Karachi’s 12th literature festival centered its final day around the importance of satire, soft power and vaccine diplomacy. With a virtual session amid a rapidly intensifying pandemic, the KLF introduced a session titled  ‘Karachi: Laughter in Chaos’ to delineate the power of comedy while incorporating comic relief to an otherwise somber world order. Moderated by journalist George Fulton and featuring rapper/actor Ali Gul Pir and comedian Shehzad Ghias Shaikh, the session identified comedy as therapy in a chaotic metropolitan city like Karachi. The changing role of comics in the age of social media was also discussed, with comedy being termed as anti-status quo and anti-elite.

In another session, Former Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi discussed Pakistan’s role in the international realm with special emphasis on diplomacy.

“The very concept of power has been undergoing change. Military and economic power remain important determinants of global standing and influence but they are not sufficient to guarantee the effectiveness or success of any country’s foreign policy, whether big, large or medium,” she said.

Lodhi also identified the need for soft power in curating political control and diplomacy, adjoining vaccine shipments and diplomacy to further highlight the concept of soft power.

“The world’s biggest powers feel the need to deploy soft power, why would they do that if they have enough strength militarily and economically,” she added.

The former ambassador stated the in the current world order, countries use ‘vaccine diplomacy’ to amplify their influence, adding that China’s vaccination shipments could be seen as ‘soft power diplomacy’.

“It is China that sent vaccines to many countries in the developing world, including our own,” she said. “In fact the only vaccines available, as we speak, in Pakistan, happen to come from China free of cost for now.”

The Karachi Literary Festival assumed a virtual role this year, as the coronavirus pandemic rages on globally. The three-day festival commenced on March 26 and concluded on March 28, with its central focus on “bringing together Pakistani and International writers to promote reading and showcase writing at its best.”


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