To streamline cultural and artistic activities marred by militancy and floods in Malakand division, the region’s Divisional Arts Council will be reconstituted. The decision was taken by the Malakand Division Commissioner Dr Fakhare Alam at his office in Saidu Sharif.
During the Taliban rule in Swat, all sorts of cultural activity were brought to an end. Several artists and musicians were killed, while others were severely punished. As a result, these artists had to leave the valley to save their lives.
The newly-formed council consists of renowned artists, writers and scholars from the area. The council’s chairman is the Malakand division commissioner, while the district coordination officer, executive district officer finance and planning and HRDO are members of the council. The council also includes Swati drama artist Bakht Rawan, a renowned writer Perwaish Shaheen, a renowned poet and scholar Fazal Mahmood Rokhan, a singer from Lilownai, Ijaz Ahmed, and Wazir Zada, an expert on Kalash culture.
Among the council members, Rokhan, considered the most active person, has always struggled for the improvement of literary and cultural activities in Swat. Talking about the activities of the newly-formed council, Rokhan said that regular exhibitions of different artists, poets, calligraphers, sculptors and literary circles will be initiated, along with school and college level activities.
He said that the council will also arrange national and international visits for its delegations.
The council has also decided to build a hall in Swat, which would be similar to the Nishtar Hall in Peshawar. In addition, arts council wings will also be set up in all districts of Malakand Division under the supervision of DCOs. The council will assist poets and writers in publishing their books, besides providing them medical aid.
The local artists in Swat have appreciated the step to revive arts and culture in Swat, and termed it as a “positive step” towards improving literary and cultural activities in Malakand Division.
The division commissioner, Alam, who has taken much interest in Swat’s cultural growth, assured the council that he would contact the concerned departments to receive all possible assistance for this purpose.
A notification for the reconstitution of Malakand Arts Council has also been sent to the departments of sports, culture, tourism, youth affairs, archaeology and museum of the provincial government.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2011.