Sindh Festival 2014: Fireworks to light up province for 15 days

Published: January 20, 2014
The event, being held from February 1 till 15, is being organised on a budget of Rs450 million, of which Rs150 million is funded by the government .

The event, being held from February 1 till 15, is being organised on a budget of Rs450 million, of which Rs150 million is funded by the government .


The first 15 days of February this year promise to put ‘Sindh on the map’ – at least this is what has been envisioned by its organisers who have come up with a detailed schedule which takes visitors from the ruins of Mohenjo Daro to the seaside for kite flying.

The Sindh Festival, a project initiated by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s patron-in-chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, aims to ‘revitalise the long-lost culture of harmony and peace’ of the province. Throughout the festival, fireworks will light up the skies of Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana and Thatta at 10pm sharp – a first in Sindh.

When asked about the budget for the elaborate festival, Sharmila Faruqi, the special assistant on culture to the chief minister, told The Express Tribune that the Sindh government was dipping into the Rs250 million budget for the culture department. “We have the amount and we are utilising it for the festival,” she said. According to the project manager, Fakhr-e-Alam, however, the government is providing only Rs150 million for the festival while Rs350 million is to be covered by sponsors. “It is the government’s venture and will become an annual event,” Alam reassured. “It will become a separate body one day and will work for the mission on its own — under the patronage of government of course.”

Every event and decision is being overlooked by Bilawal and while there is no apparent team in place to organise the event, his foreign friends are also said to be helping with the festival.

Save the date

The two-week Sindh Festival starts on February 1 with multiple events running side by side in different districts – Larkana, Hyderabad, Karachi and Thatta. “This is only our first year, and we hope to expand the festival across Sindh in the coming years,” said Alam.

Opening ceremony

With a promise to bring the ‘Mound of the dead’ back to life, the festival will kick start with a star-studded opening at the Mohenjo Daro in Larkana. “First time ever, one of the oldest civilisations of the world will be lit up. The place holds a lot of significance – we should revisit our roots and revitalise them,” said Alam, adding that a huge display of fireworks and laser lighting would be part of the night – all available for the people in their homes to see on live television. “We are still tweaking the final details which is why we can’t disclose too much information. Some of our prestigious guests are flying in from all over the world and we have rented a plane to commute them back and forth out of Karachi for events,” he added.

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Fuzon and other musicians are expected to perform at the ceremony while singer and comedian Ali Gul Pir will also unveil his song for the festival. “The diverse cultures of our land should be celebrated, not used as an excuse to divide the nation. I am proud to be part of an initiative that strengthens our bonds with Sindhi culture and ultimately celebrates the diversity of Pakistan,” Pir said while talking to The Express Tribune. “My song for the festival promotes Sindh’s culture and its union with Pakistan. For more, you’ll have to wait for the super saeen to take the stage!”

Festival City

The largest family park in South Asia sprawled across 130 acres, Bagh Ibne Qasim, will be the epicentre for the festival. The Festival City, the makeshift point for festivities from February 2 till February 15, will have four separate enclaves – Sindh enclave, international enclave, food enclave and children enclave. The Sindh enclave will feature the province’s specialties, such as ajraks, topis and cultural artifacts.

“We will have banners and posters across the park’s walls to give marketing space to our sponsors,” Alam said, adding that a huge screen might also be set up at the park for cinema viewing under the sky.

Art festival

Perhaps one of the most unique features of the festival is a peek into the late Benazir Bhutto’s private art collection. Bilawal has agreed to display 100 art collections of the former prime minister and leader of Pakistan Peoples Party at the Frere Hall.


Karachi’ites will also get to celebrate Basant as an official event, scheduled to be held on Saturday night and Sunday morning, February 8 and 9, at the Sea View. Boasting big name from across the border, Basant in Karachi is expected to be attended by Bollywood singer Mika Singh and Bhangra king Sukhbir Singh.

