Literary festival in Quetta ends with calls for spotlight on Balochistan

Literary festival in Quetta ends with calls for spotlight on Balochistan

The Pakistan Literature Festival included several sessions from actors, comedians and a closing speech by the Balochistan chief minister.
17 May, 2024

The two-day Pakistan Literature Festival (PLF) in Quetta concluded on Thursday with assorted sessions where speakers called for more spotlight on Balocshitan’s issues and the importance of cultural activities for youth.

The event, organised by the Arts Council of Pakistan (ACP) Karachi in the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engine­ering and Management Sciences (Buitems), received heavy footfall of literature and cultural enthusiasts who attended multiple sessions.

One of the sessions titled ‘National Media and Balochistan’ discussed the role of mainstream new channels in highlighting the province’s issues.

Anchor Absa Komal moderated the session with journalists Mazhar Abbas, Shahzeb Jillani, Shahzada Zulfiqar, Rafat Saeed, and Shahid Rind as panellists. The speakers minced no words while talking about the treatment of mainstream media towards Balochistan.

They lamented that Balochistan “was not even part of the mainstream media discourse” to the extent that not a single news show was aired from Balochistan on private TV channels.

One of the speakers said that even the national broadcaster, Pakistan Television, does not broadcast dramas, musicals and other programmes from Baloch­istan.

Another session titled ‘Bushra Ansari: The One and Only’ was held in recognition of one of the country’s most prominent female artists.

Ms Ansari was part of the panel during the session moderated by actor Yasir Hussain.

In a candid moment, she asked the participants who among them wanted to take up acting and music as careers. Her question received an enthusiastic affirmation as several boys and girls raised their hands.

She told the crowd about her starting point as a child artist and reminded them that hard work was the most important requirement of the profession.

‘Punjab’s love for Balochistan’

A fun-filled session was ‘Hasna Hasana Sohail Ahmed (Azizi) Kay Sath’.

Mr Ahmed, the famed comedian, was the panellist on the eponymous show where he professed Punjab’s love for Balochistan.

“The people of Punjab love the people of Balochistan,” he said while standing on the stage.

“This is the message of my people. They have a lot of sympathy for you,” he said while lamenting that some misunderstandings have been created by the rulers.

The closing ceremony was attended by Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti who was the chief guest. He was welcomed by ACP Karachi’s president, Mohammad Ahmed Shah.

He thanked the ACP for the festival and acknowledged the efforts of his government and the Buitems vice chancellor to bring literature, arts, showbiz and journalism enthusiasts to Quetta.

CM’s address

In his address, Mr Bugti decried the rhetoric about Balochistan where its people “who are already at the receiving end” were blamed for problems instead of the state, which was responsible for providing facilities like health and education to its citizens.

He also spoke extensively on the pessimism among Balocshitan’s young population, saying that the youth were disappointed with the government.

“Our youth is wandering aimlessly with degrees [but] jobs are being sold,” the CM claimed, and vowed that this won’t happen in his tenure as he would promote merit in public appointments.

On the issue of harmony between Baloch and Punjabis, the CM said it was important to retain the professors of Punjabi and other languages in Balochistan universities.

He stressed the importance of negotiations in eliminating terrorism from the province.

Originally published in Dawn, May 17th, 2024


Taj Ahmad May 17, 2024 08:26pm
Simply great and amazing, let it go this festival all big cities every year in Pakistan.