Aamir Ghauri is currently the Resident Editor of The News International in Islamabad since December 2017. He founded the South Asia Future Forum (SAFF) in London in 2016, engaging government representatives, international experts, and regional specialists on South Asia’s political, economic, social, and cultural issues. Previously, Ghauri worked as Political Editor and Program Host for ARY News from 2011 to 2016, covering stories in the UK, the US, major European capitals, and the Middle East. He launched and edited ‘The Asian Journal,’ an English-language free weekly newspaper in London in 2009, focusing on South Asian ethnic communities in the UK. In 2008, he joined Dunya TV as Director of News & Current Affairs and played a significant role in building its broadcast team. Ghauri led Geo TV’s European news operations and presented ‘Viewpoint’ from London for European and North American audiences. He has a wealth of experience working with Pakistani and international news media, including the BBC and Prime TV. In 2001, Ghauri joined ARY Digital as the Head of News and Current Affairs, and in 1990, he was part of the founding team that launched Pakistan’s first multi-edition English-language newspaper, The News International. He reported on court cases of prominent Pakistani politicians and covered international elections, conflicts, and societies on three continents. Aamir Ghauri holds an MSc in International Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, with a focus on South Asian and Middle Eastern politics. He has practised law in Pakistan and is a respected political commentator who has appeared on major international news networks and contributed to various publications. He has spoken at prestigious educational institutions and media think tanks worldwide and authored ‘The Divine Destruction,’ a pictorial commentary on the 2005 South Asian earthquake.
Abbas Nasir is a professional journalist who has held senior editorial positions both in Pakistan and the UK. He is a former editor of Dawn and prior to that, he was the head of the BBC Urdu Service in London, and Executive Editor of the BBC World Service Asia Pacific Region. In Pakistan, he has reported for The Muslim, The Herald and Newsline to name but a few news publications. Notably, when The News was established in 1990, he served as its chief political correspondent, where he played a pivotal role in training and guiding numerous young journalists who would later go on to excel in the field. Abbas Nasir is a regular columnist for Dawn.
Afrasiab Khattak serves as the Chair of the Policy and Research Committee of the National Democratic Movement (NDM). He is a former Senator who chaired the Senate Committee on Human Rights and was an integral part of the Parliamentary Committee responsible for drafting the 18th Constitutional Amendment. In recognition of his parliamentary services, the Government of Pakistan bestowed upon him the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the highest civil award. Formerly, Afrasiab Khattak held the positions of Chairperson at the HRCP (Human Rights Commission of Pakistan) and Provincial President of ANP Pakhtunkhwa. With his deep insights into regional affairs, he specializes in Afghan matters. His educational background includes an MA in English and an LLB from Peshawar University. Moreover, he is proficient in Pashto, Urdu, English, and Persian languages, both spoken and written.
Agha Imran Hamid
Agha Imran Hamid is a development consultant who has worked for several international organizations, including the World Bank, DFID, IFAD, and UNDP. He was educated at the universities of Sussex and Columbia. His major interests include history, music, literature, and food, and he is an avid reader.
Aisha Ghaus Pasha
Dr Aisha Ghaus Pasha, former Minister of State for Finance and Revenue in Pakistan and former Minister for Finance in the Punjab government, has also undertaken consulting roles for various international multilateral and bilateral agencies. Her extensive experience encompasses teaching, and research in areas such as macroeconomics, social policy, development, governance, public finance, and urban and regional economics, as well as advocacy work on social and economic issues.
Aisha Sarwari is a distinguished public speaker, writer, and advocate for women’s rights. She co-founded the Women’s Advancement Hub and has contributed her insights to prominent publications and media outlets such as The Guardian, Dawn, BBC World, NPR, TRT World, and The Express Tribune. With a career spanning over two decades in public affairs and communications, Aisha has made a lasting impact in various industries, splitting her professional life between San Jose and Islamabad. Notably, her latest book, ‘Heart Tantrums and Brain Tumors,’ published by Penguin and Hurst in 2023, has garnered substantial attention. It is currently soaring on the best-selling charts, ranking at number 3 in the gender studies category. You can connect with Aisha Sarwari on Twitter via her handle: @AishaFsarwari.
Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry
Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry has served as a member of the Foreign Service of Pakistan for 37 years, rising to the rank of the Foreign Secretary of Pakistan for over three years from December 2013 to March 2017. Mr Chaudhry’s last diplomatic assignment was as Ambassador of Pakistan to the United States of America. He also served as Ambassador of Pakistan to the Netherlands, Foreign Office Spokesman, and deputy permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations in New York. As Director General for relations with South Asia, he remained closely associated with the India-Pakistan peace process. After his retirement from the foreign service, Ambassador Chaudhry served as the Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad for over four years. Ambassador Chaudhry is presently serving as chairman of an Islamabad-based think tank called Sanober Institute. He has authored two books and numerous research articles. His recent book is a memoir ‘Diplomatic Footprints’ which discusses the intricacies of foreign policymaking in Pakistan. Ambassador Chaudhry holds a Master’s in International Relations from Tufts University, Massachusetts, and a First Class First Bachelor of Science from Punjab University Lahore.
Amardeep Singh, a resident of Singapore, was educated at The Doon School (Dehradun, India), Manipal Institute of Technology (India), and pursued a master’s in business administration at the University of Chicago, USA. Before becoming an Independent Visual Ethnographic Researcher, Amardeep worked in the Financial Services sector for 25 years and served as the Head of the Asia Pacific Region at American Express for Revenue Management. He is the author of two books: ‘Lost Heritage, The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan’ and ‘The Quest Continues: Lost Heritage, The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan.’ Additionally, he has produced and directed two short documentary films on the remnants of the Sikh legacy in the Indus region, titled ‘Peering Soul’ and ‘Peering Warrior.’ His most recent work, a 24-episode docuseries on Guru Nanak available at TheGuruNanak.com in five languages, received the 2022 Interfaith Prize awarded by Hofstra University (USA). Currently, Amardeep Singh is leading a five-year effort under the ‘Oneness in Diversity’ project to create two documentaries and educational content aimed at strengthening the message of Oneness based on the concordance of the Indic Saints of the Bhakti movement. It’s worth mentioning that Amardeep’s wife, Vininder Kaur, plays an equally creative role in all their past and future projects.
Amir Hamid Jafri
Dr Amir Hamid Jafri studied Rhetoric and Human Communication at the University of Oklahoma. He has trained faculty in Pakistan and has taught various subjects in Humanities at a number of universities in the USA and Pakistan. Currently working on an exegesis of selections from Mir Taqi Mir, his last publication ‘Honour Killing: Dilemma, Ritual, Understanding’ was published by Oxford University Press.
Ammar Aziz is a poet, literary translator, and multi-award-winning filmmaker from Lahore. His poetry has been published in several leading literary journals and widely anthologized, including its latest inclusion in Penguin’s ‘Greening the Earth’ and ‘The Red River Book of Erotic Poetry.’ He has participated in various international literature festivals, and his verse has been translated into languages such as Russian, Spanish, Bangla, Tamil, Kannada, and Urdu. His debut collection of poetry, titled ‘The Missing Prayer,’ is scheduled for simultaneous publication in Pakistan and India in 2024. As a filmmaker, he has screened his work in over a hundred countries, including his feature-length documentary films ‘A Walnut Tree’ and ‘Discount Workers.’ These films have received numerous accolades, such as the FIPRESCI award, Berlinale Footprints, the Grand Prix at the Moscow International Film Festival, the Ram Bahadur Award at Film Southasia, and the Jean Rouch International Award, among others. His films have been broadcast on Al Jazeera, and various media outlets, including Deutsche Welle, The Hindu, Scroll, Indian Express, The Christian Science Monitor, Dawn, The Times of India, Insa Italy, and Arab News, have covered his work. Currently, he is working on the first official English translation of the Urdu poet Jaun Elia.
Andrew Coombe is the Managing Director of OxfordAQA, the exam board which supports international schools to prepare students for the future. OxfordAQA is a partnership between AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance), the UK’s largest awarding body, and Oxford University Press, a department of the University of Oxford. It offers globally recognised international GCSEs, AS and A-levels to schools across the world with a strong focus on the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia and Europe. Prior to joining OxfordAQA, Andrew led the global teams at Cambridge Assessment International Education. He is a passionate advocate for education which enables students not only to gain entry to the next stage of their education but also to prepare them with the skills they need to thrive. He has worked internationally throughout his career and is a graduate of the Universities of both Oxford and Cambridge.
Anwar Masood is a Pakistani poet and educationist celebrated for his humorous poetry. While his repertoire encompasses various genres, he is proficient in writing in Punjabi, Urdu, and Persian. In recognition of his contributions, he was honoured with the Hilal-e-Imtiaz in 2023 and the Pride of Performance in 1999.
Arif Azad is a columnist and writer. His work has been published in The Guardian, Index on Censorship, War and Peace Reporting, the BBC (UK), Tehelka, Economic and Political Weekly (India), Dawn, and The News (Pakistan). In 2005, he contributed to a collection of essays titled, ‘Creating Spaces for Freedom,’ which was published in the UK. His collection of essays titled, ‘Thinkers, Dreamers, and Doers,’ was published last year.
Dr Aroosa Kanwal is an Associate Professor in English Literature in the Department of English at Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan. She held a postdoctoral fellowship at Lancaster University, UK, from 2018 to 2020. She is the author of several notable works, including ‘Contemporary Pakistani Speculative Fiction and the Global Imaginary: Democratizing Human Futures’ (Routledge, 2023), ‘Rehumanizing Muslim Subjectivities: Postcolonial Geographies, Postcolonial Ethics’ (forthcoming, Routledge, 2024), ‘The Routledge Companion to Pakistani Anglophone Writing’ (Routledge, 2019), and ‘Rethinking Identities in Contemporary Pakistani Fiction: Beyond 9/11’ (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2015). Notably, ‘Rethinking Identities’ received the KLF-Coca-Cola award for the best non-fiction book of the year in 2015. Dr Kanwal is also the recipient of the 2018 UK Alumni Professional Achievement Award and was a finalist for the UK Alumni Culture and Creativity Award in 2023.
Arshad Mahmood Nashad
Arshad Mahmood Nashad was born in 1970 in a remote village in Attock, a northwestern district of Punjab. After graduating from Government College, Attock, he obtained MA degrees in Urdu and Punjabi Literature from Punjab University. In 2006, he earned his PhD from Punjab University, Lahore, with a dissertation titled ‘Technical, Structural, and Prosodical Study of Urdu Ghazal.’ Initially, he taught Urdu in private colleges. In March 1997, he was appointed as an Urdu teacher at the Government College of Commerce, Attock. After teaching there for over a decade, he joined the Urdu Department at Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad. Today, he serves as an Associate Professor and Coordinator of the PhD Program in the same department. Dr Nashad began his literary journey in 1985 as a poet and later transitioned to prose writing and research. His research articles and poetry have been consistently published in leading literary and research journals in India and Pakistan. He has authored more than three dozen books encompassing poetry, research, editing, and translation. Several of his books have received accolades from prominent academic institutions. Universities have produced four MA and MPhil theses on his thoughts and art, and he has supervised over twenty PhD and nearly fifty MPhil theses. Additionally, more than sixty of his research papers have been published in HEC-approved research journals.
Arshad Waheed is a novelist and translator who began his literary career in 1995 with his first novel, ‘Gumaan.’ He has translated notable works like Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ into Urdu, titled ‘Waba ke Dinon mein Mohabbat.’ His translations also include Milan Kundera’s ‘Immortality’ (Urdu: ‘Baqa-e-Dawam’) and ‘The Art of the Novel’ (Urdu: ‘Novel ka Fun’). Arshad Waheed’s recent novel, ‘Other Days,’ has garnered acclaim for its portrayal of Pakistani society and its immigrants amidst significant social, cultural, and political changes in recent decades. It was awarded the best English novel of 2021 by the Pakistan Academy of Letters. In addition to his literary work, Arshad Waheed is the director of the Institute of Social Policy in Islamabad, actively engaged in social policy, human rights, and development issues, working with national and international development organizations. He contributes to numerous research projects on topics like poverty, vulnerability, indigenous peoples, and human rights. Arshad Waheed also shares his insights through articles published in various newspapers and journals. He resides in Islamabad.
Asma Shirazi is a distinguished journalist, senior anchor-person, and editor of Current Affairs at Aaj News. She hosts a powerful talk show on Aaj News Television, known for its authority and independence. In 2014, she was honoured with the prestigious Peter Mackler Award for Courage and Ethical Journalism, an international recognition presented jointly by PMaward, Associated French Press (AFP), Reporters Without Borders, and the International Union of Journalists (IUJ) at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. This award is conferred to only one journalist globally each year. Notably, Asma Shirazi is Pakistan’s first female war correspondent. Despite facing threats and personal risks, she has consistently demonstrated courage, professionalism, and unwavering dedication to uncovering the truth. Her show, ‘Faisla Aap Ka,’ is highly regarded for its independence and integrity, making her an inspirational figure for young reporters in Pakistan. In 2006, she reported from the frontlines of the Lebanon-Israel War for Geo News, an independent media group. While covering the conflict, she narrowly escaped Israeli missile attacks twice and ventured into evacuation zones to provide on-ground coverage. She and her team were even captured by Hezbollah fighters but were released after confirming their identities. During General Pervez Musharraf’s 2007 state of emergency, she, along with five male TV anchors, faced a ban from the airwaves. Despite being offered bribes and enduring death threats, she continued her fight for freedom of information, even experiencing an attack by police officials while doing live coverage. In 2009, Asma Shirazi reported from the Swat valley on the Afghanistan border, documenting terrorist atrocities and interviewing suicide bombers. Her fearless reporting led to death threats from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Asma Shirazi’s journalistic endeavours have extended beyond war coverage; she has also reported on humanitarian crises, such as the 2005 earthquake in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province. In this capacity, she entered the devastated city of Balakot, where tens of thousands had perished. Her 12-day reporting from the heart of the tragedy, once again as the sole woman reporter, exemplifies her dedication. Throughout her 20-year career, Asma Shirazi has faced physical dangers, death threats, and intimidation tactics. Yet, she has garnered immense respect from both superiors and colleagues, refusing to yield to pressures, whether they originated from authorities or extremists.
