The Literary Evenings Series: A String of Events All Across Pakistan

The Literary Evenings Series: A String of Events All Across Pakistan

Words and Metaphors:

Somewhere in the humdrum that was the year 2017, Daastan’s co-founder Sidra Amin took it upon herself to launch a platform that worked solely for the propagation of literature through offline events. For months before the forum was founded, Sidra hunted for literati and like-minded individuals with a heart filled with sheer love for literature and related arts. In mid-summer, it finally came into being, and was named Words and Metaphors. They had the pleasure of introducing to KPK its very first spoken word performance by their debut artist Mr. Kayenaat Hameed Khattak.

Literary Evenings Volume 1:

Almost a year later, Daastan powered what was to become the signature event series of Words and Metaphors, titled Literary Evenings. The idea was to initiate a chain of events solely focused on encouraging the literature invested local community artists, and bring their work out into the open. The first volume of Literary Evenings, held in the city of Peshawar, had a two-tiered agenda. The first, was to hold a Poetry Slam Contest between the poets of the city, in both Urdu and English. The contest was divided into three rounds, each with its own unique theme to challenge the performer and their written content. A panel of three exceptionally qualified judges was assembled, which consisted of a research scholar pursuing her MPhil in Literature, Founder Daastan, and Co-founder Words and Metaphors, each especially suited to evaluate the poet’s abilities of speech, written word and body language.

The second purpose of the event was to hold a book launch for the most talented writer of Qissa, who also had the honor of being the fastest crowd funded author of Daastan, Ms. Laiba Sehrish Nawaz. Her book, Abduction from the Lethe, had hundreds of entries of poem and prose, which she had written since she was a little child, as well as art and photography that resonated with her work.

The turnout of Literary Evenings Vol. 1

The Footprint:

The event had an astounding turnout. More than 50 people showed up to witness the rise of the empire of literature, and cheer for those who had accomplished their dreams and visions related to it. The guest of honor was Dr. Nasir Jamal Khattak, a professor at the University of Peshawar who wowed the crowd with his soul-searching talk about realizing one’s inner potential.

Prof. Dr. Nasir Jamal Khattak, the guest of honor of the event

Three winners of the Poetry Slam contest were selected and were awarded gifts from Daastan. The book launch also received media coverage from multiple news channels, such as Geo News.

If you require services to organize a literary event offline, reach out and drop a message with Daastan or Words and Metaphors.

A Pakistani Girl Helps Save the Planet in Teetoo and Tania, a Story Brought to You by Daastan

A Pakistani Girl Helps Save the Planet in Teetoo and Tania, a Story Brought to You by Daastan

The year of 2017 has been an especially jam-packed one for Daastan’s flight to amazing heights. We have seen Daastan take over previously unventured media spaces, such as interviews and coverage on TV, Radio and Print media. So, when the opportunity to be able to write the script for and help create Pakistan’s first ever animated tv project arose, a show aimed specially at the younger generation, the team was overjoyed and jumped right in.

Tania Saves the Day:

Teetoo and Tania, a Unicorn Black Production, which is the creation, direction and production of Haroon, focuses on an all too familiar story, of Earth being judged as a target for extermination by an inter galactic council, due to its huge and negatively impactful indulgence in the industry of weapons and materials of mass destruction. The bureaucrat, also known as Teetoo, is sent to determine whether the situation on Earth is as dire as the council has been informed. Making pit stops around the world, his decision to exterminate is all but made, when he crashes and lands on the only country left which is to be adjudicated; Pakistan.
Seeing his spaceship crashing, Tania, the protagonist of the series, helps Teetoo and saves his life. Ever grateful, Teetoo tries to warn Tania, and encourages her to leave Earth. She is horrified at the prospect of seeing her fellow humanity vanquished only due to the wrong practices of a few, and is determined to change Teetoo’s mind, by telling him all about the good people who exist on Earth, especially in Pakistan.

