The first Afkar-e-Taza ThinkFest was held at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) on Satuday. Various speakers, including academics, journalists and activists, spoke to a number of sessions covering various topics during the event. During the opening ceremony, Dr Miftah Ismail, Yaqoob Khan Bangash and other speakers talked about the festival and said that the main aim of the activity was to bring together a diverse group of scholars from a variety of disciplines so that students and general public could engage with them and learn.Bangash said: “We have carefully crafted this one-day intellectual feast for residents of Karachi. In addition to matters of national and international significance, we have a number of Karachi-specific panels too.” British author and award-winning playwright HanifKureshi, in his keynote session titled ‘What now’, talked about far right in the West and said that after 1989 some of young people started turning to militant revolutions.In another session focusing on Karachi and its issues, speakers were Marvi Mazhar who works as an urban planner, Fizzah Sajjad who is an expert on Urbanism in Pakistan, Ali Arqam, a journalist, and Nida Kirmani, an acedmic. They mainly spoke about the ongoing anti-encracohemnt drive in the city and its impact of livelihoods of the residents. Prominent journalists including Mazhar Abbas, Owais Tohid, Fahd Husain, Zarrar Khuhru and Najia Ashar also spoke in a session titled ‘Pakistan’s News Media : The Threats Within and Without’. In a session titled “Afghanistan : Elusive Peace, Pervading Neighbours, prominent analyst Zahid Hussain said that earlier Pakistan had Strategic Depths in Afghanistan but now the Taliban had the Strategic Depths in Pakistan. Other speakers were Dr Kirsten Harpviken from Oslo, Imtiaz Gul, head of a security think-tanik in Islamabad and veteran diplomat Ashraf Jahangir Qazi.Another top panel discussed where Pakistan is really headed with Najam Sethi, Dr Ishrat Husain and Nadeem Farooq Paracha with Maria Memon. Dr Huma Baqai teamed up with Dr Joseph Massad from Columbia to talk about the situation in the Middle East. Published in Daily Times, December 9th 2018.