Sona Chandi

Saturday: 21/3 @ 5:00 p.m. - Venue: Olomopolo, Lahore

By Moin Ul Haq | Moin ul haq is a writer, who runs a blog and often contributes to various publications. He is also an activist and staunch supporter of liberal values in the sphere of life.

A bitter reality is that in order to become an equally respected member of society, wealth plays a crucial part. However indigenous queer minorities were deprived of opportunities and economic platforms that provide earning prospects. Thus these precious members of society were left behind.

In this dialogue we will talk about, opportunities available in economic paradigm, how to in-cash them and further how to make a living from them.

Panelist: Sufyan Akhtar is an E-Commerce Professional, Digital Marketer, entrepreneur, Freelancer & Social Worker. He has worked with many well-reputed Organizations such as (E-lan, Alfatha, and Nishat). As a freelancer, he has provided his services to many international brands and organizations. As an entrepreneur he is currently working on 3 projects:

  •         First project is (E-Ticketing Platform for event Management/Buses/Air Tickets).
  •         Second is Blogger about Promoting E-Commerce Business in Pakistan.
  •         Third is Seller at Different Marketplaces (Daraz, Amazon & eBay)

Moreover, he is working on a project to promote education & entrepreneurship.


Liar, Lawyer, and Law

Sunday: 22/3 @ 4:00 p.m. - Venue: Olomopolo, Lahore

By Moin Ulhaq | Moin ul haq is a writer, who runs a blog and often contributes to various publications. He is also an activist and staunch supporter of liberal values in the sphere of life.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. During the Delhi rule of sub-continent, art, culture, religion, society, and economy transformed and cherished the new horizon of liberalization. However, at the same time sub-continent fell prey to East India Company and the process of making sub-continent a jewel in the crown of the superpower initiated.

Liars played a part in mending the norms, culture, and traditions of indigenous communities. Whereas lawyers were front foot soldiers for establishing the colonial writ of British Raj. Anyhow British Raj fell victim to sands of time and the subcontinent gained its freedom. While leaving Britain left its colonial law, which is still implemented in states of sub-continent.

In this dialogue, we will talk about colonial laws related to LGBTQ+ individuals, amendments made in them and reforms that are needed.

Panelist: Waiza Rafique is a practicing lawyer and Founder of Waiza Rafique Advocates and Consultants (WRALC). She is the Additional Secretary-General of the Gender Equality and Diversity Committee, Lahore High Court Bar Association.  She has done LL.B (Hons.), Post Graduate Diploma in International Affairs and in Banking Laws with distinctions. She regularly writes for different newspapers and online portals and is often invited by the media to speak on socio-political and legal issues. She has worked with various organizations like PILDAT, RSIL, Pakistan Consumers Bureau and international organizations for social welfare, gender equality and youth empowerment.


Anti-Trans Violence and Transphobia

Tuesday: 24/3 @ 6:00 p.m. - Venue: Mocca Coffee, DHA phase 5, Lahore

Transgender people face an epidemic of anti-trans violence. Whether it occurs on the streets, in public institutes, in our homes, or at the hands of law enforcement agencies, staggering levels of violence persist even as trans equality advances. The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance serves as a somber reminder of the losses suffered because of senseless and unjust acts of cruelty against transgender people. Transgender people also experience heightened rates of family and intimate partner violence and sexual assault and are frequently re-victimized when they seek help. Unfortunately, law enforcement is often part of the problem, discrimination, stigmatization and police violence are the reason that affects transgender people and mostly transgender people are uncomfortable seeking police assistance or seeking justice for their basic human rights.

To address this topic in detail, we will host a panel discussion with the representative of law enforcement agencies, prominent transgender community members and the representative from judicial rights-based organization. 

This will be co-host by Rooh-e-Khalida and Justice Project Pakistan (JPP).

  • Rooh-e-Khalida is a newly established non-profit organization, the main purpose of this organization is to help and prevent transgender people and other minorities from facing police and civil society violence and crimes.
  • Justice Project Pakistan is a non-profit organization based in Lahore that represents the most vulnerable Pakistani prisoners facing the harshest punishments, at home and abroad. JPP investigates, litigates, educates, and advocates on their behalf.  


Women’s Rights; where do we actually stand today?

Sunday: 29/3 @ 6:00 p.m. - Venue: T2F, Karachi

According to the website, Gender Concerns International, the status of women in Pakistan varies considerably across classes, regions and the rural/urban divide due to the uneven socioeconomic development and the impact of tribal and feudal social formations on women’s lives. Overall, improvements in women’s rights are spreading through Pakistan and an increasing number of Pakistani women are educated and literate. Religious groups and civil society are increasingly denouncing violence against women. The All Pakistan Ulema Council (the largest groups of religious clergy in Pakistan) have issued a Fatwa against honor killings. Courts have answered the call by women’s rights advocates throughout the country and delivered harsher punishments for violent crimes against women.

To talk about women’s rights status in Pakistan today, we will invite women from different minority groups and talk about women’s rights and empowerment. 

This will be co-host by SubRang Society and Q-Karachi.


What is Normal, a discussion about Gender identity

Monday: 23/3 @ 6:00 p.m. - Venue: Community Space, Lahore(for info email: lahore@aksfestival.com)

There is a difference between “sex” and “gender.” Sex is “biological” while gender is “psychological,” “social,” or “cultural.” A person’s gender can be different from a person’s sex. Gender is thus “socially constructed” in the sense that, unlike biological sex, gender is a product of society. Therefore it is valid to claim that gender is socially constructed through our everyday practices, whether we are aware of the construction or not. If society determines what is masculine or feminine, then society can change what is considered masculine, feminine, or anything in between. No one needs to be locked into fixed gender categories. Any individual is free to identify their gender as they see fit.

To illuminate gender roles and its construction, we will invite experts to discuss this topic and question normativity and societal norms.

This event will be co-host by HOPE