Ataullah Ata, a Pakistani public servant and writer, has had a distinguished career. He has held various key government positions in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), including Secretary of the Population Welfare Department. He has also served as Commissioner for Relief & Rehabilitation and Commissioner of Poonch Division, among other roles. His educational background includes a Master’s degree in Urdu Literature and Languages from Government College University Lahore (GCU) and training at the Civil Services Academy. He has consistently pursued professional development, including a Specialized Training Program (STP) and courses at institutions like the Kashmir Management Institute and the National School for Public Policy. His achievements in both literature and public service have been recognized, with honours such as the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz and the Presidential National Award for Literature. His literary work, published in various genres, has been featured in renowned journals like Funoon, Mah-e-Nau, Takhleeq, and Oraaq. Ataullah Ata’s literary influence extends internationally, with participation in literary events and discussions in places like Delhi, Indore, Texas, London, and Turkish universities. He is multilingual, proficient in Panjabi, Punjabi, Urdu, and English, facilitating cross-cultural communication. Ataullah Ata’s life represents a harmonious blend of dedicated public service and literary contributions that transcend boundaries and have a positive impact on Urdu literature and society.
Ambassador Athar Abbas served in the Pakistan Army from 1976 to 2012 and retired at the rank of Major General. He is a graduate of the Command and Staff College, Quetta, and the Armed Forces Staff College, Malaysia. He attended the Armed Forces War Course and the National Defence Course at the National Defence University in Islamabad. He holds Master’s degrees in War Studies and Strategic Studies and has served on the faculties of Staff College and Defence University. Before retiring from the army, Ambassador Abbas served as the Chief Military Spokesman and Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations from 2008 to 2012. He delivers lectures on national security, counter-terrorism/violent extremism, civil-military relations, and the media’s role in conflict. He comments on these subjects in national and international publications and participates in seminars at home and abroad. He is an active member of Pak-India Track-II diplomacy. He has worked as a security consultant with the World Bank and Mitsubishi Corporation and remained on the board of directors of Phillip Morris (Pakistan) Limited. His last assignment was as Pakistan’s ambassador to Ukraine.
Bi Bi Ameena
Bi Bi Ameena currently holds the position of In-charge at the Centre for Language Teaching (Faculty of Languages and Literature) and serves as an Assistant Professor in Urdu at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. She has fourteen years of teaching and research experience and has presented papers at both national and international conferences. She has contributed seventeen research articles to renowned journals and serves on the review board of various national research journals. Ameena is a sub-editor for ‘Me’yar’ and an associate editor for the ‘Index of Urdu Journals.’ Ameena played a vital role in reviewing the syllabus and curriculum of the USAID-funded Pakistan Reading Project as a subject expert. She has also developed the syllabus and curriculum for Urdu language and linguistics at the International Islamic University, Islamabad. Furthermore, she is the author of three books: ‘Khalida Hussain: Shakhsiat aur Fun’ (2017), ‘Urdu Lughat (Tareekhi Usool Per): Tehqeeqi aur Tanqeedi Mutalia’ (2020) and is one of the co-authors of ‘Lisaniyat: Aik Jame’ Ta’aruf’ (2022). Her book ‘Urdu Lughat (Tareekhi Usool Per): Tehqeeqi aur Tanqeedi Mutalia’ received the prestigious 2020 Baba-i-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq Award for research and criticism from the Pakistan Academy of Letters.
Carmen González is a Spanish journalist and former editor of BBC Mundo. She has worked in the Spanish Media as well as United Press international, Instagram, BBC World Service and Dawn TV.
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 at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Lahore, Pakistan, where his areas of teaching and research relate to the economics of education, inclusive education, philosophy of education, microeconomics, game theory and industrial organization. He was also the Dean for the School of Education at LUMS (2020-2023). He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS). Previous to this, Dr Bari was CEO for IDEAS (2015-2020), Executive Director for Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre (2004-2006), and Visiting Assistant Professor of economics at Yale University, New Haven (2000-2001). A former Rhodes Scholar (Pakistan-1988), 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.
Dr Faisal Mushtaq’s contributions span higher education, social impact, and youth empowerment, making him a distinguished leader in various fields. AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS: (1) Recipient of the 500 Most Influential Muslims of the World Award for three consecutive years (2014-2016). (2) Received the National Civil Award Tamgha-i-Imtiaz from the President of Pakistan for exceptional contributions to education, youth empowerment, and Chinese language promotion. (3) Named National Book Ambassador for two consecutive years by the National Book Foundation, showcasing dedication to literacy and education. (4) Served as Chair of China Hanban CRI Confucius Classroom Pakistan, leading efforts to promote the Chinese language and culture in Pakistan. (5) Received the 2014 Best Educationist of the Year Award from the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry for outstanding contributions to education. EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND: (1) In September 2021, Dr Mushtaq received an Honorary Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Hertfordshire, UK, in recognition of his significant contributions to education transformation in Pakistan. (2) University of London graduate in Economics from the United Kingdom. (3) Graduated from the University of Salford with a degree in Accounting & Finance in the United Kingdom. (4) Attended Cadet College Hasan Abdal, a prestigious boarding school in Pakistan. (5) Graduated from the National Defence University with a focus on national security studies, emphasizing the importance of education for national security. NOTABLE CONTRIBUTIONS AND PARTICIPATION: (1) Represented Pakistani academia at the National Security Workshop NSW-06 through a special government nomination. (2) Represented the Government of Pakistan at the Overseas Pakistanis Investment Conference. (3) Played a leading role in the Vision for Education 2025 program as part of the Educational Sector Reforms Authority (ESRA). (4) Actively contributed to policy and mobilization plans as a member of the UNDP Youth, Education, and Community Engagement Team within the Planning Commission. AWARDS IN EDUCATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP: (1) Received the Young CEO Excellence Award for outstanding achievements in both education and entrepreneurship. (2) Received the Education Industry Excellence Award for exceptional contributions to the education sector. (3) Received the Accomplished Leader Award from ABI, USA, and the 1st Global HR Excellence Award. (4) Received the Leadership Excellence Award from KFC Pakistan. (5) Received the 2009 Achievement Excellence Award from RCCI, Pakistan. (6) Received The Indus Entrepreneurship Award from The Indus Entrepreneurs (TIE), Pakistan Chapter. (7) Recognized with the Brand of the Year Award in 2010, 2011, and 2023 by the Brands Foundation, Pakistan. (8) Honoured with the Environmental Excellence Award in 2010 by the Ministry of Environment. (9) Recognized as the Best Young Entrepreneur of the Year in both 2010 and 2011 for entrepreneurial accomplishments. (10) Acknowledged as the All World Network USA PK-100 and Arabia 500 Winner in 2012 and 2013. (11) Received the RCCI Gold Award in 2013 from the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce & Industry. MEMBERSHIP IN ORGANIZATIONS: (1) A member of the global educational network, International Networking for Educational Transformation (iNET). (2) An active member of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI). (3) A member of the Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI). (4) A member of the Management Association of Pakistan (MAP), a professional association. (5) Serves as a member of the Cambridge International Assessments Education (CIAE) Advisory Council. (6) Actively involved in the Public Relations Committee of Al Shifa Eye Trust Pakistan. BOARDS AND COMMITTEES: (1) Serves as a Director and member of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE) Institute Islamabad Chapter. (2) A board member on the Worldwide Fund for Nature Pakistan Board of Governors. (3) Serves as a member of the Cadet College Hasan-Abdal (CCH) Board of Governors. (4) A member and Education Chair of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) Capital Chapter. (5) A member of the Pakistan Education Council. (6) A member of the Pakistan China Institute. (7) A member of the Advisory Panel for the Education Development Union (EDU). (8) A member of the Strategic Studies Institute of Islamabad. (9) A board member of the Center for Global and Strategic Studies (CGSS). (10) A board member of the Fauji Foundation Pakistan.
Farrukh Jamal, the maternal grandson of the renowned poet Josh Malihabadi, has dedicated his life to preserving and promoting the literary legacy of his illustrious ancestor. Born with a deep appreciation for poetry and a passion for his grandfather’s work, Farrukh Jamal has become a distinguished figure in the world of literature. He has authored two remarkable books on Josh Malihabadi. The first, titled ‘Josh…Mere Baba, Shakhs Aur Shayir,’ delves into the life, personality, and poetic genius of Josh from a personal perspective. It offers readers an intimate glimpse into the man behind the legendary poet. His second book, ‘Josh Malihabadi, Malihabad Se Islamabad Tak, Rudad e Safar, Mulazamtein Aur Qiyam Gahein,’ takes readers on a journey from Malihabad to Islamabad, tracing the path of Josh’s life and the various phases of his literary career. It explores the locations, experiences, and significant moments that shaped the poet’s extraordinary life. Farrukh Jamal’s commitment to preserving his grandfather’s legacy doesn’t stop there. He is currently working on his third book, titled ‘Khandan e Josh Aur Mazi K Dhundalake,’ which promises to be another valuable addition to the literature on Josh Malihabadi. This upcoming work is expected to shed light on the family heritage of Josh and provide insights into his historical context. In addition to his literary pursuits, Farrukh Jamal serves as the President of the Josh Adabi Foundation. His dedication to this foundation reflects his desire to ensure that the legacy of Josh Malihabadi continues to inspire and enlighten generations to come. Through his books, his ongoing research, and his leadership of the foundation, Farrukh Jamal is a torchbearer for the rich literary heritage of his grandfather, preserving it for future generations and ensuring that the world never forgets the profound contributions of Josh Malihabadi to the world of poetry. Furthermore, due to Farrukh Jamal’s tireless efforts, the Government of Pakistan awarded the Hilal-i-Imtiaz to Josh Malihabadi, acknowledging his immense contributions to literature. Additionally, a road in Sector D-12 East, Islamabad, was named after the great poet, Josh Malihabadi, further honouring his legacy.
Farrukh Yar literary career spans 30 years, marked by significant contributions to modern Urdu poetry, which have shaped contemporary poetry in terms of technique and substance. As a poet, he possesses a unique ability to address the complexities of the human condition in his creative endeavours, enriching his style by crafting a natural rhythm of poetic speech, in contrast to the traditional linguistic grandeur found in the works of other eminent poets. Holding both an LLB and an MA in history from Punjab University, he has authored four poetry collections and two research books. His debut collection of Urdu poems, ‘Matti ka Mazmoon,’ published in 2005, garnered nationwide acclaim. ‘Neend Jhultay Logon Kay Lea Likhee Gaee Nazmain,’ his second collection, received critical acclaim in 2009. His third collection of poetic verses, ‘Yeh Mah o Saal Yeh Umrain,’ published in 2016, once again showcases the excellence of the poet’s craft. In this collection, he delves into a range of subjects, from loneliness, lost love, and the silent despair accompanying modernity, to a more optimistic and almost avant-garde embrace of life’s offerings. This book earned him Pakistan’s prestigious UBL Excellence Literary Award in 2017. In 2019, he published ‘Karez,’ a lengthy Urdu poem, which was launched at both the ILF and KLF. His research work on South Asian culture, titled ‘Dorahay,’ was published and launched at KLF in 2022. Farrukh Yar Khan’s other works include anthologies of Urdu Nazm, compiled at the request of the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 2001 and 2005. His recent work, ‘Ishq Nama Shah Hussain,’ focusing on the text of the eminent Sufi Punjabi poet of the 16th century, Shah Hussain, was published in August 2023. It is highly praised for its comprehensive exploration of Shah Hussain’s role in the evolution of South Asian Sufism and the growth of Punjabi poetic verse. Its authenticity lies in a unique translation process that involves a meticulous comparison of all available poetic material attributed to Shah Hussain. The book stands as a remarkable thesis on Shah Hussain, offering cultural insights into Punjab during the late Middle Ages. In his leisure time, Farrukh Yar Khan is devoted to the appreciation of South Asian classical music, literature, and the study of mysticism in both prose and poetry. He resides in Islamabad.
Farzana Bari is a prominent Pakistani feminist and a leading voice on human rights in the country. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Sussex, UK. She served as the director of the Center of Excellence in Gender Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad and introduced gender studies into civil service exams to pave the way for a better understanding of gender concepts and gender justice at the institutional level. With over 25 years of experience in gender studies, Dr Bari has been a trailblazer in the field. She has contributed numerous academic articles on gender issues to national and international journals and books. Dr Bari’s commitment to social change extends to her role as a senior leader in left-leaning politics. She was the first vice-president of the Awami Workers Party (AWP), which she joined at its formation in 2012 and continues to actively campaign for the marginalized and oppressed. She is an active convener of discussions on socio-economic, political, and religious injustices in Pakistan.
Fasi Zaka is a public policy and communications professional in the development sector. He has worked extensively in the media as an op-ed columnist for the press, as a radio show host on his eponymous programme, and as a TV anchor. Zaka is also known for his satirical works in the media. His most recent academic publication was a co-authored book chapter on hate speech in ‘Rethinking Pakistan: A 21st Century Perspective’ published by Folio Books.