International Film Festival

Director Assad Zulfikar Khan, an upcoming filmmaker, has been tasked with looking after the International Film Festival, which is being held in collaboration with the Raindance Film Festival based in London. According to Khan, it will feature numerous award-winning films along with local film entries. A competition has also been planned to boost the enthusiasm of amateur filmmakers and the film industry of Pakistan.

Fashion Festival

The fashion festival will feature works by designers exclusively on Sindhi theme. The event, however, is not being looked after by Karachi’s own fashion gurus – instead, its management has been given to the son of the late Salman Taseer, Sheheryar Taseer.

Sufi Night

For those willing to spend Rs2,000, Keerti Sanghatiya, Abida Parveen, Masroor Fateh Ali and Sayee Zahoor will perform on February 7 at Bagh Ibne Qasim.

Ghazal Night

Aptly titled ‘Mohabbat Bhari’, a ghazal night has been planned for Valentine’s Day, featuring artists Talat Aziz, Ghulam Ali and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan at the DHA Moin Khan ground. Tickets for couples are priced at Rs5,000.

Grand Mushaira, Sindhi Music Mela

To bring back some indigenous music and poetry, a grand Mushaira will be held in Karachi on February 3. Meanwhile, local Sindhi singers will go on a 12-city tour between February 2 and February 15.

Fun for all

Known to be Asif Ali Zardari’s favourite sport, horse and cattle grand prix will take over the streets of Hyderabad on February 2 as part of the festival.

On the streets of DHA Phase VIII, a donkey derby with participation of Lyari residents, will take place on February 4. The donkey carts will be painted in neon colours while the jockeys will wear hi-tech gears. “Lyari’s residents are excited about this already – they have prepared their carts and we will facilitate them with hi-tech attire and props,” said Alam. A deep sea fishing tournament is also scheduled to be held on February 6 at Mubarak village.

Cricket Tournament

A professional cricket tournament is also part of the festival for sports enthusiasts. The series has already started and the finalists will play at the the Moin Khan Academy on February 13.

Show over

The closing ceremony will be held right next to the Keenjhar Lake in Thatta in an open ground. With lights, live music, fireworks and celebrities, the organisers hope to end the festival with a bang. Artists Atif Aslam, Ali Azmat, Bilal Khan, Asim Azhar and others are expected to perform live at the ceremony.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Ovais
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:13AM

    if only 500 million was used for KCR or for education. Bilawal thankyou for destroying karachi and sindh and now celebrating what you have destroyed


  • Afaaq
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:16AM

    There is no electricity, gas or any other basic commodity of life present in Sindh, but lets have fireworks instead!


  • Safwan
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:20AM

    This indeed a good project. But Sindh government should focus on its priorities as well: education, health and law and order. PPP has been in power in Sindh since the 70’s and they have been miserably failing to deliver any kind of result, we have been witnessing declining health, law and order and education standards. It’s time to reverse this trend, or else democracy is the best revenge (being wiped out from Sindh by another party just as they have been wiped out at the federal level).


  • Sunny
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:43AM

    Sounds Gr8, I hope they manage security and discipline


  • Ali
    Jan 20, 2014 - 2:44AM

    Good past time for the rich burgers of Sindh. Definitely worth spending the money on these luxuries in a province where scarcity of water is increasing on a daily basis, prices of food growing rapidly and crime rate at its peak.


  • karachiite
    Jan 20, 2014 - 3:46AM

    I request Bilawal to better use these resources and bring Karachi back on that development track that it was on under Mustafa Kamal.


  • kala_bacha
    Jan 20, 2014 - 3:59AM

    People of sindh dieing, there are places where there is no water or electricity and we spend >150 millions rupees on so called sindh festivals. Could Mr alam provide the list of sponsors or foreign friend’s. This is just another scam of PPP government to distribute free money like it was done in income support program 4 years back.


  • Max
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:22AM

    “According to the project manager, Fakhr-e-Alam, however, the government is providing only
    Rs150 million for the festival while Rs350 million is to be covered by sponsors.”

