Pakistan is endowed with immense blessings. The country has all of nature's gifts from lush green forests, the world’s highest mountain ranges, to oyster pearls and seashells washed onto Pakistan’s beaches by the sea.
These seashell are used by skilled craftsmen and artisans who work with oyster shells to create works of art admired by all who come across them.
The beautiful handicraft created by these gifted people earned praise from local and foreign tourists. The demand for artefacts has sharply increased in all four provinces besides Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
To meet this demand, the cottage industry is experiencing a spurt in activity while the federal government has formulated a strategy to develop this industry and promote this work all over the world.
Shafqat Kanwal, who lives in France Colony, a slum area of Islamabad, told The Express Tribune that he learnt the art of making rare masterpieces from oyster shells from his father. He now has a stall in the Lok Virsa craft bazaar, a subsidiary of the Ministry of National Heritage.
He said that after the death of his father who worked for decades in this field, he joined his ancestral profession. He buys oyster shells from Karachi and makes jewellery and photo frames out of them.
Shafqat, however, added that the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the problems faced by Lok Virsa. He demanded that the government should provide them with loans on easy terms so that their skill can be preserved for future generations, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2021.
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