Photo: White Star
Photo: White Star

Noted artists and performers on Sunday invited immediate attention of the government to resolve their longstanding issues including releasing monthly stipend, provision of security, preservation of fast disappearing traditional music tools, launching of endowment fund, art academy and special package for artists of the merged tribal districts.

Through several resolutions passed unanimously, the artists demanded of the government to launch an annual folk music festival and exchange of troupes of artists to promote peace through music in the region.

An event to mark Music Freedom Day was conducted under the auspices of Takhleeq Development Foundation (TDF) at the auditorium of culture directorate, in which folk singers Master Ali Haider, Sana Tajik and Dilraj performed.

Singers seek enforcement of cultural policy in letter and spirit on music day

Arshad Hussain, chief of TDF, on the occasion said that artists of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa suffered a lot owing to militancy and should be compensated to address their serious financial issues. He stressed the need for ameliorating the plight of artists and singers.

Haji Aslam, author of a book on folk singers, said that artists had been facing many threats including financial constraints but both public and government would require joint efforts to save art and artists to paint a beautiful image by sending a strong message of peace and pluralism to the globe.

The participants of the event condemned killing of artists and rising violence against them in the province during the last few months.

A new Pashto book titled ‘Fankaar Na Maree’ (artist never dies) by Laiqzada Laiq that contained profiles of around 30 popular Pashto singers was also launched on the occasion.

The government was urged to implement cultural policy in letter and spirit by fulfilling promise of setting up an art academy and endowment fund for the welfare of artists.

Ihtisham Toru, chief of Press Cultural Committee, on the occasion said that awareness should be raised among people regarding the significance of art and artists in the society. He said artists hailing from the tribal districts deserved special attention.

The cultural committee of Peshawar Press Club and Cultural Journalists Forum (CJF) jointly organised an event to mark the Music Freedom Day. The event was attended by art critics, artists and music lovers in a large number.

Senior singer Khial Mohammad, who chaired the event, said that having served Pashto music for over six decades, he was no longer in the position to perform but it grieved him much to see artists in poor condition. He pleaded in a choking voice that at least artists, being symbol of peace, shouldn’t be treated like beggars.

Prof Abaseen Yousafzai, Prof Abid Ali Khattak, Pashto film star Shahid Khan, Ustad Nazeer Gul and Rashid Khan also spoke on the occasion.

Artists sang Pashto, Hindko, Seraiki, Chitrali and Urdu hit numbers to show national unity and cultural diversity. Noted singers Ahmad Gul Ustad, Gulabkhel, Fazal Akbar Rahi, Jalil Shabnam, Abshaan Masih Zulfiqar Bhatti, Mashal Khan, Haroon Razaq Maish and Ali Khan also performed at the event.


Originally published in Dawn, March 4th, 2019

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