ISLAMABAD: The first international, online mushaira was organized by the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) on Wednesday.
The activity offered a breath of fresh air for those who are confined to their homes due to a lockdown amidst the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, said Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training and National Heritage and Culture Shafqat Mahmood during the online mushaira. The mushaira was presided over by senior poet Iftikhar Arif. Poets from across Pakistan and around the world.
Mahmood said that without the co-operation and joint efforts of the government, social organizations and individuals, it is not possible to overcome this pandemic and its impacts.
“The government is aware of its responsibility to protect our people. In the global perspective, our region is facing many problems with scarce resources, but the government is working hard to ensure that the poor may face the least problems,” he said.
The minister hoped that the academy's online activities will be an inspiration to those who love literature. With the hope that things will return to normal soon, he said that PAL will continue playing its role in furthering ties between writers and the people by utilizing modern technology.
In this regard, the minister announced that they will be launching the online "Umeed-e-Zeest Award" under PAL.
PAL Chairman Dr Yousuf Khushk said that they are working on modern lines for the promotion of literature and welfare of writers.
He said that writers, who are limited to their houses, can stay in touch with each other through such activities and beat psychological stress. He added that history is replete with examples of masterpieces written under difficult circumstances.
Arif said that in this epidemic, the PAL’s Mushaira is like a spring, in which poets from Pakistan and around the world can participate.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2020.