Ashfaq Husain is a Canadian national of Pakistani origin and is considered an authority on Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Essentially a poet who migrated from Pakistan to Canada in the 1980s, Ashfaq Husain has to his credit more than a dozen of books on Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ahmed Faraz and other men of letters. He is also the pioneer of Urdu International, a publication that has garnered critical acclaim among Urdu writers and poets globally.
Husain was recently in Pakistan to attend a peace conference in Islamabad. He also visited his home town Karachi for a couple of days where his new poetry collection ‘Ashyian Gum Karda’ was launched at a local hotel where eminent scholars, critics and journalists such as Iftikhar Arif, Dr Mohammad Ali Siddiqui and Mahmood Sham dwelt at length on Ashfaq Husain’s poetry. In an exclusive interview with The News, Husain spoke about exchange of books and periodicals between Pakistan and India, war and peace, the role played by writers and poets on either side of the divide for establishing peace in the subcontinent and more importantly against sectarianism. Some excerpts from the interview are as follows:
Do you see any logic on the ban on exchange of periodicals, magazines and books between Pakistan and India?
It was understandable when Pakistan and India fought a war in 1965. But today everything is available on the Internet and there is no justification of a ban on exchange of periodicals, magazines and books between the two neighbouring countries. In fact, authorities today can’t stop the flow of information between countries because the world has been transformed into a global village. People in Pakistan watch Indian movies and TV programmes and vice versa. Hence the ban that was imposed during the days of war hysteria and jingoism has become redundant and meaningless. In fact, only political factors are hampering flow of information between Pakistan and India.
Full interview here News