Arfa Sayeda Zehra
Haya Fatima
Iftikhar Arif
Pirzada Qasim
Romana Hussain
Salman Alvi
Sheema Kirmani
Tina Sani
Zehra Nigah
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Ethics & Culture Hour

Open to the general public, the Ethics and Culture Hour at CBEC is an outreach effort that aims to bring some elements of academic discourse to the audience. Formatted as a talk, a workshop or even a performance, it invites renowned scholars, literary figures and artists to showcase the link between ethics and local artistic traditions.


On December 14, 2019, renowned Pakistani poet, scientist and educationist, Dr. Pirzada Qasim shared his thoughts and poetry on topics ranging from time to education and the politics of resistance. The two hour session was attended by a large audience of Dr. Qasim’s admirers and connoisseurs of Urdu poetry. To the delight of the audience, Dr. Qasim read some of his best known poetry, including his ghazal, “Zaḳhm dabe to phir nayā tiir chalā diyā karo” (When my wound heals, shoot a new arrow).

Dr. Pirzada Qasim is presently serving as the Vice Chancellor of Ziauddin University, Karachi.


On December 21, 2018, Ms. Tina Sani, renowned Ghazal singer from Pakistan wowed the audience with her melodious voice. Ms. Tina Sani has always been generous to come to SIUT whenever she has been asked. On this Friday evening, she sang beautiful poems from the works of poets such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Allama Iqbal and Munir Niazi. The audience thoroughly enjoyed her singing Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa. The evening ended with Ms. Tina leading the audience in singing Faiz’s “Hum dekheinge.”


Author and devoted Karachiwala, Rumana Husain, was the invited speaker at CBEC’s Ethics and Culture Hour on September 3, 2016. In an informative and engaging presentation entitled “Are you a Karachiwala?” Ms. Husain described many of the communities and cultures that rub shoulders in Karachi and which have been vividly portrayed in her book, “Karachiwala: a Subcontinent within a City.” She also spoke of the two year process of collecting material for her book that required her to establish contact and enter different communities. Her talk was accompanied by slides of photographs from her book that depicted Karachi’s diversity and illustrated its social disparities. Her talk was followed by an animated question and answer session.

Ms. Rumana Husain is the author of two books: ‘Karachiwala: a Subcontinent within a City’ and ‘Street Smart: Professionals on the Street‘.

On April 27, 2016, CBEC screened SOC Films’ Oscar winning documentary, “A girl in the river” which deals with honour killing in Pakistan. It narrates the story of Saba, a young Pakistani woman whose father attempted to kill her because she flouted convention and married the man she loved against her family’s wishes. Following the real-life protagonists of the case, the documentary presents the perspectives of the people involved through recorded interviews and conversations.

Following the screening of the documentary, there was a question and answer session in which two members of the production team discussed different aspects of the documentary and its making with a large audience.


On December 5, 2014 Ethics and Culture Hour premiered motorcyclist-adventurer Moin Khan’s documentary “Rediscovering Pakistan: The untold tale” based on his epic motorcycle journey in the northern areas of Pakistan, in company with 8 other motorcyclists from abroad. Their tour took them from Islamabad all the way to Khunjerab Pass at the Pakistan China border. This documentary, entirely an amateur production, presents the true image of the northern areas of Pakistan: ruggedly beautiful, welcoming and hospitable. The premier of this documentary was attended by over 75 people who could not help but feel inspired by what they saw.

Renowned ghazal and geet singer Tina Sani was invited to CBEC for an Ethics and Culture Hour event on September 13, 2014. She sang selected poems from Faiz, Iqbal and Rumi to a packed auditorium. Ms Tina Sani’s ability to connect with the audience makes ghazal evenings with her even more engaging as she describes each item she is about to sing, giving it context, so that the listeners know the history behind the poem.

Ms Sani included in her repertoire 17 verses from the Sufi poet Jalaluddin Rumi, translated from Persian to Urdu. These verses came to life with the masterly rendition of flutist Abid Ali whom Ms Sani had specially invited from Lahore. The audience, consisting of CBEC students and alumni, SIUT staff and members of the general public were mesmerized by the renditions.


In December, 2013, CBEC organized an ‘Ethics and Culture Hour’ featuring well-known architect and social activist, Dr. Arif Hasan, who traced the origins and historical development of Karachi and described its evolution in the last century from a small, orderly port city to a dense city teeming with millions and battling multiple problems.


In December, 2012, CBEC organized an Ethics and Culture Hour with the celebrated poet Iftikhar Arif, at the conclusion of the last teaching module of the academic year. Treating an audience of around a hundred and fifty people to a sparkling combination of wit, feeling and eloquence, Mr. Arif spoke about the current state of Urdu and reminisced about incidents from his past. His talk was followed by a recital of some of his best known poems, including one of his earliest poems to achieve fame, the poignant Barwan Khilari (The Twelfth Man).
Published compilations of Iftikhar Arif’s poetry include Mehr-i-Doneem (1983) and Kitab-e-Dil-o-Duniya (2009). His poetry has been translated into English and other languages and he is the recipient of the highest literary awards in Pakistan, including the Pride of Performance award.

In April 2012, CBEC organized a Mehfil-e-Ghazal with the well-known singer Salman Alvi, during the second teaching module of its academic year. Supported by an excellent team of musicians, Mr. Alvi’s wonderful rendition of ghazals and other forms of Urdu poetry enthralled an audience of around a hundred people. Also present at the session were CBEC’s foreign faculty and students who found the evening as engaging as the local audience.