Fauzia Minallah was born in Quetta and earned her M.Sc. in Communication Design in 1991 from Pratt Institute, New York. Her animation for children, ‘Amai, the Bird of Light,’ has been featured at festivals both in Pakistan and abroad. Her animation, ‘The Lost Lullaby,’ was showcased at COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh. Fauzia also holds the distinction of being Pakistan’s first editorial/political cartoonist and has received a national award for her cartoons. Furthermore, she plays a pivotal role in reviving the dying craft of Chitarkari, or slate engraving, from Gangar hills in Hazara and is actively engaged in preserving old and historical trees in Islamabad as ‘Natural Monuments.’ Fauzia Minallah paints, sculpts, creates animations, and installs works in various materials and settings to document, predict, and warn. She endeavours to point towards a sustainable path for the human species. As a multi-faceted and talented artist, she has been exhibiting her work in Pakistan and abroad since 1980. According to Rumana Husain in The News, ‘For Fauzia, it is not only the Earth that is a giving mother; the trees are feminine too. A tree-hugger herself, she draws inspiration from the large and ancient trees that have nurtured our land, as well as from other tenacious Pakistani women.’
Ghulam Ali Mallah
Dr Ghulam Ali Mallah is a distinguished scholar who has made significant contributions to the field of education. With a post-doctorate in Educational Technology & Academic Leadership from Glasgow University, Scotland, his academic journey has been marked by numerous accomplishments. He holds a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and earned his PhD through an HEC Scholarship from Pakistan. In 1996, he joined Shah Abdul Latif University, where he served in various roles, including Head of Computer Sciences and Teacher Education Departments, Focal Person for Women University Sukkur, Focal Person for International Linkages & Exchange Programs, Advisor to the Vice Chancellor on Planning & Development, and Director of University Automation Systems. Dr Mallah has an impressive portfolio of over 60 nationally and internationally recognized articles by the HEC. In addition to his research articles, he has authored five books and chapters, with his recent book titled ‘Defence in Depth,’ focusing on cyber-security, making a substantial contribution to the field of IT and cyber security. Moreover, he has supervised over 100 BS/MS/PhD projects.
Currently, Dr Mallah serves as the Executive Director of the Inter-Boards Coordination Commission (IBCC) under the Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training, a position he assumed in 2020. In a short time, he has transformed IBCC into an innovative and technology-driven service-oriented institution. His achievements include implementing ISO 9001:2015 international standards at IBCC, streamlining the process of equivalence and attestation, and driving reforms in the examination systems of Pakistan’s BISEs. He has played a crucial role in resolving the long-standing issue of ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level students’ grade equivalency, ensuring equal opportunities for all students to pursue higher education. Dr. Mallah is dedicated to effective coordination for standardizing examination and assessment systems, as well as authenticating certificates and diplomas from authorized local and foreign examining bodies. Under his leadership, IBCC introduced the training of assessors for all public sector examination boards for curriculum-based examinations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Mallah developed standard operating procedures (SOPs) for various examination boards to conduct exams safely, earning praise from the National Command Operation Center (NCOC) Pakistan. In recognition of his commitment to transparency and accountability in public service, Dr Mallah was honored with the ‘Integrity Icon Award,’ a global campaign promoting good governance in public service delivery.
Muhammad Hameed Shahid is a prominent fiction writer and literary critic. His writing journey began during his school days, with his first book published while he was still a university student. He has authored several collections of short stories, including ‘Band Ankhoon Sy Pare,’ ‘Janam Jahanam,’ ‘Margzaar,’ ‘Aadmi,’ and ‘Gandam Ki Mehak.’ In addition to these, he has penned two novels, namely ‘Mitti Adam Khati Ha’ and ‘Jang mein Mohabbat Ki Tasveer Nahein Banti.’ Mr Shahid has also made significant contributions to non-fiction literature with works such as ‘Adbi Tanaziaat,’ ‘Urdu Afsana: Soorat o Maana,’ ‘Urdu Fiction Naye Mubahis,’ ‘Kahani aur Llosa sy Muamla,’ ‘Rashid Meraji Faiz: Nayaab hein Hum,’ ‘Intekhab Ghazaliat e Mir,’ and ‘Justju Guftgu,’ among others. His short stories have been nationally and internationally anthologized and translated into various languages. Moreover, he has translated global fiction and poetry from English into Urdu. His most recent publication is ‘Khushboo Ki Dewar Ky Pechae,’ an autobiography. Notably, his books were shortlisted for both the 6th UBL Literary Excellence and Karachi Literature Festival awards in 2016, and he was declared a winner of the UBL Literary Excellence Award in 2017. In recognition of his literary contributions, he was honoured with the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz by the President of Pakistan in 2017.
Hamid Khan, a legal scholar and advocate, was born on 16 April 1946 in Pakistan. He holds an LL.M. from the College of Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois, USA (1973), an M.A. in History from the University of the Punjab, Lahore (1968), an LL.B. from the University Law College, University of the Punjab, Lahore (1966), and a B.A. from Government College, Lahore (1964). He is proficient in languages like English, Urdu, and Punjabi. Hamid Khan’s professional affiliations include being a Member of the Pakistan Bar Council since 1990 and holding leadership roles in the legal community. He served as Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Bar Council (1996-97), Chairman of the Executive Committee of Pakistan Bar Council (2005), and Chairman of the Legal Education Committee of Pakistan Bar Council (1995-2008). He has also been President of the Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan (2001-2003) and President of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (1992-93). Throughout his career, Hamid Khan has been a dedicated advocate, serving as a Senior Advocate at the Supreme Court of Pakistan since November 2001. He has also been a Visiting Lecturer on Constitutional Law, International Law, and Civil Procedure at Punjab University Law College, Lahore, and a Visiting Professor in Comparative Constitutional Law for LL.M. students at the same institution. He has been a Guest Speaker and Lecturer on Constitutional and Administrative Laws at various institutes in Pakistan and served as Head Examiner in Public International Law at the University of Punjab. Hamid Khan’s written work includes significant publications like ‘A History of the Judiciary in Pakistan’ (2023), ‘Constitutional and Political History of Pakistan’ (Third Edition, 2019), ‘Comparative Constitutional Law’ (2022), ‘Principles of Administrative Law’ (Second Edition, 2020), and ‘Islamic Law of Inheritance’ (Second Edition, 2021). He has received several awards for his contributions to the legal field, including the Dorab Patel Award for Rule of Law (2002), the Madar-e-Millat Award (2003), the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Illinois College of Law (2005), and the Human Rights Award by the Human Rights Society of Pakistan (2006). Hamid Khan’s extensive expertise and dedication to legal scholarship have made him a respected figure in the field of law, both in Pakistan and internationally.
Hamid Mir is a journalist and author with a substantial body of work. Throughout his career, Mir has reported on conflicts in several regions, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Chechnya, and Kashmir. Notably, he holds the distinction of being the sole journalist to have conducted an interview with Osama bin Laden following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Additionally, he has had the privilege of interviewing Nelson Mandela and played a pivotal role in introducing Malala Yousafzai to television audiences in 2009.
Mir has written articles for Pakistani publications and hosted a talk show on GEO TV, a national news channel. He contributes Urdu columns for Daily Jang and English columns for The Washington Post and India Today. He has received recognition from Reporters Without Borders and various awards from organizations like Free Press Unlimited and the SAARC Writers Association.
Despite facing immense challenges, including two assassination attempts, being banned from television on three occasions, and enduring job losses due to his unwavering commitment to press freedom and human rights, Hamid Mir remains a steadfast advocate for these crucial causes. His influence also extends to his role as a member of the Jury for the RSF World Press Freedom Award and the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Award.
Harris Khalique is a poet and author in English, Urdu and Punjabi with ten collections of poetry, two books of nonfiction and several hundred articles, columns and papers published in Pakistan and abroad. He has co-edited a volume of essays and guest-edited a literary journal. Khalique has also been a seasoned broadcaster. His work is composed to music and dance and translated into several international languages besides being anthologised by Oxford University Press, Penguin US, University of Georgia Press, W.W. Norton, Kitaab, Maktaba-e-Daniyal, Folio Books and others. He has delivered keynote addresses and lectures at conferences and universities across many countries. He is a recipient of Pakistan’s prestigious Presidential Pride of Performance Award and the UBL Literary Excellence Award. He is also a University of Iowa Honorary Fellow in Writing. After working closely with labour, community development and other civil rights movements for decades across Pakistan, South Asia and Europe, he now serves as the secretary-general of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan besides managing DARE, an education research programme, run by Oxford Policy Management. Khalique graduated in mechanical engineering from N.E.D. University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi, and earned a master’s degree in development management from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Haya Fatima Sehgal
Haya Fatima Sehgal is a prolific writer, with 20 years of experience as a security professional. Her journalism primarily focuses on socio-cultural and national security topics, which have influenced the fabric of social norms, culture, and consciousness in Pakistan. She is passionate about writing and extensively discusses Pakistan and the issues that have brought about significant change. Her portfolio includes articles on a wide range of topics, along with interviews and coverage of influential figures who have contributed to positive change in the country. Sehgal’s work is particularly important for the youth, as she firmly believes in their potential to lead Pakistan forward. They represent the country’s future and its hope for progress. In addition to her writing, she is a poet who addresses social injustices and sensitive topics often considered taboo in South Asian culture.
Hoori Noorani is the proprietor of Maktaba-e-Danyal, a well-known publishing house based in Karachi. She inherited the business from her late father, Malik Noorani, following his passing. After completing her early education in Karachi, her passion for literature and linguistics drove her to pursue a master’s degree in philology, specializing in Russian and World literature, at the People’s Friendship University in Moscow. Upon her return to Karachi upon graduation in 1983, she briefly taught the Russian language at the Russian Cultural Centre before joining her father’s publishing enterprise. Maktaba-e-Danyal has gained acclaim for publishing works by celebrated authors such as Mushtaq Ahmed Yousufi, Syed Sibte Hassan, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Iftikhar Arif, Fahmida Riaz, Habib Jalib, and many others. The publishing house has also introduced the writings of Indian authors to its catalogue. Presently, Maktaba-e-Danyal is actively engaged in translating works from world literature into Urdu and promoting Pakistani authors who write in English. Additionally, Ms Noorani is a trained classical dancer and has demonstrated her translation skills by translating Henrich Borovik’s renowned play, ‘Interview in Buenos Aires,’ from Russian into Urdu.
Prof. Dr Huma Baqai currently holds the position of Rector at the Millennium Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship in Karachi. Previously, she served as the Associate Dean, Faculty of Business Administration at the Institute of Business Administration Karachi and as an Associate Professor of Social Sciences & Liberal Arts at IBA Karachi. She is an international relations expert & political analyst and has three books to her credit: ’Making Sense of Post COVID-19 Politics’ (2020), ’Pakistan-Afghanistan Relations: Pitfalls and Way Forward’ (2021), ‘Collected Works on Foreign Affairs and Security Policy’ (2023). She has published extensively both nationally and internationally. Dr Baqai is also recognized as a content developer and holds certification as a Corporate Trainer. Additionally, she currently holds the position of Senior Vice Chairperson at the Karachi Council for Foreign Relations (KCFR) and serves on several advisory and governance boards.
Dr Humaira Ishfaq is a well-established female writer who is known for her works regarding the evolution of women’s education in history. She is also recognized for her short stories and novel. Dr Humaira Ishfaq commenced her writing career in 2010 and has successfully published more than 15 books. In addition to her writing, she has served as an Assistant Professor in the Urdu department of the International Islamic University. Furthermore, she completed her post-doctorate at the University of Cambridge, UK. It’s noteworthy that she is among the few women who received a post-doctoral scholarship from HEC, the Government of Pakistan, in 2014. Dr Humaira Ishfaq is also celebrated as a literary critic in the Urdu literary community. Some of her notable works include ‘Katbon Kay Darmian,’ ‘Mee Sozam,’ and ‘Majmua Mohammadi Begum.’ She has also worked with renowned writers such as Nisar Azeez Butt, Fahmida Riaz, and Khwaja Muhammad Ahmed Saleem which have enriched the literary landscape.
A prominent Urdu poet, scholar, and literary personality. Several collections of Iftikhar Arif’s poetry have been published, including the rendition of his poetry into English, titled ‘Written in the Season of Fear’ (OUP, 2003). A former head of the Pakistan Academy of Letters, National Language Authority, and the National Book Foundation, he has also been President of the ECO Cultural Institute in Tehran, Iran. He is the former head of National Language Promotion Department, National History and Literary Heritage Division, Islamabad. He has received numerous awards, including the President’s Pride of Performance Award. ‘Baagh-i-Gul-i-Surkh’ is his latest offering.
Ikram Sehgal, the first Pakistani Prisoner of War to escape from India in 1971, achieved a battlefield promotion to the rank of Major on December 13, 1971, while leading a rifle company in the Thar Desert. He is a frequent speaker at various Defense Services Institutions, including the National Defence University, PAF Air War College, Pakistan Naval War College, National Defence College, and similar institutions in Bangladesh and international think tanks across the USA, UK, Europe, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and more. In his role as Co-Chairman, Ikram Sehgal oversees two major private security companies within the Pathfinder Group Security Services Division (SSD) and innovative IT companies in the Financial Services and Technology Division (FSTD). One notable achievement is VRG’s recognition by the Edison Alliance of the World Economic Forum (WEF), where Sehgal is a member. VRG ranked third globally for ‘digital financial inclusion,’ with nearly 9.0 million Asaan Mobile Accounts (AMA). For two decades, Sehgal has hosted the Pakistan Breakfast event for Pakistan’s Heads of State, government ministers, and prominent figures at WEF’s Annual Meeting in Davos. He previously served as Chairman of the Karachi Council of Foreign Affairs (KCFR) and was unanimously elected as the Patron-in-Chief of KCFR. He is also the Vice Chairman of the Board of Management at Quaid-e-Azam House Museum (Institute of Nation Building) and holds the title of Honorary Senior Fellow at Singularity Academy in Zurich, Switzerland. He actively serves on WEF’s Board of ‘Partnering Against Corruption Initiative’ (PACI) and was a member of WEF’s Global Agenda Council (GAC) for ‘Counter-Terrorism’ for several years. Sehgal is the Chairman of the ‘Pakistan Committee’ at the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce, Geneva. He was a Director of the EastWest Institute New York, a US-based think tank, for over 15 years (now merged with other think tanks). Additionally, he has been on the Executive Council of Pakistan Newspapers Editors (CPNE) for the last decade and has served for sixteen years on the Board of Directors of Bank Alfalah since its inception. In January 2019, he was elected as Chairman of K-Electric and is associated as a Director on the Business Advisory Board (BAB) of IOM, Geneva. Ikram Sehgal is a regular contributor to newspapers such as the Daily Times, Express Tribune, Daily Express, Ausaf, Taqat, Khabrain, Intekhab, Ittehad, and Awami Awaz (Sindhi), along with the South Asian Monitor (Malaysia). He has also written for The Nation, Nawa-i-Waqt, The News, and Daily Jang for several years. In his capacity as a defence and security analyst, he frequently appears on current affairs programs on television. Sehgal holds the roles of Publisher & Chief Editor at Defence Journal and was formerly a weekly TV talk show host. He is the author of ‘Escape from Oblivion, a 1971 Episode’ and ‘Blood Over Different Shades of Green,’ both published by Oxford University Press (OUP). He has compiled over 2000 articles from 1980-2020 in ‘A Personal Chronicle of Pakistan’ across 12 volumes, with the 13th and 14th volumes currently in print.
