To highlight the importance of mountains and the communities that dwell on it, a two-day ‘Mountain Cultural Showcase’ kicked off in the federal capital on Saturday.
The event was organised by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan) in connection with the eighth Pakistan Mountain Festival.
The event, held at the National Heritage Museum Lok Virsa, featured cultural performances of mountain communities, screening of documentaries on adventure sports and the mountains, an exhibition of paintings by 20 art teachers and a display of handicrafts and horticultural products made by mountain community members.
Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) Deputy Mayor Zeeshan Ali Naqvi said that mountains are a wonderful part of the planet full of resources which we need to protect and conserve.
“We also need to take care of the people living in these mountains. Their education, health and livelihood depend on the integrated sustainable strategies where human beings should be focused upon,” the deputy mayor said.
Naqvi suggested launching a ‘hill safari’, modelled on desert safaris offered elsewhere, to promote tourism in the federal capital apart from highlighting the importance of the mountains for adventure sports.
He also endorsed and appreciated the idea of a Pakistan Mountain Youth Parliament which aims to engage the youth to help them to work for the betterment of the environment.
Dr Nadeem Omar said that as mountain destinations get urbanized, it not only threatens the indigenous biodiversity but also indigenous cultures as well.
He said every part of the mountain has a peculiar culture and a range of handicrafts and agri-products.
“We need to develop cultural marketing plans by engaging young and educating people in microenterprises,” he suggested.
Devcom-Pakistan Director and founder Pakistan Mountain Festival Munir Ahmed urged the youth to synergise to raise their collective voices against the fast degradation of the country’s ecosystem.
He said that not only is the changing climate impacting the mountains but the ignorance of the key stakeholders also contributes immensely to the loss of the cultures, ecosystems, habitats and natural resources.
He urged the government to control deforestation in the highlands to reduce the climate impact on the glaciers melting and the loss of water resources.
Environmentalist Ali Ahmed Jan said that environmental impact assessment was the missing component of development which has contributed to increased stress on nature and the natural environment.
He added while they have the requisite laws, they were not implemented. He urged the youth to realise the potential of their skills to empower the marginalised communities of their areas.
Several artisans from the mountain regions put on display their products. The youth folk music band from Chitral also performed on the occasion to making music lovers join in with their voices with the singers, swaying and dancing to the rhythm of traditional music.
Earlier in the week, a painting exhibition featuring as many as 70 pieces of art were put on display at the Rawalpindi Arts Council in connection with the mountain festival. The artworks had been painted by students in a bid to educate them about the importance of mountains and the threat they face owing to climate change impacts.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2018.