BAHALWALPUR: Cholistan, now a desert, was a prosperous land irrigated by River Ghaghra and River Sutlej, Federal Minister for Technical Training Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada said on Sunday.
Addressing the 14th Cholistan Awards ceremony at the Islamia University of Bahawalpur (IUB), he said that unfortunately the country’s rulers had sold the Sutlej river and the Ghaghra lay buried beneath sand dunes. However, he said the Cholistan civilisation remained grand.
He said that the area’s heritage had been plundered by foreign invaders.
Dr Muhammad Abdouhou Attiyan, representative of the Saudi Arabia ambassador, lauded the services of the Cholistan Development Council (CDC).
IUB Vice Chancellor Professor Muhammad Mukhtar said that the university planned to collaborate with the CDC to initiate cultural conservation projects.
South Asia Partnership Deputy Director Irfan Mufti said the Cholistan Awards paid tribute to the brave people of the area.
CDC director Farooq Ahmed Khan said the Cholistan Awards had achieved international status.
He said that the IUB collaboration will help provide education to every toba (hamlet) in Cholistan.
Folk music in Seraiki, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto and Punjabi languages was performed. Folk artists Jameel Parwan, Naseer Mastana, Bashir Baloch, Haseen Khanum, Anjum Khanum, Kiran afreen, Kaura Bhagat, Sumar Bheel and Nago Lal were amongst the performers.
Punjab Assembly member Haji Zulfiqar Ali, CDC patron-in-chief Syed Masood Shah, CDC chairperson Syed Murtaza Shah, Dr Javed Iqbal and Dr Munir Azhar besides IUB students attended the ceremony.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2012.