    Wow, half a BILLION going up in smoke for ‘culture’ while interior Sindh remains the most backward area of Pakistan. How about PPP spending this money on water, sanitation and education in Sindh?Recommend

  • Junaid
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:47AM

    @Afaaq: Yes, let’s be miserable till all of the above are fixed. Lighten up and appreciate. These events are intended to get people to forget about their problems, if only for a moment.


  • Gandalf
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:56AM

    @Max: It’s a shame you think culture is not worth preserving and presenting. Also, your figures are not accurate, sponsors would never spend money on water, sanitation and education, therefore the cultural department has still only spent Rs.150 million. Pseudo bureaucrats would do well to understand that governance is multifaceted, rather than exploring the depths of their cynicism.


  • Rumormonger
    Jan 20, 2014 - 12:07PM

    Nero plays the fiddle while Rome burns….


  • Max
    Jan 20, 2014 - 12:51PM

    One would like to ignore your rant but it would be more constructive to alleviate your ignorance. Taking example of just one company, Nestle, would disprove your insinuation. Read up on its rural initiatives in Pakistan which includes supply of clean drinking water:


  • awais memon
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:03PM

    its really a great step by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, we appreciate u for giving us the grand opportunity to let the world know our mighty SINDH… and it is my plea to people that “khuda ra ksi bat pe khush b hojaya karo”…. leave the pessimistic thinking…. and help them in whole scenorio, atleast they owe our moral support…Recommend

  • Bushra
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:06PM

    Check my take on Sindh Festival on my blog at


  • yasir
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:43PM

    Recent surveys have shown education indicators in sindh worse than FATA. Total waste of money.Recommend

  • Stellar
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:48PM

    Education, education and education should be the priority of the Sindh government. Sindh has the highest number of ghost schools in the country, mostly occupied by the powerful feudals. If the education system in the province do not improves, it will remain backward and impoverished. Need to learn a few things from Punjab province. Also the highest number of out of school children is in Sindh province…What a shameful and deplorable statistics. Bilawal listening???

  • Gandalf
    Jan 20, 2014 - 1:58PM

    @Max: One might look within oneself when speaking of ignorance. Has Nestle stopped working on these projects because the Sindh government decided to have a cultural exhibition? Thankfully, not. While I contend that there are several large companies that contribute a great deal to regional development programs, the vast majority do not, as it (for the better part) does not contribute directly to profit maximisation – a fundamental tenant of firms operating in a competitive market. Additionally, the Sindh government, much like Nestle, has the ability to run several development projects at the same time. Most intellectuals would define a project promoting culture as being a development project – therefore, it would imprudent to rubbish the entire project based on narrow reasoning. Our culture is what defines us as a people. Thanks ET for publishing this. Recommend

  • John
    Jan 20, 2014 - 3:11PM

    If the purpose is making people forget about their problems, why not distribute free ‘bhang’ in Sindh, taking a page from CM Sindh’s relaxing techniques. For Rs 500 million, the bhang would last much longer than the cultural festival.Recommend

  • Kamran Khan
    Jan 20, 2014 - 4:39PM

    A glorious way to celebrate corruption party’s number one performance in corruption, illiteracy, poverty and crime spread. Twitter Bahadur would soon be tweeting on the subjectRecommend

  • public
    Jan 20, 2014 - 5:49PM

    apply cold water, good for burns… This is budget for culturel departmnt, the education and sanitation are in seperate potfolios…, Recommend

  • Concerned
    Jan 20, 2014 - 6:18PM

    150m of govt money would have been well spent on just building some schools. it takes max 20m to build one good school. They could have atleast built 8 with that kind of money.

    Trying to create a fools paradise for 15 days. Very disappointing.Recommend

  • Awan
    Jan 20, 2014 - 9:23PM

    Veary niceRecommend

  • hammerman
    Jan 21, 2014 - 12:48PM

    got no electricity? no problem – the fireworks will light up the night skies!

    this city cant celebrate NYE on seaview without having roads blocked, do they actually think our civilized karachiites will let this go on in peace?