Inaam Nadeem was born in Shahdadpur, Sindh, in 1967. A poet, writer, translator, and teacher by profession, Inaam Nadeem has 10 books to his credit, including a volume of ghazals. His first book, ‘Dar-e-Khawab,’ received the Aks-e-Khushbu Poetry Prize in 2003. He has translated numerous English novels into Urdu, including Omar Hamid Shahid’s ‘The Prisoner’ and Rabisankar Bal’s ‘Dozakhnama’ and ‘A Mirrored Life.’ Additionally, he has translated and edited a volume of short stories by renowned Hindi fiction writer Bhisham Sahni, which was shortlisted for the 10th UBL Literature & Arts award. Inaam Nadeem has also compiled anthologies about Asif Farrukhi, selected stories of Zakia Mashhadi, the complete works of poet Akbar Masoom, and a research-based anthology of Urdu prose poems in Pakistan. His latest book is an Urdu translation of Muriel Maufroy’s best-selling novel, ‘Rumi’s Daughter.’ His literary essays and articles about music are published frequently. He currently resides in Karachi and works as an Associate Professor at Habib University, Karachi.
Jibran Jamshad has been associated with Microsoft since 2007 and currently serves as the Regional Education Lead and Principal Officer for Microsoft Pakistan. He holds a master’s degree in Software Systems Engineering from the University of Melbourne and an MBA from CBM. In addition to numerous industry certifications and awards, Jibran has received the prestigious World Wide Circle of Excellence Award at Microsoft. He is deeply passionate about digital literacy and skilling, dedicating himself to empowering students throughout the country with the same mission.
Khalid Banuri is a practitioner and scholar who has gained diverse experience over a period of 44 years in public service, aviation, training, education, and outreach. His expertise lies in senior-level management, policy analysis, research, lecturing, and writing. Over the course of two decades, he has contributed extensively to policymaking in several areas such as arms control and diplomacy, nuclear, missile, space, chemical and biological control, strategic export controls, South Asian security and policy, and international law. He has postgraduate qualifications from three Pakistani and two British universities in security, strategic, defence, international law and war studies. He has a great reputation in the conferencing circuit both at home and abroad and has represented Pakistan in bilateral negotiations and on multilateral forums several times. He has taught at four public sector universities, lectured and published on a variety of subjects, and executed public-private partnerships. He is known for his interest in encouraging and enabling the next generation and has trained young people in various fields of knowledge, motivating them to achieve excellence. He has represented Pakistani perspectives on a blend of politics and policy, in various governmental and non-governmental forums nationally and internationally. For his outstanding services, he has been decorated with a civil award of Sitara-e-Imtiaz for policy analysis, and a Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Military) for services rendered in the PAF. Currently, he teaches ‘International Law and Human Rights’ at Air University, Islamabad, after having taught ‘Use of Force and International Law’ at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) Islamabad from 2017 to 2023.
Khawar Mumtaz is a feminist activist and a founding member of the national platform for women’s rights, the Women’s Action Forum. She served as the Chairperson of the National Commission on the Status of Women from 2013 to 2019 and, prior to that, was the CEO of the prominent feminist organization, Shirkat Gah-Women’s Resource Centre. Mumtaz has been honoured with the Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 2005 for her advocacy of women’s rights and received the Prime Minister’s award for her co-authored book with Farida Shaheed, titled ‘Women of Pakistan: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back?’ (1989), which traced women’s activism from the turn of the last century to contemporary times. She has conducted research and authored works on various aspects of women’s lived experiences, including political participation, home-based work, labour force participation, reproductive health and rights, the environment, and poverty. Her contributions can be found in several edited publications from Pakistan and abroad, with her most recent work being a chapter in Sherry Rehman’s ‘Womansplaining.’ Khawar Mumtaz holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Karachi University and has served on the faculty of the Centre for South Asian Studies at Punjab University. She has also worked as an Assistant Editor at Viewpoint, served on syndicates of Women’s Universities, and held the position of Senate Chair at Karakoram International University.
Kishwar Naheed is one of Pakistan’s most renowned feminist poets. Her first collection of poems, ‘Lab-i-Goya’ (1968), earned her the prestigious Adamjee Prize for Literature. She is the founder of Hawwa (Eve), an organization dedicated to empowering women economically. Kishwar Naheed has also held the position of Director General of the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA).
In recognition of her contributions, she has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2000. Her poetry has been translated into several languages, including English, French, and Italian. Oxford University Press has not only published her original 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], and ‘The Culture and Civilization of Pakistan’).
In 2022, the Government of Pakistan honoured her with the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the second-highest civilian award, in recognition of her exceptional contributions to literature.
Maham Ali is a communications specialist based in Islamabad, Pakistan who has been working in the development sector for the last 10 years. Maham started her career as the coordinator of the largest learning festival for children in Pakistan, the Children’s Literature Festival, and went on to become its first Chief Executive Officer. After CLF, Maham joined the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority as a Media and Public Relations Consultant. In her role as such, she worked with various national media houses to develop reporting policies and strategies aimed at strengthening ethical and sensitive journalism and reporting, with special regard to gender and harassment issues. Maham is also the founding member of the first modern, contemporary and interactive Science Centre of the country in Karachi, The Dawood Foundation’s MagnifiScience Centre which is designed to provide hands-on learning experiences to people of all ages and backgrounds. Apart from her professional work, Maham is known for raising her voice for various issues in her personal capacity. Maham has always been vocal against extremism and radicalisation and is one of the first people to start a campaign to financially support those affected by terrorism. From being a young student leader during the lawyers’ movement in Pakistan to fundraising for the victims of the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, the victims of the 2009 floods in Pakistan, the family of Mashal Khan, a young student who was lynched to death by his class fellows, the parents of Qandeel Baloch, a social media star who was killed by her brother in an honour killing and supporting the survivors of Army Public School, the child abuse survivors of Kasur, female students from Swat, religious minorities accused of blasphemy, and many other similar initiatives, Maham also assists and provides moral, financial and logistical support in cases of domestic violence and abuse, coordinating with survivors and their families and with relevant state authorities to ensure their safety and ability to be removed from abusive environments.
Maleeha Lodhi has served as Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York, the first woman to represent Pakistan at the UN. She twice served as Pakistan’s 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 a hundred 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. She is the author of two books: ‘Pakistan’s Encounter with Democracy’ (1994) and ‘Pakistan: Internal and External Challenges’ (2004). She also edited a volume titled ‘Pakistan: Beyond the ‘Crisis State,’ published by OUP.
Mavra Bari is a writer, sociologist, journalist, and communications specialist who believes in the power of words to express complex thoughts, phenomena, and feelings in a rapidly changing world. Through various mediums, lenses, and perspectives, she comprehensively examines the micro and macro aspects of everyday life and socio-economic environments, catering to diverse audiences. In her work, she utilizes language and storytelling as powerful tools for effecting transformative change at the individual and community level. Her creative writing has been featured in numerous publications, including The Window, Aleph Review, Shapers Toronto Magazine, Sarajevo Times, Cambridge University’s Lucy Writers Platform, Amsterdam Poetry Anthology, The Missing Slate, The Dawn, and Al-Hamara Publishing. Mavra holds an Undergraduate Degree in English Literature and Sociology from the University of Toronto and a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Amsterdam. During her university years, her writing primarily focused on transnational and post-colonial identities, resulting in extensive poetry, essays, and prose about hyphenated identity, exile, and the loss of home and language. She is currently working on a series of essays on resource equity in the climate crisis and a prose-poetry hybrid collection of creative non-fiction. You can find Mavra sharing her words on Instagram @mavra.writes and tweeting @mavrabari.
Mina Malik is an Oxford-trained poet, writer and editor at The Peepul Press, the publishing house she co-founded in 2023. Mina has had poems published in Rowayat, Vallum and other literary publications around the world, and was longlisted for the Briefly Poetry Prize in 2022. Mina is the Prose Editor at The Aleph Review and is represented in the UK by Peters Fraser Dunlop.
Moeed W. Yusuf
Moeed W. Yusuf serves as the Vice Chancellor of Beaconhouse National University, Pakistan’s first not-for-profit liberal arts college, making him one of the youngest individuals to have headed a university in Pakistan. Previously, he held the position of National Security Adviser (NSA) and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan with the rank of Federal Minister. He is credited with leading the formulation of Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy during his tenure. Before his government service, Yusuf spent several years in the United States, where he was the Associate Vice President of the Asia center at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC. He also worked at the Brookings Institution and held positions at Boston University and Harvard Kennedy School. In 2007, he co-founded Strategic and Economic Policy Research, a private sector consultancy firm in Pakistan. He has consulted for various prestigious institutions, including the UNDP, Asian Development Bank, and World Bank. Moeed Yusuf has taught political science at Boston University and George Washington University in the USA, as well as at Lahore University of Management Sciences and Quaid-i-Azam University in Pakistan. He has published extensively in national and international journals, professional publications, and magazines. His books include ‘Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia,’ ‘South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures,’ ‘Getting it Right in Afghanistan,’ ‘Pakistan’s Counter-terrorism Challenge,’ and ‘Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Asia: From a Peacebuilding Lens.’ Dr Yusuf is a recognized commentator and has contributed to Pakistani and international press and media on a range of topics. He holds a Master’s degree in International Relations and a PhD in Political Science from Boston University.
Moneeza Hashmi is a prominent figure in media and broadcasting, with a career spanning over four decades. She serves as a Trustee of the Faiz Foundation, dedicated to promoting the values and vision of poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Ms Hashmi made history as the first woman to hold the position of Director of Programmes at Pakistan Television (PTV) and the only female General Manager in Lahore TV’s history. She also served as the President of the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association for three consecutive terms, breaking gender-related barriers. Moneeza Hashmi’s expertise led her to work as a gender trainer and media consultant for various international organizations, including US AID, British Council, UNDP, UNICEF, UNESCO, GIZ, UNFPA, JICA, and others, contributing significantly to gender empowerment in the media. Currently, she is the Creative Media Head at the Kashf Foundation, where she continues her efforts to empower women through various media platforms. Her achievements have earned her numerous national and international awards, including the President of Pakistan’s Pride of Performance Award in 2002, particularly for her groundbreaking work in the portrayal of women in the media.
Muhammad Asim Butt
Muhammad Asim Butt, a storyteller, novelist, translator, critic, and editor, was born in Lahore. His themes often explore the existential dilemmas of modern humanity with elements of fantasy and mystique. Asim Butt holds an MA in Philosophy from Government College University, Lahore, and began his career as a journalist and human rights activist. He currently serves as the Director/Chief Editor at the Pakistan Academy of Letters, Islamabad. One of his notable works, the Urdu novel ‘Naatamaam,’ received the ‘UBL Literary Excellence Award’ and the ‘Parveen Shaker Aks e Khushbu Award’ for fiction. He has authored other novels, including ‘Daira,’ ‘Bhaid,’ and ‘Samundar.’ His book of Urdu translations, ‘Borgese Kahaanian,’ was shortlisted for the ‘UBL Literary Excellence Award’ in 2017. Muhammad Asim Butt is also skilled in writing in English and Punjabi. He has simplified the famous Persian tale ‘Qissah Chahaar Darvesh’ into English, titled ‘Story of Four Saints.’ In addition to four novels and two collections of short stories, he has published more than a dozen books of translations of world literature. His works have inspired over 27 research papers at the MA and MPhil levels in various universities and colleges. He can be contacted via email at [email protected].
Muhammad Athar Masood
Muhammad Athar Masood is a civil servant with a PhD in Persian. During his master’s studies at Government College, Lahore, he served as the editor of the literary magazine ‘The Ravi’ in 1992. He is also a classical vocalist, having learned music from renowned musicians Ustad Badar-uz-Zaman and Ustad Qamar-uz-Zaman (both Pride of Performance). He has performed on the Lahore station of Radio Pakistan. His published works include ‘Parbat ke Uss Par’ (Urdu translation of modern Persian short stories), ‘Naqsh-e-Masood’ (a compilation of his late father Amjad Masood’s calligraphic works), ‘Doyens of Subcontinental Music’ (articles on music by Rashid Malik), ‘Deewar’ and ‘Jamal Kahanian’ (Urdu translations of short stories by Iranian writer Jamal Mirsadeqi), ‘Maqalat-e-Masood’ (research articles based on Persian sources of subcontinental music), ‘Chandi Garh Tak’ (a travelogue of a visit to India), ‘Naghma-e-Qudsi’ (Ameer Meenai’s commentary on ‘Saut-ul-Mubarak’ by Wajid Ali Shah, with an introduction and explanatory notes), and ‘Hindustan ki Musiqi’ (the text of the keynote address by Abdul Haleem Sharar at the first All India Music Conference, Baroda, 1916, with an introduction and explanatory notes). He also taught at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) from 2011 to 2018. His writings on music, literature, and cultural issues appear in newspapers and research journals in Pakistan and abroad.