I. A. Rehman was the the guest speaker at the Ethics and Culture Hour held in April, 2010. Mr. Rehman is a renowned human rights activist and is the Secretary General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. Mr. Rehman spoke on “Culture as the basis of human behavior”, giving his views on how culture shaped the behavior of the nation. The talk was attended by the students and alumni of the CBEC academic programs, staff and faculty of SIUT and also a large number of members of the general public.


Tina Sani was once again our guest at CBEC’s Ethics and Culture Hour in November, 2009, organized at the end of the first teaching Module for the academic year. She was invited to sing Allama Iqbal’s famous Shikwa and Jawab e Shikwa. Tina Sani’s expertise in rendering these poems of Iqbal was quite evident when she performed to a packed auditorium with an audience from all walks of life. The similarities in the situation that Muslims find themselves in today, and their condition a century ago when Iqbal penned these poems, was quite revealing. This event blended in very well with the Humanities and Bioethics module that our students had just attended, highlighting the close connection between literature and art with life as it is lived.

Farida Shaheed – Deputy Director of Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre, was invited to the Ethics and Culture Hour in April, 2009. She presented a narrative along with three other narrators entitled “Women asserting rights in Muslim Context: A foreign or indigenous agenda?” The narrative and accompanying slide show proved to be an effective and powerful modality for conveying her message. This presentation was based on her research work “Great Ancestors: Women asserting rights in Muslim Context” that Ms. Shaheed had published recently. The event was attended by the general public and professionals who participated in an intense question-answer session following the presentation. Ms. Farida Shaheed’s book “Great Ancestors” was also on sale at the event.

Muzzafar Iqbal, founder-president of Centre for Islam and Science, Canada, was invited to the Ethics and Culture Hour in March, 2009. He gave a talk entitled “The Legacy of al-Hallaj: Love, Martyrdom, and Poetry in the Land of Prophecy”. The event was attended by the general public and professionals. A lively question-answer session followed the talk. Dr. Iqbal autographed his book “Divan al-Hallaj” which was on sale in the foyer.

Nomanul Haq, from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lahore University of Management Sciences was invited to the Ethics and Culture Hour in February, 2009 to give a talk on “Revisiting the Chronic Question of Iqbal’s Philosophy and his Message.” He spoke about the importance of recognizing Iqbal on the basis of his poetic genius and not as a philosopher. According to Professor Haq, Iqbal’s poetry can stand up to any scrutiny whereas philosophy is not his strength and it is a disservice to the great poet to regard him as a philosopher.


In December, 2008, CBEC organized a Mehfil e Ghazal as part of the Ethics and Culture Hour program, with the renowned singer Salman Alvi. This was to commemorate the ending of the academic year for the PGD Class of 2008. Mr. Alvi lived up to his reputation and kept the audience spellbound with his excellent selection of Urdu ghazals and geet (both are different types of Urdu poetic forms).

In August, 2008, CBEC organized an Ethics and Culture Hour entitled “Poetry in Motion” with renowned dancer, Ms. Sheema Kermani. Assisted ably by two of her students, Ms. Kirmani gave a scintillating performance demonstrating the works of Amir Khusro, Bullay Shah and Faiz Ahmad Faiz. A brief description by Ms. Kermani of the great poets’ work that preceded each performance helped the audience relate the dancers’ movements to the written verses and made the event more memorable.


Tina Sani, a singer of world-wide fame, was invited in September, 2007, to perform a selection of works that highlight the struggle of man for freedom and emancipation. She enthralled the audience with a superb performance of carefully chosen poems.

Farid Esack from Harvard Divinity School was invited to speak on “On Being a Muslim: Finding a religious path in the world today” in July, 2007. He gave his views on the Muslim identity as he envisioned it in the contemporary age. This event was attended by a large number of people.

Ebrahim Moosa, a renowned Islamic Scholar from Duke University, gave a talk on “The Life and Times of Imam Al-Ghazali” in June, 2007. He spoke at length about the work of Al-Ghazali and how it has been interpreted by classical and modern scholars.

Mushtaq Yusufi, an eminent Urdu prose writer was the guest at the Ethics and Culture hour in April, 2007. Even though the event was publicized only through word of mouth, the auditorium was packed to capacity. Yusufi Sahib enthralled the audience with excerpts of his writings through various periods and kept people asking for more till the very end.


Zohra Nigah, a well known Urdu poet, spent an evening with us in June, 2006. She recited for the audience some of her well known and much loved verses and poems on war, human rights, discrimination against women, and the warmth of human relationships.


Iftikhar Salahuddin, Professor of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck surgery, with a passion for photography, history and traveling, gave a talk in June, 2005, on “Medicins Sans Frontiers”. Unlike the French NGO, Physicians Without Borders, Salahuddin was talking about physicians who have not been limited by borders imposed upon them by science and medicine and have excelled in areas other than their vocation, like the arts, adventure and literature.

Jawaid Ghamadi, a renowned Muslim scholar and head of the Al Mawrid Islamic Institute in Lahore, was invited to conduct the first session of the Ethics and Culture Hour in January, 2005. He spoke on “Islamic Perspectives of Organ Transplantation”.