    Oh the best part – a SINDH festival is supposed to bring the entire country together? why not a Pakistan festival instead of further dividing this secular country? nice job. jackass.


  • gh
    Jan 21, 2014 - 4:56PM

    wow. everything sounds amazing.


    Jan 21, 2014 - 5:15PM

    Great news for people of Sindh, we appreciate and thank BBZ for giving us such an oppertunity to celebrate abd be proud of who we are and what we belong to…!!! Only those will oppose and argue against it who dont belong to such a great heritage and will found themselves as outsider and not a true soul of soil.


  • Tahir Zain
    Jan 21, 2014 - 5:28PM

    Finally!!! A breath of fresh air. As against the retrogressive, obscurantist hirsute brigade taking over all public discourse and ramrod ding it down our collective throats. We Pakistani have a leader who has challenged them by providing an alternative discourse!

    A “Mohabbat Bhari” Ghazal night on 14 fab of all days.. Recommend

  • saad
    Jan 21, 2014 - 11:29PM

    hifza and whoever the editor is overlook means to fail to notice or miss seeing something.
    the correct word is to oversee.


  • ishrat salim
    Jan 22, 2014 - 1:47AM

    Austerity should be the order of the day….people are dying in karachi and in the rural areas, especially those who had faced flood, many of them are still homeless….& here we are celebrating with 2 weeks of fireworks ? we do not know how to fight for our rights nor are interested to snatch it away from the rulers….Recommend

  • Khalq e Khuda
    Jan 22, 2014 - 2:21AM

    It appears that criticism for the sake of criticism has become a habit of Pakistanis!

    These are the kind of initiatives the ministry of culture should be spending their budgets on and they are finally doing it. It should not be stopped just because the Education or Health ministry is too busy stuffing their pockets with budget allocations made to them.

    More than anything the whole event will generate huge economic activity in Karachi and other parts of Sindh which is a need of the hour throughout the country.


  • Hafeez rehman Jamali
    Jan 22, 2014 - 4:03AM

    Great job sir Jeay sindh,Jeay Bhutto..Recommend

  • Arif Maqsood Soomro
    Jan 23, 2014 - 2:04PM

    its really a great job by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, we appreciate u for giving us the grand opportunity to let the world know our mighty SINDH…..


  • Imran Sidat
    Jan 23, 2014 - 3:21PM

    Nice initiative for the People of Pakistan, Specially for Karachi. I hope we all appreciate him on this act. Best of luck for the event. I suggest that next event we able to do in Hyderabad. This will help Hyderabad to upgrade and get more business from local expats.

    Preparation need to be done like security on highway, road development. shops, small clinic, rest houses will be there on the way to it. Street Lights on at night, and near by lanes and thick trees were cut for the security reasons.


  • Hussain
    Jan 24, 2014 - 1:22PM

    Its very good initiative we support this as culture is always good to unite people with love and respect. Hope one day all nations of Pakistan can celebrate their cultural festivals.


  • G.M.Z
    Jan 24, 2014 - 5:40PM

    We are also hoping that you will be taking seriously action about the basic rights & facilities of Villages & Cities .( Mang rahi he puri Sindh sirf aur sirf basic rights & facilities )

    Best of luck for the event.
    Its really a great step by you, we appreciate u for giving us the grand opportunity to let the world know our mighty SINDH .


  • law abiding citizen
    Feb 1, 2014 - 6:42PM

    It is indeed misery and shameful to the respected government of Sindh led by PPP. They are in power since the 70’s. These Politicians have become millionaires (pocketing tax payers money from the public which should be spent on welfare of society) over the years and the the public is deprived of basic standards of living. How pity is that. Shame on the Government for being so irresponsible. It is beyond my understanding how they manage to do this all drama. However, I wish the Government and the people of Sindh best of luck to make this event successful and I am hopeful that one day we will be able to eradicate poverty from our motherland.Recommend

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