Musharraf Ali Farooqi

Musharraf Ali Farooqi is an author, translator, and publisher. His novel “Between Clay and Dust” was shortlisted for The Man Asian Literary Prize 2012 and longlisted for the 2013 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Farooqi’s second novel “The Story of a Widow” was shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2011, and longlisted for the 2010 IMPAC-Dublin Literary Award. He is the CEO of KITAB (Pvt.) Limited, and the Founder of the ‘Kahani Se Kitab Tak’ graduated reading program, focused on children’s literature in particular.

Hashim Nadeem

Hashim Nadeem is a Pakistani-Urdu novelist, drama writer, poet and fiction writer. He has also produced 27 telefilms and 11 drama serials as first private producer, among four of them have won different awards, in which he was also writer and director.  His films include Abdullah, and his famous novels are Bachpan ka December and Khuda Aur Muhabbat. He has been awarded the Tamgha-e-Husn-e-Karkrdagi by the Pakistani government.

Salman Rashid

Salman Rashid is Pakistan’s most widely travelled travel writer with few places in the country that do not carry his footprint. Acclaimed as ‘the most erudite travel writer of the country’, he is the author of eight books that include anthologies of his newspaper articles. This book is the outcome of nearly a quarter century of the Deosai romance over several visits to the plateau. His recent book, ‘A Time of Madness: A Memoir of Partition’ reminisces the partition from a completely different perspective.

Nida Kirmani

Dr. Nida Kirmani is Associate Professor of Sociology at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). She is also Faculty Director of the Saida Waheed Gender Initiative. Nida has published widely on issues related to gender, Islam, women’s movements, development and Urban studies in India and Pakistan. She completed her PhD in 2007 from the University of Manchester in Sociology. Her Book, Questioning ‘the Muslim woman’: Identity and Insecurity in an Urban Indian Locality, was published in 2013 by Routledge. Her current research focuses on urban violence, gender and insecurity in the area of Lyari in Karachi.

Mubasshir Zaidi

Mubashir Zaidi has 26 years of experience in journalism. He’s a former editor of Dawn TV and currently co-hosting Zara Hut Kay on Dawn TV, In the past he has worked for BBC, LA Times. Herald and Hindustantimes. He is also writing for The Hindu.

Iftikhar Firdous is a senior journalist, Beaureau Chief at ET for KP, FATA, GB and beyond. He is also a psychological linguist and counsellor, and dabbles in the fields of art, literature and philosophy. For a long time he has been working along the themes of conflict in a historical and social perspective.

Ashraf Qazi has held several national and international diplomatic positions. He has served as a special representative of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Sudan and Iraq. Mr. Qazi was Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India and ambassador to Syria, Russia and to China. He writes on foreign policy and diplomatic affairs.

Huma Adnan​ is an ESL, Creative Writing and Business English trainer at Zabeel Institute of Management and Technology, Dubai since 2012. She is an Author; Blogger; Event Speaker; Poet; Founder of Zabeel’s Readers and Speakers’ Club and Editor at Madwolf Publishing. Huma is an author of three books and has launched her novel Once the Birds Fly in 2017 in Pakistan. Currently She is working on her fourth book with an Italian writer.

She has had her work published in many international magazines and has won the award for training young writers in the year 2016 by Zabeel Institute.

Zubair Torwali

Zubair Torwali is a community activist, linguist and educator based in Bahrain, Pakistan who has sought to preserve and promote Pakistans Dardic cultures and languages. He did his masters from University of Peshawar. He has also received additional diplomas and given lectures in languages, literature and education. He has published works in English, Urdu and the Dardic Torwali language.

Shaheena Shaheen

Shaheena Shaheen, born in Turbat kech, started reading and writing Balochi from class six and also became interested in poetry. Wrote poems in Balochi in school and with time published in different balochi magazines . In 2012 she got pried to publish the first women’s magazine in Balochi literature named ‘Dazghwar’ which mean female friend (Sahili). In 2013 she came to Quetta for further studies and also joined PTV Bolan as a Balochi compare. Now she is final year student in the visual art department at Balochistan University, Quetta.

Aasim Sajjad Akhtar is Assistant Professor of Political Economy at the National Institute of Pakistan Studies (NIPS), Quaid-i-Azam University. He is the author of numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Peasant Studies, Critical Asian Studies and the Journal of Contemporary Asia, and a syndicated columnist in Pakistan’s newspaper-of-record, DAWN. He is also contributing editor with the journal Socialism & Democracy.

Huda Sheikh is Masters in English Literature from GCU, Lahore. An aspiring Writer, Poet & Painter. Her favorite genre is short story. She also compose poetry in Urdu, Punjabi & English regularly. She is a member of Young Women Writers Forum (YWWF).

Mudassar Hussain Malik is a published author of Urdu Literature and is BUITEMS alumni. He is going to launch his Urdu novel ‘Teesra Kinaara’ at QLF.