Muhammad Azfar Ahsan
Muhammad Azfar Ahsan is a public advocacy consultant, global outreach practitioner, business connector, and entrepreneur based out of Pakistan. He has served as Minister of State and Chairman Board of Investment (BoI), Government of Pakistan (technocrat / non-political). He is also the Founder of CORPORATE PAKISTAN GROUP (CPG), which represents the elite of Pakistan’s national intelligentsia. He is the President Marketing Association of Pakistan – an apex body of marketing in Pakistan. Azfar is the Founder & CEO of Nutshell Group, comprising Nutshell Conferences, Nutshell Solutions and Nutshell Communications. Currently he is working with the Governments of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan. Azfar is also writing a book titled ‘PAKISTAN: Charting Its Untapped Potential.’ The publication will share the ‘untold story’ of Pakistan with the world and shed light on the untapped potential of the country and its ample resources, with the objective of giving impetus to a fast-evolving geo-economic scenario, especially in the South and Central Asian regions.
Muhammad Hafeez Khan
Muhammad Hafeez Khan is a versatile figure known for his roles as a researcher, historian, critic, novelist, fiction writer, dramatist, poet, columnist, and journalist. Over 52 years, he has made significant contributions to various literary and educational fields, earning recognition in multiple professional domains. Beginning his career as a lawyer in 1980, he later transitioned to Radio Pakistan as a producer and worked as a law lecturer at the university level. He served in federal and provincial civil services, holding roles like Civil Judge, District and Sessions Judge, and Additional Secretary in the Department of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. He also served as a Member and Chairman of the Punjab Service Tribunal and taught law and literature at prestigious training institutions. Muhammad Hafeez Khan has received the Pakistan Academy of Letters Literary Award thrice, the Best Playwright Award from PTV, and the national civil award Tamgha-e-Imtiaz. He has been a jury member for the Kamal-e-Fann Award and an active member of PAL’s Publishing Committee, Translation Committee, Scholarship Committee, and the Board of Governors. His book on the Seraiki folk legend, Pathanay Khan, received the Shafqat Tanveer Mirza Award from the Punjab Institute of Language, Art, and Culture (Pilac), and he has been appointed the Book Ambassador three times by the National Book Foundation. Muhammad Hafeez Khan’s six Urdu novels, namely ‘Adh Adhure Lok,’ ‘Anwasi,’ ‘Karaknath,’ ‘Mantara,’ ‘Haider Goth Ka Bakhshan,’ and ‘Wajood,’ have gained national recognition and have been published in India. He contributed columns to newspapers like Nawa-e-Waqt, Jang, Nai Baat, and Khabrain for fifteen years. He has published over 120 issues of the English monthly current affairs magazine ‘The Competitor’ and written drama serials for Seraiki TV channels Wasib and Rohi. Two of his Seraiki novels, ‘Adh Adhure Lok’ and ‘Mar Majeone Di,’ have been published. Selections of his plays and fiction have also been published. As a prominent writer, he has delivered keynote addresses at several national and international literary conferences and represented Pakistani writers during visits to China. Muhammad Hafeez Khan’s writings are included in the literary curriculum of colleges and universities, and several MA and MPhil theses have been written on various aspects of his literary contributions.
Muhammad Izhar ul Haq
Muhammad Izhar ul Haq is a trailblazer in contemporary Urdu ghazal poetry. His debut work, ‘Diwaar-e-aab’ (1982), received the prestigious Adam Jee Award, a top literary accolade at the time. He continued his poetic journey with ‘Ghadr’ and ‘Paree-zaad’ in 1986 and 1995, respectively. His fourth book, ‘Paani peh Bichaa Takht,’ was honoured with the Allama Iqbal Award in 2003. His latest poetry collection, ‘Ay Asman neechay utar,’ was published this year. In addition to his poetic prowess, Muhammad Izhar ul Haq has authored three prose books: ‘Talkh Nawaai,’ ‘Meri Wafaat,’ and ‘Ashiq mast Jalali.’ Furthermore, he is a prominent columnist, addressing socio-economic, political, and literary matters in major national dailies, equally adept in English. For his outstanding contributions to literature, he received the Pride of Performance award from the President of Pakistan on 23 March 2009.
Muhammad Zaman Sagar
Muhammad Zaman Sagar holds the position of Executive Director at the Gawri Community Development Programme in Kalam/Islamabad since 2004. Additionally, he has been actively involved with the Forum for Language Initiatives in Islamabad since 2004, holding various roles and currently serving as a Consultant for Language Development. Sagar’s expertise lies primarily in the field of sociolinguistics, with a particular focus on Community-Based Language Development (CBLD). His experience extends to training and facilitating Mother Tongue-based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE) since 2006. Moreover, he has conducted numerous workshops on orthography and phonetics, offering guidance in writers’ workshops. In Pakistan, he is a dedicated advocate and lobbyist for language rights and education policies related to language. You can follow him on Twitter using the handle: @zamansagar.
Muneeza Shamsie is an author and literary figure with significant contributions to Pakistani literature in English. She is the author of ‘Hybrid Tapestries: The Development of Pakistani Literature in English’ and the editor of the forthcoming ‘In the New Century: An Anthology of Pakistani Literature in English’. She received the Gold IPPY and Bronze Awards in the US for the American edition of her anthology ‘And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women’. She has also contributed memoir essays to leading publications. Muneeza Shamsie serves as Area Editor for the online Literary Encyclopedia, Bibliographic Representative (Pakistan) for ‘The Journal of Commonwealth Literature’, and is a member of the Advisory Boards of ‘The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, and the International Centre of Pakistani Writing in English, Kinnaird College. She has served on the jury of several literary prizes and was regional chair (Eurasia) of the Commonwealth Writers Prize 2009-2011. She resides in Karachi and writes for the Pakistani press.
Dr Naazir Mahmood is a columnist, educator, and film critic with a special interest in history, international relations, and literature. He has translated 12 books from English to Urdu on diverse subjects. His collection of essays, ‘Politics, Pictures, Personalities’ (Badalti Dunya Publications, 2018), and ‘Pen and Politic: Resistance in Pakistan’ (Vanguard Books, 2020), have attracted wide attention. His latest books, ‘Cinema Cinema’ in English and ‘Cinema Kahani’ in Urdu, have been published by Aaj Publications and Mashaal Books, respectively. He is a regular contributor to major English and Urdu newspapers, including Dawn, The News, and Jang, and appears on TV as an analyst.
Nadeem Hussain is one of Asia’s leading social impact entrepreneurs, technology investors, and financial inclusion pioneers. He is the founder of Telenor Microfinance Bank (formerly Tameer Microfinance Bank), lauded by the World Bank as one of the most socially impactful banks in its field. Its EasyPaisa offering is the world’s second-largest branchless banking payments solutions. Nadeem’s subsequent venture Planet N Group is an emerging markets, social impact, and technology investment firm with portfolio companies in Pakistan, Egypt, and the UAE. He previously spent 27 years at Citigroup in eight countries in regional management within commercial, consumer, retail and investment banking. Nadeem is a global authority on Financial Inclusion and Development through Digitisation and is globally recognized for his dedication and service to financial inclusion. He is a Board Member of State Bank of Pakistan; Steering Committee, National Financial Inclusion Program, Government of Pakistan and on the advisory board of Institute of Business Administration; NUST; and Financial Inclusion partner of CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor).
Nadeem ul Haque
Dr Nadeem ul Haque is currently the Vice Chancellor of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Quaid-e-Azam University Campus, Islamabad. He also served as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of Pakistan. Apart from his extensive work in Pakistan, Nadeem ul Haque worked for the International Monetary Fund for 24 years. During his long and illustrious affiliation with the IMF, he implemented public structure reform in Sri Lanka and worked with two central banks to organize a modernization effort, which included improvements in the monetary framework and the policy formulation process. Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque is also a published author with five books and over fifty articles in various publications to his credit.
Prof. Dr Najeeba Arif is an eminent scholar, creative writer, critic and researcher. Her major field of specialization is Archival Research. She has discovered, edited and published about a dozen manuscripts of eighteenth and nineteenth century. She also founded the first Indexation Agency for the Urdu Research Journals at International Islamic University, Islamabad and has been the editor of renowned research journals of Pakistan. She has been invited to several universities in Europe and USA to present her research. Some of her works in the field of Criticism are of pioneer nature, including her research on the Impact of 9/11 on Pakistani Urdu Fiction and the Impact of Colonialism on Sirah literature in Urdu. Sufi literature has been another field of her interest. Besides her research in Sufi literature, she has translated ‘Qaseeda Burda Shareef’ from Arabic into Urdu verse as well as a voluminous book on Science, Mysticism and the Concept of Allah from English to Urdu. Her collection of Urdu poetry ‘Ma’ani se Ziyada’ won the Award of the Best book of the year in 2015. Her poetry is being taught at the Ankara University, Turkey. Her other creative works include a book of memoirs, titled ‘Raagni ki Khoj Main’, a collection of short stories ‘Meethay Nalkay’, a novel, ‘Makhota’, travel writings and light essays. She writes in Urdu and English and knows Persian, Arabic and Punjabi. She has authored 17 books and published more than 60 articles in national and international journals. Currently she is serving as the Chairperson of Pakistan Academy of Letters, Islamabad.
Nasir Abbas Nayyar
Nasir Abbas Nayyar, a scholar, author, and short story writer, has made significant contributions to Urdu literature. He formerly served as the Director General of the Urdu Science Board in Lahore and is currently a Professor of Urdu at the University of the Punjab, Lahore. He also holds the honorary editorship of LUMS’ research journal, ‘Bunyaad’. Dr Nayyar’s impact on Urdu literature is profound. His book ‘Mabad Nauabadiyat: Urdu kay Tanzur men’ (OUP, 2013) played a pivotal role in introducing postcolonial studies to Urdu literature. His work ‘Urdu Adab ki Tashkeel e Jadid’ (OUP, 2016) not only won the Best Urdu Book Prize at KLF 2017 but also received the prestigious Baba-e-Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq Award 2016 for Urdu prose from the Pakistan Academy of Letters. Furthermore, his book ‘Us Ko Ik Shakhs Samjhna to Munasib hi Nahi’ (OUP, 2017) was honoured with the UBL Literary Prize 2019 in the non-fiction category, solidifying his reputation as a leading figure in Urdu literature. Dr Nayyar’s book ‘Nazm Kaisay Parhain’ is groundbreaking in its exploration of this genre in Urdu literature. With his fourth collection of short stories, ‘Aik Zamana Khatam Howa Hae,’ and his insightful work in ‘Jadeediat aur Nauabadiyat’ (OUP, 2021), Dr Nayyar has delved into the complex relationship between modernity and colonialism. His recent publication, ‘Naiy Naqqad kah Naam Khatoot,’ continues to showcase his literary prowess. In addition to his books, Dr Nayyar regularly contributes thought-provoking articles on literary issues to renowned publications such as The News and Dawn. His influence on Urdu literature is both extensive and enduring.
Nasira Zuberi is a journalist and media professional with extensive experience in both print and electronic journalism. Throughout her career, she has contributed her expertise to organizations such as Business Recorder, Aaj News, Geo News, and NewsOne. She is a columnist for Independent Urdu and Humsub. Nasira Zuberi holds the distinction of being the only female journalist who successfully launched two news channels, Aaj News and NewsOne. Her leadership roles include serving as the former Controller News at Aaj TV, Director News at NewsOne, and Editor of the Business Desk at Geo News. In addition to her contributions to journalism, Nasira Zuberi is an author, with three published collections of poetry: ‘Shagoon,’ ‘Kaanch ka Charaagh,’ and ‘Teesra Qadam.’ Her fourth book will soon be available in the market. Throughout her professional journey, she has had the privilege of traveling to various countries and participating in prominent conferences worldwide, further enriching her global perspective and insights.
Omar Shahid Hamid
As part of the Karachi Police’s Counter Terrorism department, Omar Shahid Hamid has survived being ambushed by gangsters, implicated by colleagues in a false case, and, as CID chief, barely escaped the bombing of his office by the Pakistani Taliban. In 2011, following an attack on his office by the Pakistani Taliban, he took a five-year sabbatical to write books and worked as a Political Risk Consultant. In 2016, Omar returned to active duty as a Counter Terrorism Officer. He has been widely quoted and regularly featured in several publications including ‘The New York Times’, ‘USA Today’, ‘The Wall Street Journal’, ‘The Times’, ‘Le Monde’, Reuters, CNN, and BBC. His first novel, ’The Prisoner’ (2013), was longlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2015 and is now being adapted for a feature film. His second novel ‘The Spinner’s Tale’ (2015) won the 2016 Karachi Literature Festival Prize. He received the award again for his third novel ’The Party Worker’ (2017) at the Karachi Literature Festival in 2018 which is now being adapted for a TV series. His fourth book, ’The Fix’, explores the world of cricket match fixing. His fifth book ‘Betrayal’ is a spy thriller based in a regional cold war in South Asia.
Pritam Das Rathi
Pritam Das Rathi, a retired civil servant residing in Islamabad, has a career history spanning 30 years in the government sector. Beyond his government service, he has also been an advocate for the Hindu community in Islamabad. As the President of the Islamabad Hindu Panchayat for two years, he worked to uplift and empower his community. One of his contributions is the construction of the Shamshan Ghat, a sacred site for the Hindu community, and a Community Centre, fostering unity and collaboration among its members. Mr Rathi’s dedication to public service and his commitment to the well-being of his community make him an inspiring figure.
