• Defiance and self-assertion in feminist literature.
• Apathy of inflicted wars since 9/11 and its impact on neo-realism.
• Ground realities of the region as best reflected in prose and poetry.
• How much proactive study of history is needed for a writer ?
• The importance of oral literature in the classic and contemporary literature.
• Emergence of Globalisation and its reflection in literature.
• Linguistics, IT and Literature.

After the conclusion of the Conference the participants walked together on The Mall in a Peace March. They held banners and placards inscribed with slogans for peace and tolerance.

The participating writers declared :

We, the writers, poets, translators, mediapersons and academicians, political philosophers and intellectuals, having participated in the five-day Literary Interaction organised by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature, New Delhi, India, with the active collaboration of Ms. Kishwar Naheed of HAWWA who received support from ACTIONAID Pakistan and Pakistan Academy of Letters,

Expressing deep concern about the persistence of violence and conflict in various parts of the world, reiterate the fact that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defence of peace must be constructed,

10th SAARC Writers Conference supports the efforts of India and Pakistan to open borders for people-to-people contacts, and demand similar actions in all countries covering the region,

10th SAARC Writers Conference reaffirms the belief that development demands greater expenditure for the social sector and reduced budgets on heavy armaments,

Writers demand exemption from visa restrictions, and issuance of multiple visas to writers for interactions with their counterparts,
This Conference indicates the desire of people to live in peace and work for posterity for a future where desperation and hatred of the neighbors is eliminated,

This Conference declares that writers will always raise their voice for peace and tolerance, and will collectively condemn any attempt to silence voices of sanity, anywhere in the region,

Writers and intellectuals urge respective governments to protect the human rights of their citizens, especially women and vulnerable groups comprising minorities, Adivasis, Dalits and other deprived and marginalised classes,
The writers agree to cooperate to strengthen the initiatives of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature and express willingness to support the following :

 SAARC Writers Union under the banner of Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature
 SAARC Publicity – Transmission of media reports and news of the region pertaining to cooperation
 SAARC Comparative Literary Studies in Universities in the SAAR