Amjad Islam Amjad

Amjad Islam Amjad is an Urdu poet, drama, writer and lyricist from Pakistan. He has received many awards for his literary work and screenplay for TV, including Pride of Performance and Sitara-e-Imtiaz.

Mahim Maher

Mahim Maher is editor at Samaa TV. She has served as the city or metropolitan editor for the Karachi sections of two national English newspapers, Daily Times and The Express Tribune. Apart from being a full time journalist she is a part time nostalgia hunter. Over the years transitioned into writing long form investigative and explanatory pieces on Karachi’s civic and urban infrastructure with a focus on transport, public spaces and water.  Her works also include papers on Pakistani literature and representation of women in it.

Jamal Shah

Jamal Shah is a Pakistani actor, director, painter, and a social worker. He was born into a Pashtun Syed family in 1956 in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan. In 1992 Jamal made his acting debut in K2, directed by Franc Roddam. Jamal Shah obtained a Master’s in English literature from Balochistan University, Quetta, Balochistan in 1978 and in 1983 an NDA, National College of Arts, Lahore. He later obtained a Masters in Fine Arts from the Slade School of Art in London. Being an actor, he performed in many TV serials as well as a renowned mini series titled Traffik produced by Britain’s Channel 4 about illegal drugs and the role of Pakistan, Germany and Britain in its production, transportation and usage. Traffik was nominated for six BAFTA Awards, winning three. It also won an International Emmy Award for best drama.

Dr. Ali Madeeh Hashmi

Dr. Ali Madeeh Hashmi is a psychiatrist, writer and translator. He is currently Tenured Associate Professor of Psychiatry at King Edward Medical University. Dr. Hashmi is the author of five books on poetry and literature including the first (and only) biography of his grandfather, the celebrated poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz published in 2016. His essays about mental health, literature, poetry and history have been published in scientific journals, magazines, newspapers and literary journals in Pakistan, India and the United States. He writes a fortnightly column for The News on Sunday and his writings have also been published in the Daily Times, the daily Dawn, the weekly Friday Times and many other publications.

Ali Arqam

Ali Arqam is a young Pashtun journalist and academic from Karachi. He is a regular contributor to various reputed online and print platforms. A staff member of the well-known Newsline magazine, he has written for The News International, Dawn, Sanjh, Hum Shehri, Hum Sub, and Monthly Pique. His investigative reporting and astute analysis has earned him praise across the country. Ali also holds an adjunct faculty position at Habib University’ Arzu Program in Languages and Literatures where he teaches Pashtu to undergraduate students.

Rafiullah Kakar is a public policy and development consultant. He has rendered policy advice to governments in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Pacific region on a range of issues, particularly youth entrepreneurship, development and countering violent extremism. He is a Rhodes Scholar and holds two Master’s degree from the University of Oxford in Public Policy and Global Governance. He writes on Politics and Development in different English national news dailies.

Faizullah Khan

Faiz Ullah Khan has been associated with journalism since 2005. He has served NNI and Samma TV as reporter and these days he is working with ARY as a senior reporter. In 2014, while he was covering a story on Taliban he was arrested for entering in Afghanistan illegally. Although, he was sentenced by the military court but after the intervention of Pakistan Government, journalist, political leaders and international journalist associations along with the efforts of Malala Yousafzai, he was freed. After which he wrote the book ‘Prisoner of Durandline’ which was read and appreciated a lot by many around the globe.

Salma Jaffer is a Social Development Specialist and works on issues like gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, girls’ educations, displaced women, child rights and special protection across Pakistan. Ms. Salma has also led the English Language Department of the University of Balochistan. She has also served the Government of Balochistan and UNICEF as a development consultant on issues like gender equality and girls’ education. She is from Quetta, but based in Islamabad currently.

Dr. Adnan Rafiq is an author and political analyst. He is currently serving as lead consultant on Research and Policy at the Ministry of Interior and is coordinating efforts to formulate the National Internal Security Policy. He holds a PhD degree in Politics from the University of Oxford and MPhil from the University of Cambridge. He is a published author and has contributed articles to academic journals as well as national and international newspapers such as Dawn, Express Tribune and Huffington Post. He has edited a book titled: “Pakistan’s democratic transition: Change and Persistence” which has recently been published by Routledge.

Zafarullah Khan is an IT consultant by profession and has served in many public and private sector organizations and universities. He has been writing columns and blogs for different  newspapers over the years. Upon asking introduction he says, I am neither an IT professional nor a columnist but a story teller of untold stories.

Humera Sadaf is a native Brahvi speaker and also have wrote 8 books on Brahvi literature including Hiko. Her research on Brahvi literature and a collection of poetry published ‘Kuhsaron ki Sada’ in Urdu. Her qualification is M.A Philosophy and she is currently working as Assistant Professor, Head of Philosophy dept in Post Graduate Girls College Quetta Cantt.


Zeba Bakhtiar

Zeba Bakhtiar is a Pakistani film and television actress, and a television series director. She made her television debut with a (PTV) drama play, Anarkali (1988).