Raja Changez Sultan
A poet and a painter of international repute, Raja Changez Sultan is a native of Shakarparian, Islamabad. He received his early education from Lawrence College, Ghora Gali, Pakistan. Thereafter he studied at the Royal Shrewsbury School in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England and proceeded on to the United States. He holds an honorary Doctorate in the Arts from Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. USA. for his lifelong contribution to the arts (poetry and painting). Besides, he also holds an MFA in Creative Writing and an MSc in Journalism, both from Columbia University, NY, NY, USA. He won the Henry Taylor Gold Medal while at the Journalism School there and was one of 4 student poets selected from the State of Connecticut in 1971 to give a series of poetry reading at various colleges and universities across the State. After a brief stint with the United Nations in Switzerland, he joined the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation before ending up as the Director General of The Pakistan National Council of the Arts. He has travelled extensively in the United States, Europe, China, and the Far East, as well as Pakistan. As a painter he has held over 60 solo and group exhibitions of his work in Pakistan, England, Switzerland, Austria, India and in the Middle East. The following are his published books of poetry thus far: ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Nomad’, ‘The Death Of Indifference And Other Poems,’ ‘Shakarparian’, and The Himalayan Odyssey. Besides 5 other books that are under publication, over the past 15 years, he has also combined efforts with Raja Reza Sultan to write 5 volumes of poetry comprising 1200 pages on almost every endangered or threatened animal in the world. This body of work is unique in that no one in the history of English Literature has written so much poetry dedicated to the cause of promoting awareness and knowledge of animals in distress in a cruel and uncaring world. Through other means of communications, a lot of people have done wonders in this field, but not in literature specifically, and certainly not in English Poetry on this large a magnitude.
Saba Gul Khattak
Saba Gul Khattak is an independent researcher and holds a PhD in Political Science. She has served in senior positions in the government and non-government sectors. Saba’s research and policy work focuses on the intersections of gender, governance, structural and direct violence, development and human rights.
Safinah Danish Elahi
Safinah Danish Elahi is a multifaceted professional, novelist, poet, and trained as a lawyer. She is also the visionary founder of Reverie Publishers, a celebrated independent press. Among her literary accomplishments are two remarkable works: ‘The Unbridled Romance of Love and Pain,’ a poetry collection, and ‘Eye on the Prize,’ a novel that has made its way onto television screens as a drama series. Her novel, ‘The Idle Stance of the Tippler Pigeon,’ was published in July 2023 by Neem Tree Press in the UK. Safinah was selected as the official nominee from Pakistan for the prestigious International Writers’ Fall Residency 2022 at the University of Iowa, USA, where she participated as a distinguished fellow in the program.
Saima Anwer has over two decades of wide-ranging experience in the education sector. She has worked in the development sector in senior leadership and advisory positions with reputed international organizations in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Since 2014 she has been working with the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (UKAID) in Pakistan leading UK Government support to education in Pakistan and providing policy leadership and technical and operational support to education programs. She has worked extensively in the areas of education policy and governance, inclusive education, and teacher professional development, and is a passionate advocate for all children’s right to a quality education.
Saira Aquil is an assistant professor in the Department of Defence & Strategic Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University. She is the author of ‘Destined to Fail: Democracy and State Building Experiment in Post-Taliban Afghanistan,’ published by Oxford University Press, Karachi. With two decades of experience in teaching and research at Quaid-i-Azam University, Dr Aqil’s research focuses on civil-military relations, state and nation building in conflict-affected societies, narratives and conflict resolution, international security, and regional stability, with a specific emphasis on China, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. She has published her research work in both national and international journals and has been involved in curriculum development for BS, MPhil, and PhD programs within her department. Dr Aqil also had the privilege of presenting her study on ‘Exploring the Linkage between Civil-Military Relations and Economic Developments in Conflict Zones: Darra Adamkhel on the Front Line’ at the WISC Fourth Global International Studies Conference held at Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany.
Sajjad Azhar is a journalist with extensive experience in investigative reporting covering subjects including the economy, counterterrorism, culture, and heritage. He is currently affiliated with Independent Urdu. Since 1994, he has contributed to numerous national and international newspapers and periodicals, producing a wide range of reports, interviews, documentaries, and features. In addition to his latest work, ‘Rawal Raj,’ he is the author of an Urdu-language book titled ‘Do Wattan’ (Two Homelands), which delves into the lives of the Pakistani Diaspora in the United Kingdom. In 2021, he published a poetry book, ‘Landi Kotal Ki Laltain,’ which explores the conflicts within Pakistan through verses. Notably, in the same year, he was honoured with the ‘Agahi Award’ in the category of Extremism & Terrorism, earning him the title of Journalist of the Year.
Sajjad Hussain, a University of Engineering & Technology Lahore graduate, served as a Professional Engineer in various organizations. In 1998, he established his consultancy service, where he served as the Managing Partner until his retirement in 2016. Apart from his engineering career, he has a profound interest in literature, both in English and Urdu. In collaboration with Dr A.H. Jafri, he undertook the task of creating an e-book for the renowned Urdu novel ‘Aag ka Darya.’ This involved compiling a comprehensive glossary of non-Urdu words, including their meanings and pronunciations. Footnotes have also been thoughtfully incorporated as needed. The e-book is currently in its final stages of development.
Salma Ahmed Alam
Salma Ahmed Alam is a teacher by her professional qualification and is presently the CEO of Durbeen, a non-profit organization that is striving to raise the bar of public schools in Pakistan. Salma started her education career at the S.M.B. Fatima Jinnah government school in Karachi, where she volunteered with Zindagi Trust for 4 years. After graduating from Harvard University in 2013, Salma spent two years consulting with the World Bank. In 2016, after returning from Singapore with a primary teaching qualification, Salma was appointed as the CEO of Durbeen, to lead a public-private partnership in the Government Elementary College of Teacher Education, Hussainabad in Karachi. She currently retains this position and also teaches mathematics B.Ed. courses at the College.
Salma Malik holds a PhD in International Relations and serves as an Associate Professor at the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) in Islamabad, Pakistan. Additionally, she oversees the External Linkages directorate for the university. Her expertise lies in Conflict and Security Studies, as well as South Asian Affairs. Dr Malik is an alumna of Uppsala University, Sweden, and the Asia Pacific Center for Strategic Studies (APCSS) in Hawaii. She actively participates in various forums, including the Regional Center for Strategic Studies, Consortium of South Asian Think Tanks, Social Sciences Research Council, WISCOMP, and WDN-USA. Before joining QAU, she worked as a Research Officer at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, Pakistan, from June 1996 to August 1999. Her publications encompass an edited volume titled ‘Pakistan’s Security Problems and Challenges in the Next Decade’ (October 2015), RCSS Policy Studies on ‘Small Arms and the Security Debate in South Asia,’ a co-authored study with USIP on ‘Mapping Conflict Trends in Pakistan,’ as well as articles in research journals, book chapters, and monthly columns.
Samar Minallah Khan
Samar Minallah Khan, an anthropologist and filmmaker, is a dedicated advocate for the rights of women and children. She utilizes culture, truck art, and filmmaking to address critical issues and drive positive change. With an MPhil degree in Anthropology and Development from the University of Cambridge, Samar combines her academic expertise with a profound passion for culture, indigenous folk art, film, and folk music. Samar has played a pivotal role in raising awareness about harmful cultural practices, resulting in the prohibition of compensation marriages in Pakistan. Her groundbreaking efforts in the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2004 were instrumental in outlawing Swara, a form of compensation child marriage. Her innovative use of truck art to tackle social issues exemplifies her creativity. Collaborating with a team of truck artists and owners, she has transformed ordinary trucks into moving billboards adorned with images of empowered girls pursuing education, disseminating important messages in remote regions of Pakistan. Samar’s work has garnered international recognition, with the media referring to her as ‘The Savior of Soul’ (Dawn), ‘Women Who Rock the World’ (Newsweek), ‘The Crusader with the Camera’ (The Friday Times), and ‘A Vital Voice’ (Express Tribune). Her documentary film, ‘Outswing,’ has received over 15 international awards at film festivals.
Sameena Nazir is an entomologist, theatre, film and TV actor, playwright, producer, traveller and author of two novels Kallo and Siyaah Heeray.
Sanober Nazir is a multifaceted individual, serving as a writer, activist, and proprietor of the Swaang theatre group. Her wide range of interests includes a strong dedication to advancing women’s empowerment, addressing minority concerns in Pakistan, and promoting cultural unity among local communities. Holding a Master’s degree in history and boasting numerous certifications in disability studies, she has also held roles as a program officer at two NGOs, gaining valuable experience in project oversight. Presently, she contributes articles on a regular basis to Deutsche Welle (DW) Urdu and WE News, with occasional contributions to Hum Sab.
Saquib Ahmad is the Managing Director for SAP in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan, a leading enterprise application software company. Since joining SAP in 2017, Saquib has led remarkable growth in Pakistan, surpassing targets, and fostering local talent to drive digital transformation in both the public and private sectors. With nearly 24 years of experience in the Information Technology and Telecommunications industry, Saquib’s expertise lies in innovation and delivering business value to customers. Prior to SAP, he served as Director of Sales & Business Development for Oracle, where he introduced new applications and strengthened client relationships in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He also held the position of Country Director, Pakistan and Afghanistan, at Comptel, optimizing sales, partner strategies, and business operations. Saquib initiated his career at Nokia-Siemens, where he advanced to the role of Director of Sales for the Middle East. Saquib holds an MBA and a Bachelor’s degree in Telecommunication and Electronics from the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore. His academic excellence was acknowledged with the Aizza-e-Sabqat presidential award by the President of Pakistan. Additionally, he completed the LEAP Programme of Business Administration & Management at INSEAD, France.
Sarmad Sultan Khoosat
Sarmad Sultan Khoosat, a pioneering Pakistani director, actor, producer, and screenwriter, boasts a distinguished career spanning over 25 years. Throughout his journey, Sarmad has led some of Pakistan’s most celebrated projects in film, television, and theatre, including ‘Humsafar’, ‘Manto’, ‘Zindagi Tamasha’, and ‘Kamli’.
In the realm of film, Sarmad has played a pivotal role in rejuvenating Pakistani cinema and nurturing local talent. In 2016, he established Khoosat Films, an independent Pakistani production house that has produced groundbreaking films like ‘Kami’, ‘Joyland’, and ‘Zindagi Tamasha’. These films made history by winning top prizes at esteemed film festivals such as Busan, Cannes, and others worldwide, firmly establishing Pakistani cinema on the global stage. Notably, Khoosat Films’ productions were selected as Pakistan’s official entries to the Oscars in both 2021 and 2022.
On the television front, Sarmad has contributed to over 50 projects, delivering immensely popular and genre-defining serials like ‘Humsafar’, ‘Shashlik’, ‘Aakhri Station’, ‘Jalpari’, and ‘Shehr-e-Zaat’, among others.
In the domain of theatre, Sarmad has engaged in various projects, including a record-breaking 24-hour non-stop live performance for The Justice Project Pakistan’s ‘No Time to Sleep,’ which was streamed live in the EU Parliament.
Beyond his professional work, Sarmad has made significant contributions to society, actively participating in academia, charity, and more. Locally, he is involved in teaching and curating art and literature festivals. Internationally, he has represented Pakistan at prestigious global universities and cultural festivals, spanning the UK, New York, Singapore, and Delhi.
Sarmad’s contributions to society extend to collaborations with various organizations, such as PTV, Radio Pakistan, PNCA, UN, British Council, WWF, and ISPR, where he has designed film curriculums, celebrated national defence heroes, and supported charitable initiatives like SKMCH. He exemplifies a model Pakistani citizen, leading by example with his responsible and conscientious approach to art. His groundbreaking projects, including ‘Manto’, ‘Aakhri Station’, and ‘Zindagi Tamasha’, delve into important social themes and promote tolerance.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to Pakistan’s film and TV industry, Sarmad was honoured with the Pride of Performance Medal in 2016 and Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2023.
Sarwat Mohiuddin, a poet, translator, painter, and prose writer in Punjabi, English, and Urdu languages, was born in Lahore, Pakistan. She holds a master’s degree in Punjabi literature from the University of the Punjab. Author of nine books, including poetry, travelogues, translations, and children’s stories, Sarwat has to her credit numerous papers on the life and works of great Sufi poets of Punjab, the portrayal of women in classical literature, the legends of Punjab, the relevance of folk songs in society, contemporary Punjabi poetry, Punjabi culture, and folk traditions. She is a visiting lecturer at various national and international institutes and universities. Sarwat has also represented Pakistan at numerous conferences and seminars both nationally and internationally and has been honoured with several awards and distinctions. She is a member of the Pakistan Punjabi Literary Board, Vice President of the Pak-Hungarian Friendship Association, Book Ambassador of the National Book Foundation, and a former Executive Chairperson of the Literary group of ASG (Asian Study Group of Islamabad).
Saud Mukhtar works in the developmental sector and has 23 years of experience spanning the financial, engineering, and consulting sectors with both national and multinational organizations. He has spent his entire life in Islamabad and has witnessed the city’s evolution over the years. His mother’s family was among the first few families to relocate from Karachi to Islamabad when it became the capital in the early 1960s. Saud holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from UET and an MBA from LUMS. His book, ‘Dandelion Blooms,’ serves as anecdotal evidence of Islamabad’s transformation over the years, drawing from stories shared by his mother and other residents of the city. He is committed to improving not only Islamabad but also other cities, striving to make them better places for all to live.
