Talk with Dr. Nafisa Shah
Dr. Nafisa Shah, MNA Khairpur, came to IBA on May 14th 2015, to have a political discussion. The title of her talk was "Is there anything Left to say?"
According to Dr. Nafisa, it is the left wing in any country that produces its intellectual and cultural voices and creates that very important space for dissent and alternative points of view. The absence of the left wing not only deprives a country from people's movements in the long run but also has profound effects in terms of art, music, culture and other forms of expression. A country that cannibalizes the left, as we did in the late 1970s and the 1980s, sees a narrowing of the secular space and erosion of reason. This is because the left intellectual is always ready to engage in dialectics to resolve a question or a dispute. There was a strong tradition of the left from the beginning in Pakistan. In the early years after the creation of Pakistan, Pakistani politics began to undergo the inevitable process of realignment. Many leaders formed their own parties with different mottos. i.e.: some went for secular and some for pro-west, which created many conflicts in leading a newly founded country.
By the end of a historical political discussion, Dr. Nafisa said "there has to be a broad-based agenda that unites not just the left but liberals as well on one platform. The revival of the left benefits not just those who agree with the politics of the left but also all those who want to see Pakistan a progressive and peaceful society based on reason. Saving the secular space and voices of dissent in Pakistan has to be the common point between these varied groups that otherwise may share no commonalities in goals, methods or ideologies. If the left and the liberals do not rise above mutual pettiness, they may well become extinct in the coming future".
Overall, the session was based on an extensive historical and political discussion. At the end, audience asked many questions based on political history of Pakistan.