First episode of Teeto and Tania

The Series:

The series is composed of a total of 16 episodes, which were aired every week in the winters of 2017, with repeat telecasts, on PTV Home. Starting from the very first one, which featured Eidhi and his story of selflessness and service which has the ability to grip any kindly mind, each episode focused on a hero of Pakistan, the tale of their service simplified so as to help the children watching understand. These heroes were featured from all walks of life, with the series having dedicated episodes for each one. A few personas celebrated were Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner, and a female education activist, Aitzaz Hasan, the young boy from Hangu who sacrificied his own life to prevent a suicide bombing, Mona Parkash, Parveen Rao and Mushtaq Chhapra (TCF) who are involved in the promotion of education, along with other celebrated names such as Ghulam Fatima, Muniba Mazari, Shehzad Roy, Abrarul Haq, and Dr Ruth Pfau who was awarded the Hilal e Imtiaz for her selfless efforts to eradicate leprosy in Pakistan.

If you have in mind the next hit plot, and require script writing services, drop us an email at to materialize that vision to reality!

Pursue the World of your Imaginations with The Stories Untold Season 3

Pursue the World of your Imaginations with The Stories Untold Season 3

In the wake of the success of the first two seasons of Daastan’s signature story writing competition “The Stories Untold”, one of which landed the team a fund of significant enough amount to bring the shortlisted authors of the competition to print, Daastan launched the third magical (pun intended) season of The Stories Untold sponsored by Aurochs, in collaboration with Words and Metaphors, during the summer of 2017. It was the team’s plan to continue fueling the fire of literature and encourage the creative ones among the public to squeeze out all they had and a bit more, and spin it into a tale. By continuing to hold the contest biannually, Daastan had uncovered a whole trove of creative writers and word magicians, who kept coming back to participate in the subsequent seasons and dazzled us with their unbounded potential.

Magical Pursuits:

Having addressed the serious and thought-provoking side of literature in the theme of the previous two seasons, the founders of Daastan decided to lighten the mood with a bit of fairy dust and themed the third season of the recurring competition, “Magical Pursuits”. This theme was picked to challenge the wildly imaginative among us, who have the creativity to step out from the door of reality into a world of magic, driven by the author’s self-made laws of the creation present there-in. Daastan made the perfect choice in the selection of the theme, as the literature of Pakistan was severely lacking in this genre, and so the entries poured in.

The Competition:

As proven by the previous competitions, hundreds of authors toiled to be a part of our family. Stories of 4000-6000 words were submitted to us in both English as well as Urdu, and all of them were screened very carefully to filter out the top few. The stories were judged mostly on the basis on the impact they created on the reader, on the writer’s ability to whip up whole plot lines and characters without loopholes, and how closely they stuck to the theme of fantasy. It was a battle of mythical levels, and the results were finally posted a couple weeks after the deadline closed.

Season 3 of Stories Untold, themed “Magical Pursuits”

In Pursuit of the Ultimate Winner:

The top 25 of English stories, and top 10 of Urdu, were thereon assigned to a team lead who acted as mentor and guided their writers to better their stories by having one-on-one sessions with them over 15 days, giving the writers a chance to strengthen their story and improve any mistake they may have made. The result was announced as top 15, followed by top 5 best stories, which trickled down to the undisputed singular winner in each language. The winning stories, True Justice by Naveed Sheharyar Khan and Kahani Jibraeel ki by Sonia Mukhtar were published in print, while the finalists were all published digitally.

Want to be a part of the next Stories Untold Competition? Keep an eye out for the updates on our Facebook page!

Qissa Flies to New Heights After Getting Upgrades

Qissa Flies to New Heights After Getting Upgrades

Since its launch in the fall of 2016, many writers, novelists, readers and literary geeks have cozily nested at Qissa, making it a home for their writings. And it is for all these like-minded fellows that Daastan continually strive to improve the experience of the platform. Each day, we focused on opening our doors in newer and better ways to the public invested in improving their lives by incorporating literature into it. It is with this attitude of constantly bettering the platform and making the experience unlike any our community had ever experienced online before, that we incorporated a search bar, advance analytics of our author’s work, and many such nitty-gritty details. We addressed the issues that arose regarding the reading experience on phone browsers and made it seamless so it was available to all, no matter their mode of access. We also refined the website rating module so the authors could receive constructive criticism as well as due praise related to their works.

