Suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar and noted writer Amit Chaudhuri will deliver keynote speeches at this year's annual Karachi Literature Festival which witnesses a sparse Indian participation. The ninth edition of the three-day long festival began yesterday and will host a total of 235 speakers (205 Pakistanis and 30 internationals) who will deliver speeches on a number of subjects, including Indo-Pak relations and the effect of partition on the people. India's High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria made an appearance on the opening day and delivered a short speech at the festival which has become a very popular literary event in the region. "We would have loved to have a wide Indian participation in the festival which is so eagerly awaited now by everyone.
It has become a landmark event for Karachi's literary, cultural and social scene," said Ameena Syed, organiser of the festival. "We started this festival in 2010 as a reaction to the violence prevailing in the city but since than it has grown and last year we had 200,000 visitors and 250 speakers," she said. Although there is a sparse Indian participation in the event, two well-known Indians Mani Shankar Aiyar and Amit Chaudhuri will deliver keynote speeches on the final day of the literary extravaganza, she added. Syed said the tense relations between the two countries had also hit exchanges in art, culture and literature. In the past, writer Shobhaa De has also graced the festival.
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