To underscore the importance of peace and education, a cultural festival featuring traditional performing arts and Pashto poetry was held on Wednesday.
The event was attended by a large number of students, who appreciated the performers from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and tribal areas representing their culture.
Handicrafts, jewellery and musical instruments of Chitral and Afghanistan were also displayed in decorated stalls during the event.
The performers tried to highlight their traditions to show that militancy is not all their region should be known for.
Saeedullah, a student of the University of Peshawar who hails from Dabori in upper Orakzai Agency, said he was motivated to participate in the event to display his culture to the world.
Regarding the ongoing conflict in the agency, he said militants were on the backfoot as security forces have cleared 70 per cent of the area.
“We want to let the whole world know that we are peace-loving and violence doesn’t represent us,” he remarked.
Some of the stalls also displayed pictures of destruction in the aftermath of drone attacks.
“Drones are killing innocent people including women and children, which should be stopped immediately,” said Umar Wazir, another Peshawar University student belonging to North Waziristan.
Umar was of the view that his hometown is completely peaceful with no military operation being carried out at present.
Riaz Darmal, president of Afghan students in K-P, said the culture on both sides of the Durand Line was the same, adding that participating in the event was a pleasant experience for Afghan students.
He said Afghan people have kept their culture alive despite a three-decade long civil war and they want to see peace in the world.
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, who was the chief guest on the occasion, urged the youth to fight against terrorism through education and cultural promotion.
“Stopping one’s sister or daughter from going to school is not Pakhtun culture, in which women and children aren’t attacked and sanctity of mosques is maintained even in vendettas,” said Hussain.
The event was organised by Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme, a non-profit organisation. Hussain also distributed prizes among participants.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 10th, 2012.
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