Sehyr Mirza is an author and an independent journalist. Her work encompasses narratives that explore themes such as memory, shared histories, loss, and nostalgia. Her areas of writing cover socio-political issues, South Asian affairs, and art and culture. Her debut book, titled ‘The Other in the Mirror,’ is a collection of short fiction published by Yoda Press in India and Folio Books in Pakistan. This book is a unique literary compilation of short stories that delve into the ongoing impacts of the Partition of India. As the recipient of the Women Waging Peace Award, Sehyr has been awarded fellowships at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, the Swedish Institute, and the Rajeev Circle Fellowship in San Francisco. Her work as a journalist has been featured in publications such as Deutsche Welle, BBC, Himal Southasian, Dawn, The News International, Huffington Post, The Wire, Scroll, Viewpoint, and Outlook India. She has reported on features from India, Nepal, the USA, Germany, France, and Sweden. Sehyr is also the co-founder of SAMAAJ, a cultural non-profit organization that utilizes creative mediums to advocate for issues related to conflict, justice, and gender. She holds a degree in English Literature from Goldsmiths, University of London.
Senator Sherry Rehman
Sherry Rehman is Chair of the Climate and Environment Caucus of the Senate of Pakistan, former Federal Minister of Climate Change, first woman Opposition Leader in the Senate of Pakistan, and Vice President of Pakistan Peoples Pakistan. She is the Founding Chair of the Jinnah Institute, a fourth-term Parliamentarian, diplomat, journalist, and civil society activist.
Rehman has also served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States and Federal Information Minister while holding three additional portfolios as Minister for Health, Women and Culture. She was also Chair of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee and Chair of the Pakistan Red Crescent. She is a member of the Global Futures Council at the World Economic Forum.
A former editor of the ‘Herald’ news magazine, Rehman is also an award-winning journalist with 20 years of experience in both the broadcast and print media. Rehman was ranked among 100 most influential people of 2023 by TIME and named among 25 most influential women of 2022 by Financial Times, she currently features on the Forbes 50 List for women achievers for 2023 in Asia, while the Washington Post named her one of the top ten global movers and shakers to watch at COP27 for her climate diplomacy. She was identified as one of the Top Global Thinkers of 2011 by Foreign Policy magazine, she was cover-titled by Newsweek Pakistan as ‘Pakistan’s Most Important Woman’.
She has received several awards including the title of Democracy’s Hero; The Freedom Award for her work for media independence; the International Peace Award for Democrats; the Jeanne Kirkpatrick Award for Women; and Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Nishan-e-Imtiaz.
Rehman, a former editor of the ‘Herald’ news magazine in Pakistan, is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in both broadcast and print media. She co-wrote ‘Five Hundred Years of The Kashmiri Shawl,’ and her latest book, ‘Womansplaining,’ explores modernity, politics, and activism in Pakistan through the voices of 22 women activists, leaders, and academics.
Dr Shahid Mahmud is the CEO and Chairman of Interactive Group of Companies in Islamabad, Pakistan. His expertise lies in the fields of computer science and artificial intelligence. Dr Mahmud, with over 33 years of experience, founded and leads Interactive Group, contributing significantly to the progress of telecommunications, information technology, and wireless media infrastructure in Pakistan.
He earned a PhD in Computer Sciences from Coventry University, United Kingdom, a Master’s degree in Defense and Strategic Studies from the National Defence University in Pakistan, and a Bachelor’s in Engineering from NED University, Pakistan. Dr Mahmud’s focus is on addressing society’s critical needs through systems integration and optimized connectivity to support health, education, and public safety.
Additionally, he is the Co-Founder of ‘Foresight Lab,’ a collaborative initiative between AGAHI, a non-governmental organization, and the Interactive Group of Companies. The lab’s goal is to advance policymaking and strategic narratives in crucial areas by engaging lawmakers, policymakers, academia, and society and promoting a Futures Index in the country.
Dr Mahmud serves as a Senior Fellow at the Global Think Tank Network (GTTN) and is the Co-chair for ICT on the Corporate Advisory Council (CAC) of the National University of Science and Technology (NUST). He is currently involved in Foresight Studies with various universities.
In recognition of his contributions to and promotion of Pakistan’s ICT industry, Dr Mahmud has received numerous awards and has been honoured as a Distinguished Fellow by Eisenhower Fellowships. Beyond his professional roles, he is an enthusiastic entrepreneur, futurist, philanthropist for health and youth-oriented projects, and an avid mountaineer.
A native of Tharparkar, Sindh, Shahzad Sharjeel grew up in Karachi. He holds a postgraduate degree in International Relations from the University of Karachi and has also pursued studies at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston. Sharjeel is actively involved in teaching subjects such as International Political Economy, Social Policy, and Development Communication at both public and private universities. He has also taught at his alma mater, the University of Karachi. Beginning his career in journalism, Sharjeel worked for two of Pakistan’s most widely read English-language newspapers. He is a regular contributor to Dawn, Pakistan’s leading newspaper. Transitioning to the field of development, he has dedicated over two decades to this sector. His work has taken him to various locations, including Karachi, Islamabad, the USA, Nigeria, and Japan, where he engaged in development-related and diplomatic fields. In terms of creative expression, Sharjeel’s preferred genres are ghazal in poetry and satire in prose. He published his collection of Urdu poetry titled ‘Kiyun’ in 2008. His latest book, ‘Rindana,’ is a collection of satire and humorous essays in Urdu.
Sultan Nasir is a poet, author, and civil servant. In 2020, he published a collection of poems titled ‘Kahin Nahin.’ Additionally, he has authored three biographies: ‘Shaheed-e-Ishq’ in 2013, ‘Seerat-e-Noor’ in 2016, and ‘Khaza’in-e-Faqr’ in 2021, which received the Abasin Literary Award for research/translation. These biographies primarily delve into topics such as Sufi thought, history, culture, religion, and post-colonialism. His essays on literary criticism have been published in several journals. In 2017, he compiled ‘Kulliyat-e-Syed Mubarik Shah.’ Furthermore, he has written a dissertation on Joseph Conrad’s novel ‘Heart of Darkness.’ However, he considers his Urdu poems to be the most genuine reflection of his essence. Sultan Nasir, a direct descendant of the Sufi poet Sultan Bahoo, holds a profound interest in the poetic traditions of Persian, Punjabi, Saraiki, Urdu, and English. He is also an alumnus of the Humphrey program at Syracuse University, New York, USA.
Swaang Theatre Company
Swaang Theatre Company, established in Islamabad in 2020 by two sisters, Sanober Naazir and Kanwal Ajmal, aims to promote art, culture, scriptwriting, and various theatrical activities in the twin cities of Pakistan. It provides a platform for emerging talents to showcase and develop their skills as a stepping stone to higher achievements in the performing arts. The scarcity of theatrical activities in Islamabad and Rawalpindi has created a void that Swaang Theatre seeks to fill to the best of its abilities. The sisters leading this initiative have a history of involvement in the country’s social and cultural activities. Sanober previously collaborated with the Dastak Theatre Group in Karachi during the early 90s and currently writes blogs for HumSub, DW, and WENews. She remains actively engaged in the social and cultural scene of the capital city. The other sister, Kanwal, is a graphic designer, painter, stage actor, and DA. Swaang Theatre has successfully staged five plays and three short skits for various organizations. The company’s overarching goal is to revive classical world literature through its theatrical productions.
Syed Irfan Ashraf
Syed Irfan Ashraf holds a PhD in Mass Communication and Media Arts from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, United States. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Journalism & Mass Communication at the University of Peshawar, Pakistan. Ashraf’s career began with positions at The Frontier Post in Peshawar, Nawa-i-Waqt in Islamabad, and The News in Rawalpindi, following his journalism degree from the University of Peshawar in 1997. In 2002, he briefly served as the Media Manager at Pakistan Telecommunication (PTCL) in Peshawar before transitioning to teaching public relations at the University of Peshawar. Subsequently, he joined Dawn News, an English TV station in Peshawar, as a local reporter, covering the evolving ‘war on terror’ that shifted from ex-FATA to Swat, an emerging hub for al-Qaida’s international terrorism post-2006. He also worked as a fixer for various foreign news networks, including the NYT. After four years of field reporting, he pursued his doctorate in the United States while continuing to contribute to Dawn’s Op-ed section. In 2014, he received the Mirror Award for his outstanding criticism of legacy media from Syracuse University. Ashraf co-produced an award-winning documentary titled ‘Class Dismissed’ on Malala. Following the completion of his PhD in 2018, he resumed teaching as an Assistant Professor at the University of Peshawar, Pakistan. His book, ‘The Dark Side of News Fixing: The Culture and Political Economy of Global Media in Pakistan and Afghanistan,’ was published by Anthem Press in 2022 and subsequently republished in paperback by Folio Press with the title, ‘The Dark Side of Journalism.’ He can be contacted at [email protected].
Tabassum Malihabadi is a well-known personality, who has made significant contributions to the literary world as a poet, writer, columnist, and event organizer. She is the granddaughter of the renowned poet Josh Malihabadi and is also the founding chairperson of the Josh Memorial Committee. Tabassum Malihabadi actively participates in poetry, public speaking, and column writing, and has been part of various domestic, national, and international events. Her poetry mainly revolves around themes of romance, religion, solitude, and peace, making her a prominent voice in the literary community.
Taha Kehar is a novelist, journalist, and literary critic. A law graduate from SOAS, London, Kehar is the author of three novels: ‘No Funeral for Nazia’ (2023), ‘Typically Tanya’ (2018), and ‘Of Rift and Rivalry’ (2014). He is also the co-editor of ‘The Stained-Glass Window: Stories of the Pandemic from Pakistan’ (2020). Kehar has served as the head of The Express Tribune’s Peshawar city pages and bi-monthly books page, and he worked as an assistant editor on the op-ed desk at The News. His essays, reviews, and commentaries have been published in The News on Sunday, The Wire, The Hindu, and South Asia magazine. His short fiction has appeared in the Delhi-based quarterly ‘The Equator Line,’ ‘The Aleph Review,’ the biannual journal ‘Pakistani Literature,’ and the OUP anthology ‘I’ll Find My Way.’ Two of his short stories appeared in an anthology titled ‘The Banyan and Her Roots,’ which was edited by the British writer Jad Adams. In 2016, he guest-edited an issue of ‘The Equator Line’ titled ‘Pakistan: After the Stereotypes,’ which focused on new writing from Pakistan. He has also penned entries on the works of Khaled Hosseini, Zeeba Sadiq, Aamer Hussein, Moni Mohsin, and Omar Shahid Hamid for ‘The Literary Encyclopedia.’ Kehar curates ‘Tales from Karachi,’ an Instagram e-anthology that publishes flash fiction from and about Karachi. In 2021, he compiled and edited the first print anthology of the initiative. Based in Karachi, he teaches undergraduate media and social science courses.
Tahmina Aziz Ayub
Tahmina Aziz Ayub, better known as Poonam Ayub, spent her school years in Karachi, Islamabad, and Rome. She pursued her postgraduate studies at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and the University of Sussex, UK. In her later professional life, she worked with national and international NGOs, as well as the United Nations, with a primary focus on gender issues and family health and welfare. Later, she married a diplomat and lived in various parts of the world, including Rome, Cairo, Nepal, New York, and The Hague. This led to breaks in her own career, during which she pursued her interests in travel, yoga, trekking, and, eventually, writing. She had the unique opportunity to co-author the biography of an exceptional individual whose life bridged two cultures and countries—Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali, the wife of Pakistan’s first Prime Minister. This work was launched at the prestigious Jaipur Literature Festival in 2019. Her most recent work, ‘The Forgotten Legacies of Sir Ganga Ram,’ illuminates his role as the Father and Engineer/Architect of modern Lahore. It was first introduced at Majha House, Amritsar. Her current writing project, still in development, delves into the Lahore Court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, exploring the lives and roles of its women. Currently, she resides in Islamabad with her husband and son, Shehryar.
Tariq Alexander Qaiser
Tariq Alexander Qaiser is a multi-faceted individual, working as an architect, environmentalist, filmmaker, writer, and lover of nature. With 37 years of experience in architecture, Tariq specializes in designing schools and hospitals. He also served as visiting faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston for eight years and has been a sought-after international and national lecturer. Tariq is the author of two bilingual books and has showcased his environmental films, photographs, and paintings in 11 group and solo gallery exhibitions. Notably, Time Magazine featured an 8-page spread on Tariq in their July 2022 Oceans Issue, highlighting his efforts to preserve Karachi’s island mangroves. He made a significant appearance at COP27 in Sharm al Sheikh, Egypt, presenting his film ‘A STORY OF SURVIVAL.’ Currently, Tariq is actively engaged in film production and working on a set of four books about the Indus Delta, all while managing his architectural practice.
Tariq Naeem was born in Chah Koray Wala, Peer Tainu, Multan. He received his primary education from Government High School Makhdoom Aali in Multan. He earned a BA from Government Sadiq Egerton College in Bahawalpur and an MA in Urdu Literature from Punjab University in Lahore. During his college years, he served as an assistant editor for the college magazine. Subsequently, he relocated to Islamabad and held the position of senior auditor at the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues. He also worked as a producer at Radio Pakistan, Islamabad. For fifteen years, he served as the Public Relations Officer for the eminent poet Ahmed Faraz at the National Book Foundation. Additionally, he assumed the role of editor for the Foundation’s monthly magazine ‘Kitab.’ He has authored seven books, including ‘Surkh Gulabon ke Mausam Mein’, ‘Diye Mein Jalti Raat’, ‘Ruki Hoi Shamoon Ki Rahdarian’, ‘Aligarh Ka Sipahi’, ‘Waqt Ka Intezar Kaun Kare’, ‘Pas-e-Andaaz Logon Ki Kahaniyan’, and a collection of poetry, ‘Ankh Se Aasman Jata Hai’. During 1985-86, he served as a secretary at the Halqa-e-Arbab-e Zauq, Islamabad. In 1985, he was honoured as the best young writer by the Pakistan Youth League. In 2000, he received the Perveen Shakir Aks-e-Khushboo Award for his poetry collection ‘Diye Mein Jalti Raat’. Furthermore, he holds the position of editor for the quarterly publication ‘Akkaas’. He has contributed articles on various literary topics to the daily newspapers Jang and Nawa-i Waqt in Islamabad. Currently, he is the Director of Media at Aiwan-e-Sir Syed and serves as the editor of its quarterly journal ‘Ilm-o-Amal’.