Founder, Mr. Syed Ommer Amer, on Qissa

Qissa 2.0:

The second big upgrade that followed, in the same year of its launch, was the incorporation of an in-built editor on the Qissa dashboard that supported not only English but also most of the major regional languages such as Urdu, Pashto, Sindhi, Punjabi etc., which put us ahead of any reading tool available online, enabling us to empower the writers of the languages and reawaken multiple dying literature industries, immortalizing them digitally. 

Qissa 3.0 – The Talent Pool:

In the year 2017, our focus was furthering the betterment of the platform. We envisioned to raise it from a simple reading tool and self-publishing platform and introduce a game changing feature – Pakistan’s first creative marketplace that highlighted the professionals from our family in all their glory. The marketplace, otherwise dubbed as the ‘Talent Pool’ contained differently skilled and talented individuals, previously hidden behind the curtain, visible only to the team of Daastan. With Qissa 3.0, they were finally brought out into the open along with their gifts, including their previous writings and work-related history. Any individual or business looking for content solutions, an editor, a digitizer, or any such tailored request related to the industry, could now easily browse among our hand-picked finest, who were updated periodically, and hire them as per their requirements. They could also reach out to us on Daastan to get a quote.

Always on the Top of its Game:

Near the end of the year, Qissa faced a huge data loss, in which more than 1000 accounts, and 70 books were lost. What followed was weeks of sleepless nights for the team, which eventually led to the restoration of most of the work, as well as the inclusion of a security system so as to ensure no such incident would ever happen again. Qissa not only pulled through, but also came out better.


We ran a social media campaign where we recovered more than 70% of our lost data manually through community support. We keep stressing it again and again that we are nothing without the support of our community. Thank you everyone who stepped forward, when we needed you the most.

To experience the upgraded portal for yourself, and gain access to hundreds of literary masterpieces and opportunities, sign up on Qissa!  

Bringing Words to Life Through a Podcast Project: Nashist

After having read the entries of The Stories Untold Season 2 on the theme of “A War Within”, the team of Daastan found themselves incredibly moved because of each of the stories. They wanted to help further market these snippets of reality, to bring bits and pieces of it served as hors d’oeuvres to the readers so as to build their appetite for the main course of the meal – the book – that was to follow. The idea was to make the story penned down more relatable, to humanize the words, and build the audience’s relationship with their writers, helping the readers sense the emotions that ran through the authors as the phrases were put to paper.


The resulting movement that ensued, an innovative and ahead of its time podcast series, was named Nashist. Nashist, an Urdu word, literally translates to a ‘gathering’ or a ‘seated assembly’, and that is the exact effect we wanted to produce. We wanted our readers to come together as one and listen with their hearts while one of their own quoted the books, heavily focusing on the sentiments each word entailed. Each week, one of the top five finalists of The Stories Untold from each language was chosen, and a selection made from among its pages that would draw the listener’s breath away. One of our literary fellows of the debut batch would then narrate the appointed lines, over heavenly music produced by Moonlight Studios. The storytelling was done in such a brilliant manner that it shook the listener’s mind, helping them associate with the writer and empowering the writers by helping them communicate in a much more personal manner with their readers.

A few of the books chosen for the podcast included Across the Line by Abhirun Das, A War Within by Aaina Batool, as well Urdu books like Jahan Ara by Saba Ahmad and Ye Bande Tere Albele Se by Fatima Ambereen. The series was powered by PeaceTech Lab, PeaceTech Pakistan, and Technology for People Initiative, in partnership with The Ancient Souls and Young Women Writers’ Forum.