Junaid Akram is a social media sensation, stand-up comedian, social worker and aspiring actor, Junaid Akram has seen it all, from waiting tables during his early life to being a big shot broker in the UAE, to risking it all and returning to Pakistan just for the sake of seeing his own people smile.

Zarrar Khuhro

Zarrar Khuhro is a Pakistani journalist who has worked in print and electronic media and currently co-hosts a show on Dawn News called ‘zara hut kay’. He also writes a regular column for Dawn and just about anyone who will pay him.

Wusat Ullah Khan is a working journalist for the last thirty six years. He is attached with BBC Urdu Service since 1991. He covered 2003 Iraq war. He was in Beruit during 2006 Isreal- Hizbollah war in Lebanon. He also reported 2004 & 2009 Lok Sabha elections while touring 13 states of India. He travelled extensively during 2005 Pakistan earthquake. His work on 2010 floods published as ‘Sailab diaries’ by Pakistan Study Centre, University of Karachi. Wusat writes a weekly column ‘Batt say Baat’ for BBC Urdu Service since 1998. He also contributes a Weekly Column for Daily Express Pakistan. He is a Co-host of Dawn News daily talk show ‘Zara Hut Kay’.

Ayub Khoso is a Pakistani actor of film and TV. With a career spanning more than three decades – mostly in Television – Khoso is a well-known name in Pakistan. He is best known for his roles in films like Khuda Kay Liye. He has been part of many top-rated TV serials of different channels. In 2011 Pakistan National Council of Arts dedicated a whole evening to Ayub by screening a play named ‘Main Kaun Hoon’ based on his work and contributions to film industry of Pakistan.

Hafeez Jamali

Hafeez Jamali holds a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and is currently serving as the Director of Balochistan Archives at Quetta. His research focuses on the anthropology of globalization and development, the history of Indian Ocean Trade, and the politics of identity and place in Balochistan. His doctoral research examines how Pakistani Government’s investment in mega development projects such as transnational gas pipelines and commercial ports has affected the lives and transformed the political attitudes of local Baloch people.

Dr. Kaiser Bengali is one of the most distinguished economists in Pakistan today. A graduate of University of Karachi and Boston University, he has been involved with policy analysis and implementation for over 25 years. He has headed prestigious institutions such as Sustainable development policy institute (SDPI), Islamabad and Social Policy and Development Center (SPDC), Karachi; have been closely involved with pro – poor government initiatives such as Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). A regular contributor to reputed academic journals and leading newspapers of Pakistan, he has most recently authored A cry for Justice: Empirical insights from Balochistan – an outcome of his close involvement with the developmental issues of Balochistan during his tenure as the head of Chief Minister’s Policy Reform Unit (CMPRU) of the Government of Balochistan.


Khumariyaan was born in the age of Talibanisation, sectarian violence, military operations and neo-imperialist expansions, in the region which is a gateway to Central Asia, in the city of Peshawar.

A band of musicians whose tunes are based on their native music, with a tinge of other native music of the world as well, our audience is the educated youth of Pakistan, and our mission is to enlighten the youth with all-encompassing aesthetics and performing arts. Our focus is to elevate music to medium of peace of being, and musically, break the tradition of the South Asian vocal based musical culture, thus we are an instrumental band.

Neelum Afridi is a published poet and prose writer. She is currently the President of Young Women Writers’ Forum Peshawar. She is also a lecturer at the Department of English, Islamia College Peshawar. Neelum also plays to be the editor of Khor Ghag magazine. She was also invited at Islamabad Literary Festival 2017 as a speaker where she conducted two sessions. Many of her poems and some of her articles are printed in US Magazine, the News International and in Smash Magazine while some are published online. Neelum is also a social activist.

Dr. Barkat Shah Kakar is a faculty member at the Department of Pashto at the University of Balochistan. He holds a six months Post-Doctorate research project with Pardee school of Global Studies, Boston University. He has worked with Organizations like Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and National Commission for Justice and Peace. He also writes regularly for Jang-Quetta Literary Page, online Hum Sab, Niaznama and Sujag.

Naima Bilal Minhas is a Pakistani Literature activist and is the founder of Poetry Recitation Competitions on Pakistani English Poets. She is also the founder of Human Library Sessions in Pakistan. She has been working in educational sector in interior Balochistan and has been establishing library culture in these areas. Currently she is teaching at BUITEMS. Her other works include An Army Brat and 365 Activities for a Non Gadgeted Childhood. Her upcoming titles include a Science Fiction, The Wangled Hiss and a biography named Sultan Golden. Her work has been translated in Urdu, Pashto and Persian.

Kayenat Hameed Khan is a published author and Peshawar’s first Spoken Word Artist. She joined Young Women Writer’s Forum in October 2017 and gave her first Spoken Word performance in November where she debuted for Words and Metaphors. Co-Director Startup Grind Peshawar – Kayenat is also the Creative Writing Lead and Communications Lead at Impact Dynamics and works closely with Google Business Group Peshawar. Recently she published her book called “A Decade of Delight”.



Here is the detailed program schedule.