QUETTA: After a gap of nearly seven years, a three-day Children’s Literature Festival (CLF) was held to project historic traditions of the province and create awareness among the children.
The festival was organised by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi at the Balochistan Residential College (BRC) Turbat. It was inaugurated by wife of Commander Southern Command Mrs Asim Bajwa.
A large number of children from Turbat, Panjgur and remote areas like Pasni participated in the festival.
Former minister Zubaida Jalal played a vital role in organising the festival while the wife of DG FC South, and other women also attended the festival.
Founder of CLF and Trustee of Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi, Baela Raza Jamil expressed her happiness and said, “It is very encouraging to see that the children of Turbat and other areas are aware and want access to better educational facilities. Organising a successful festival in Turbat is like a dream come true.”
Zubaida Jalal said, “Balochistan is the centre of traditions. Meri Qila, Mehrgarh and Nani Mandir have been reflecting our true heritage and customs of Baloch civilisations for thousands of years.”
She said that it was necessary to project the historic traditions and create awareness among the children, adding that the last children’s event was held in 2011 and they would work together to have more such ones.
She also said that they had to promote the habit of learning and amend the curriculum to promote peace and tolerance.
At the festival, several awareness sessions were conducted for children in different halls of BRC.
The session halls were given names from local tradition like Meri Qila, Haji Jalal Khan Rind, Mehrgarh, Gul Khan Naseer, Princess of Hope, Atha Shadh, Syed Zahoor Shah Hashmi, Shahi Tump, Mullah Fazul, Mir Chakar Khan and Gidaan.
In the session ‘Today’s Readers, Tomorrow’s Leaders’, Rumana Hussain, Zubaida Jalal and Raheela Baqai informed the enthusiastic students about the importance of reading and how it broadened not only one’s vision but also opened up the heart and mind.
“With the availability of e-books online, access has become easier,” they added. The session was moderated by Khursheed Hyder.
Eminent journalist and author Zubeida Mustafa spoke at the session ‘Sunno, Dekho aur Bolo’. The session was interactive as children asked the author many questions. Raheela Baqai from OUP informed the keen participants that there was more than just writing and publishing a book. Bookmaking too could be considered an art and she explained the various stages of making a book. Another star attraction at the festival was Atif Badar, who had the children’s attention in an interactive talk on the ‘Various Stages of Theatre Productions’.
A special session regarding formal education in Madrassas was organised by the Balochistan Rural Support Programme. The panellists were Zubaida Jalal and Balochistan Rural Support Programme CEO Nadir Gul Barech.
The session focused on the need of formal education in Madrassas to help the counter-extremism narrative.
One of the attractions at the CLF Turbat was the unique 3D images and sand art, in which the images seemed realistic. Creations by Zubair Mukhtar, Bahar Ali Gauhar and Hussain Zeb, the trio from Pasni, were on display at the BRC grounds. Excited children were seen at stalls of photography exhibition, making of traditional Baloch music instruments and local embroideries.
The chief guest at the closing ceremony was Begum Qamar Bajwa, wife of COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa.
She was welcomed by Zubaida Jalal and Baela Raza Jamil.
The chief guest stressed on the importance of education and appreciated the organisers for arranging such a wonderful festival for the children of Makran belt. She visited the activity stalls and distributed prizes among winning students.