University of Punjab


A special discussion was arranged at the University of Punjab (PU), on the completion of 30 years of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Tajikistan.

On this occasion, the Ambassador of Tajikistan Mr Ismatullah Nasiruddin was the Chief Guest. At the same time, PU Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr. Muhammad Saleem Mazhar, Brigadier (r) Mansoor Saeed Sheikh from Centre for Global and Strategic Studies, Regional Integration Centre Director Dr. Fauzia Hadi Ali, Prof Dr. Umbreen Javed, Dr. Muhammad Shara Qazi, Prof Dr. Mehboob Hussain, Prof Dr. Amra Raza, Prof Dr. Muhammad Sharif were present. At the same time, Prof Dr Ahmed Farhan Saeed, Prof Dr. Shabbir Ahmed and Prof Dr. Noman Ali Shah spoke online.

Addressing the ceremony at PU, Tajik Ambassador Mr Ismatullah said that Tajikistan and Pakistan have enjoyed warm bilateral relations for decades. He said that cooperation with Pakistan in the field of education, research and business is increasing. He invited Pakistani businessmen, academics and people to visit Tajikistan and explore all opportunities themselves which could contribute to strengthening regional cooperation. He said that in the future these relations would yield positive results which would be beneficial for both the countries.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Saleem Mazhar thanked Brig (r) Mansoor for playing his role in enhancing relations with the Central Asian States. He said that RIC had been established with a vision to enhance regional cooperation and we have many success stories in this regard. The participants in the ceremony said that Pak-Tajik relations were strong on the basis of Islamic brotherhood. They said that trade relations between Tajikistan and Pakistan were also important but they needed to be further enhanced. Later, the ambassador and others cut the cake to celebrate 30 years of bilateral relations.

Renowned actor, director and academic, Navid Shahzad launched her debut book “Aslan’s Roar” with a reading from the publication at a star-studded evening in Lahore.

Published by Sang e Meel Publications, Pakistan; ‘Aslan’s Roar’ is a handsome four hundred page research work which discusses the symbiotic nature of television and culture while positioning present-day media narratives and fiction amidst powerful trends influencing contemporary TV myth-making. Arguing for the possibility of a ‘middle way’ for Muslims positioned between seductive modernity and tradition through a study of Turkish and Muslim identities as represented in western and nonwestern film and TV narratives.

The book examines the Turkish TV industry in detail and makes a case for the rise of a Muslim hero as a counterfoil to the prevailing dominant image of the western hero. The book has received critical appraise with Arundhati Roy’s literary agent terming it as ‘brilliantly written,’ while noted Pakistani poet and author, Harris Khalique described it as a ‘remarkably insightful work on the emergence and growth of Turkish TV drama.’

The book launch featured an introduction to the author by former FBR Chairman Salman Siddiq who spoke about his onetime mentor at Punjab University’s Department of English Literature with much appreciation. This was followed by a reading which gave the attendees an insight into the text’s perspective and subject matter.

Well known for her perfect enunciation, dialogue delivery and expression Navid Shahzad’s reading was a treat for the audience which included former Punjab Governor Shahid Hamid, Alhamra Arts Council Chairperson Muneeza Hashmi and her illustrious sister Saleema Hashmi, one of Pakistan’s foremost artists Ijaz ul Hassan, former Aitchison College Principal, author and well known historian Fakir Syed Ijazuddin and renowned Punjabi poetesses Sarwat Mohyuddin and Anjum Qureshi.

Academia was represented by several educationists such as the Lahore Grammar School Director’s Nighat Ali and Sultanat Bokhari, as well as Musarrat Salamat of Salamat School System and Dr Taimur Rahman, Associate Professor LUMS.

The distinguished audience further comprised of well-known former beauracrats such as Syed Naseer Ahmed, while the business and health sectors were represented by the CEOs of Imperial Cinemas Syed Rahmani and Azam of Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Lahore. The event was also attended by artists including Shahnawaz Zaidi, author and educationist Mira Hashmi, actors including Fawad Khan and Adeel Hashmi who lent a special flavour to the evening with their presence.

About the launch of the book, Navid Shahzad said, “the event was a marvellous but humbling experience. Old friends and new came to listen, share and celebrate. In many ways, the evening was reminiscent of a Lahore that appears to be vanishing. Talking about books, music and the arts was a special feature of this magical city and this evening has inspired me to have such events on a fortnightly basis. I plan on calling it ‘The Salon Series’.”

With the prestigious Pride of Performance award bestowed upon her by the Government of Pakistan, the Fatima Jinnah Award by the Government of Punjab, gold and silver medals by Pakistan Television and the coveted Diamond Jubilee Purse awarded by the Punjab University for a first-class first in MA English Literature; Navid Shahzad is an iconic television, theater and radio veteran and is one of the pioneering names associated with Pakistan Television. As an academic, she taught drama and poetry at the University of Punjab for three decades before moving on to Pakistan School of Fashion Design, where she served as Principal. She played a vital role in setting up Pakistan’s first liberal arts Beaconhouse National University, where she also served as a teacher of Performing Arts.

Deeply interested in literature, media studies and music, the indefatigable Navid Shahzad has finished writing a film script and is currently working on another book while reading scripts for her next film and TV ventures.

Aslan’s Roar is available nationwide at Liberty Books, Variety Books in Lahore and Mr Books and Saeed Book Bank in Islamabad. The paperback version will shortly make an appearance on digital platforms such as Amazon and Kindle.

Three separate first information reports (FIR) have been registered against students of Punjab University for engaging in violent clashes and vandalism on the university premises on Monday. Police also produced closed to 200 students in an anti-terrorism court on Wednesday in connection with the violence, with the court sending 180 students to jail on judicial remand.