Tariq Rahman holds two doctoral degrees: a Ph.D. (1985) and a D.Litt (2014), both from the University of Sheffield. Both degrees were awarded based on examinations. For the latter, examiners evaluated his major publications before granting him a higher doctorate in linguistic history. He has authored 10 books, published over 100 articles, and contributed several book reviews. Tariq Rahman was the first Pakistani to receive Germany’s prestigious Humboldt Research Award for academic research. In recognition of his outstanding contributions, he was honoured with the Pride of Performance award in 2004 and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz in 2013, both conferred by the President of Pakistan. The Higher Education Commission of Pakistan recognized his exceptional achievements by appointing him a Distinguished National Professor in 2004 and presenting him with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. The National Institute of Pakistan Studies, where he served as a professor and director, bestowed upon him the title of professor emeritus. Tariq Rahman is a Salzburg Seminar fellow (2017) and a member of the Common Room at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. He is also a visiting fellow at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics and a Fellow of the Pakistan Academy of Sciences. He was the inaugural holder of the Pakistan Chair at the University of California, Berkeley, and served as a visiting professor at the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and the Peace University in Castellon, Spain. Tariq Rahman is a senior Fulbright scholar with previous appointments at the University of Texas at Austin (1995-96), the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (2010), and the South Asia Institute at the University of Heidelberg, Germany (2010, 2012, 2013, and 2019). Several of his books have received prestigious awards: ‘Language and Politics in Pakistan’ (1996) received the Pitras Bukhari Award from the Pakistan Academy of Letters and the National Book Foundation Award in 1997. ‘Names’ (2015) was recognized as the Best Book of the Year by the Higher Education Commission (2015-16), and ‘Interpretations of Jihad in South Asia’ (2018) earned the Best Book of the Year award in 2020 from Habib Bank Metro at the Karachi Literature Festival and the 6th UBL Award. His latest publication is ‘Pakistan’s Wars: An Alternative History’ (2022). Currently, Tariq Rahman serves as the Dean of the School of Education at Beaconhouse National University, Lahore.
Umber Khairi is a columnist, writer, and editor. She has worked as a journalist in Pakistan and the UK since the 1980s and was a producer and radio broadcaster at the BBC World Service in London for almost two decades. She is a co-founder of the independent, journalist-owned magazine ‘Newsline’, which was set up under the leadership of the late Razia Bhatti in 1989, and she now runs the Razia Bhatti Memorial Lecture Series in partnership with the IBA’s Centre for Excellence in Journalism (CEJ). Her weekly column, ‘UK Calling’, has featured in The News on Sunday since 1998 and she contributes occasionally to other publications including ‘Dawn’, ‘Naya Daur’ and ‘The Circuit.’ Her unpublished novel, ‘Akbar in Wonderland’, is set in 1990s Pakistan, in a post-martial law landscape. Umber Khairi is a graduate of Princeton University, where she studied Comparative Literature and Near Eastern Studies.
Dr Vaqar Ahmed, Ph.D., MSc., BSc. Honors (Economics) is a former civil servant currently serving as the Joint Executive Director of the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). His previous roles include working with organizations such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank Group, and various ministries in Pakistan, including Finance, Planning, and Commerce. Dr Ahmed is actively involved in multiple capacities, including membership in the USAID Investment & Trade Enhancement Advisory Group, honorary research fellowships at the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP) Network and the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE), and participation in the steering committee of Southern Voice. He also serves on the Federal Board of Revenue’s Resource Mobilization Commission and as a Board Member at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment & Trade. His extensive experience includes roles as a visiting faculty member and researcher at international institutes like the University of Laval in Canada, the University of Le Havre in France, and the National University of Ireland. Dr Ahmed has received recognition for his work, including the 2015 Young Leaders Fellowship award from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a 2021 Canadian Government grant for research on fiscal responses to COVID-19. Dr Ahmed maintains an active publishing profile, covering various aspects of international trade and finance, public finance, and private sector competitiveness. Oxford University Press (OUP) has published his books, including ‘Pakistan’s Agenda for Economic Reforms’ and ‘Economy, Welfare, and Reforms in Pakistan.’ He has also edited a book volume published by FES Germany titled ‘Global Pakistan: Pakistan’s Role in the International System.’
Victoria Schofield is a distinguished historian and expert in international affairs. With a remarkable body of work that includes books on the complexities of Jammu and Kashmir, her recent publication ‘The Fragrance of Tears: My Friendship with Benazir Bhutto’ (OUP Pakistan 2021) stands as a testament to her expertise and insights. As a renowned lecturer and writer, Victoria’s contributions to understanding the region and its history are invaluable.
Waqas Masood is a tenured professor in the Department of Physics at COMSATS University, Islamabad. He is an avid reader of world literature and poetry, with his current interests focusing on literary criticism and the exploration of the novel as a significant medium for understanding human existence. He was awarded the Salam Prize for Physics in 2009 and received the Presidential award of the Pride of Performance in 2012.
Waqas Naeem dabbles in poetry. His poems have been featured in various publications such as Jaggery, East Lit, Papercuts magazine, and The Aleph Review. In addition to his literary pursuits, he serves as the volunteer director of the South Asian literary collective known as Desi Writers’ Lounge (DWL) and moderates two monthly book clubs in Islamabad. With a background in journalism, he currently works in media development.
Wayne has over 25 years of work experience in education and technology with a career that has been varied, including teaching, product development, qualifications and assessment development and delivery, school improvement interventions, and software development.
He is passionate about education and technology and while working for Pearson for many years he was fortunate to work across different divisions (including Edexcel, Connections Academy, and Global Schools). He also worked with all ages and stages of learning and multiple education markets and contexts globally, including South Africa, East and West Africa, China, Brazil, India, Italy, Australia, the US, and the UK. In these markets, he has had the opportunity to work across a variety of education areas and product lines, including core school curriculum products, virtual schooling, teacher professional development services, school assessment services, product efficacy, and qualifications.
Wayne has also worked in higher education where he led a large global product design, development, and delivery team at 2U, a US education technology company that builds, delivers, and supports online degree and non-degree programs for universities. His team worked in partnership with global universities (including Oxford, MIT, Cambridge, London School of Economics, Stanford, and Bocconi, amongst others) to design, develop and deliver 2U’s digital short course academic products.
Wayne currently leads the Global Product function for the education division at Oxford University Press where he has responsibility for product strategy, digital product management and transformation, assessment services, product data and insights, and product efficacy.
Yaqoob Khan Bangash
Yaqoob Khan Bangash is a historian specializing in modern South Asia. He holds a DPhil from Oxford and a Post Doc from Harvard. His research focuses on the emergence of Pakistan as a post-colonial state, encompassing broader interests in decolonization, modern state formation, the development of identities, and the emergence of ethnic and identity-based conflicts across South Asia. Dr Bangash’s first book, titled ‘A Princely Affair: Accession and Integration of Princely States in Pakistan, 1947-55,’ was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. Currently, he is in the process of completing another book titled ‘Between the Sword and the Pen: The History of the Lahore High Court.’ His work has also been published in reputable journals such as Modern Asian Studies, Imperial and Commonwealth History, South Asia Research, and the Indian Economic and Social History Review. He has previously held positions as a British Academy Visiting Fellow, Chevening Fellow, and Fulbright Fellow. Currently, he serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at IT University in Lahore.
Yasmeen Hameed is a poet, translator, and educator. She has published seven collections of her poetry in Urdu, a selection of Urdu poetry of the post-Iqbal period in English translation, selected poems of South Asian languages in Urdu translation, a book of writings on Faiz called ‘Daybreak’ and a book of literary essays called ‘Eik Aur Rukh’ among other books. She was Guest Editor of ‘Pakistani Literature’, published by the Pakistan Academy of Letters. Among other volumes of the journal, she edited two special issues on Women Writers from Pakistan. She was the Founder Director of the Gurmani Centre for South Asian Languages and Literature at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). She is a recipient of several awards including the Allama Muhammad Iqbal Award and the Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi Award for best poetry collections of years 1996 and 2001, the UBL/Jang Literary Excellence award for her book ‘Pakistani Urdu Verse’ in English translation, published in 2010 and the Jamil Jalibi Adabi Award for translation for the book called ‘Junubi Asia ki Muntakhib Nazmein’. In 2008, she was awarded the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz for literature, by the Government of Pakistan. She is also Owner/Director of The Lahore Alma, Junior/Senior School (registered with the University of Cambridge) established in 1986 in DHA, Lahore.
Zahid Hussain is an award-winning journalist and writer. He is a former correspondent for The Times and The Wall Street Journal. He has also covered Pakistan and Afghanistan for several other international publications and is a regular columnist for Dawn. Hussain was a Pakistan scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in Washington, D.C. (2011–12). He is the author of ‘Frontline Pakistan: The Struggle with Militant Islam’, ‘The Scorpion’s Tail: The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan’, ‘Hybrid Rule in Pakistan’, and ‘No-Win War: The Paradox of US-Pakistan Relations in Afghanistan’s Shadow’. The Wall Street Journal declared ‘Frontline Pakistan’ as the Book of the Year (2007).
Zahshanné Zehra Malik
Zahshanné Zehra Malik, a Kathak dancer and Queen’s University graduate with an Honours degree in Drama, is dedicated to her craft and creative pursuits. From the age of 4, she received training from renowned dancers in Pakistan, Canada, and the United States, commencing her performance journey at the young age of 6. Zahshanné has featured in numerous local TV commercials, short films, and music videos, including Atif Aslam’s ‘Jalna,’ Coke Studio’s ‘Peechay Hutt’ by Hassan Raheem, Talal Qureshi, and Justin Bibis, as well as Red Bull’s ‘Dheem Tana’ by Bilal Maqsood. She has also served as the head choreographer for Velo Sound Station Season 2. Zahshanné’s instructional and choreographic expertise has been sought after at institutions such as The Arts Council of Pakistan Theatre Academy, British Over Seas, and C.A.S., among others. Furthermore, Zahshanné holds the ‘All Styles Champion’ title from Styles Clash 2021, which marked the first-ever women’s dance battle in Pakistan. Complementing her dance career, she embarked on her acting journey by assuming the role of Sophie Sheridan in the musical ‘Mamma Mia’ with Made for Stage Productions in Lahore in 2010. Over the years, she has taken part in various theatre productions as an actor, director, and playwright. Notably, she wrote and directed her production titled ‘The Universe Inside You,’ which was showcased at the Napa Theatre Festival in 2020.
Zubair Ahmad grew up in the historic Mohalla Krishan Nagar neighbourhood of Lahore, with his ancestors hailing from pre-partition Batala, District Gurdaspur, Punjab. In 1984, he earned his MA in English from the University of the Punjab, Lahore. He retired in 2018 as an Associate Professor of English Literature from the Old Islamia College. Zubair has been a passionate advocate for Punjabi language, literature, and culture in Pakistan. He is the author of three outstanding short story collections: ‘Meenh Boohay te Barrian,’ ‘Kabootar Banarey Te Galian,’ and ‘Panni Di Kandh,’ as well as two books of poetry and a literary criticism book. In 2014, ‘Kabootar Banarey Te Galian’ received the inaugural Dhahan Prize in the Shahmukhi script, and ‘Panni Di Kandh’ was a 2020 Dhahan Prize Finalist Award recipient from Canada. Zubair’s Punjabi stories were translated by Anne Murphy and published in 2022 by Athabasca University Press, Canada, under the title ‘Grieving for Pigeons: Twelve Stories of Lahore.’ The Pakistani edition was released by Readings, Lahore, one of the largest online resources in Pakistan. In 1997, he founded Kitab Trinjan, the first exclusive non-commercial, non-profit Punjabi bookshop, which continues to operate. He played a pivotal role in establishing the first Punjabi school in Lahore in 1984. Currently, he publishes and edits an annual magazine called ‘Baran Maah’ with England-based writer Amarjit Chandan. Zubair’s literary journey is deeply rooted in his childhood experiences. He says, ‘Listening daily to my mother’s pre-partition stories, I was subconsciously born a writer. I dug that writer, found it, and started authoring stories that covered my life, the people, the surroundings, and the city of Lahore. Lahore is in me, and I am in Lahore.’ He also chairs The Dhahan Prize Advisory Committee. https://dhahanprize.com/about/advisory-committee/
Zubair Torwali, a researcher, author, community activist, and educator based in Bahrain, Swat Pakistan, is a prolific writer with a diverse body of work spanning English, Urdu, and the Dardic Torwali language. He has authored and supervised numerous books that delve into various aspects of Torwali culture and society. His book in English, ‘Muffled Voices,’ offers profound insights into Pakistan’s social, cultural, and political landscape. He has contributed a wealth of research articles and hundreds of contributions to English newspapers and weeklies in Pakistan. Additionally, he has made valuable contributions as a book chapter contributor to publications by Routledge and others, addressing themes related to education, language, culture, and peace. Zubair Torwali is the founder and current CEO of the Idara Baraye Taleem wa Taraqi (IBT), an institute dedicated to education and development, situated in Swat Pakistan. He is a Fellow of the Japan Asian Leadership Fellow Program, a fellow of LEAD Pakistan, an Acumen Pakistan Fellow, a global leader with the World Forum Foundation, and an Education Champion for Pakistan with the Malala Fund. Notably, he was shortlisted for the International Bremen Peace Award in 2015. He is a Public Peace Prize laureate, recognized for increasing literacy among indigenous people. Zubair is also a Project Coordinator for Torwali-based multilingual education. His forthcoming books are ‘Torwali English Dictionary for Students’, ’Language, Culture and Ethnicity, ’Language Endangerment: The State and Communities’, ‘Sherbano, A Novel in Torwali’, and ’Orthographical Considerations for Minority Language Activists’.