Artistes of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) on Sunday demanded that the provincial government launch an annual folk music festival apart from launching an exchange programme for cultural troupes of artistes to promote peace through music in the region.
This was demanded by artistes of the province as they passed multiple resolutions unanimously on Sunday to mark ‘Music Freedom Day’. An event in this regards was jointly organised by the Peshawar Press Club Cultural Committee and the Cultural Journalists Forum (CJF) of Peshawar at the Zubair Mir Hall.
Addressing a news conference, the artistes first condemned the killing of fellow artistes in the province over the past few months.
Ihtisham Toru, the chief of the Press Cultural Committee said that awareness must be raised amongst the people regarding the significance of art and artistes in society.
Moreover, Toru said that artistes from the tribal districts deserve special attention.
Senior folk singer Khial Mohammad, who chaired the event, said that after serving Pashto music for over six decades he could no longer perform. But, he said that it was sad to see that the artistes ’ community was in such a poor state.
In a choking voice, he urged that artistes, who are symbols of peace, should not be treated like beggars in the street.
Artistes and other speakers at the event urged the provincial government to implement their cultural policy in letter and spirit by fulfilling the promise of setting up an art academy and an endowment fund for the welfare of artistes.
A book on Pashto artists, called ‘Fankaar Na Maree’ ( An artist never dies), by writer Laiqzada Laiq was also launched. It contains profiles of around 30 popular Pashto folk singers, including those who are currently living and those who have passed away.
Professor Abaseen Yousafzai, Prof Abid Ali Khattak, Pashto film star Shahid Khan, Ustad Nazeer Gul and Rashid Khan also spoke during the event.
Noted folk singers including, Ahmad Gul, Gulab Khel, Fazal Akbar Rahi, Jalil Shabnam, Abshaan Masih Zulfiqar Bhatti, Mashal Khan, Haroon Razaq Maish and Ali Khan performed at the event.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 4th, 2019.