PESHAWAR: Senior writers and litterateurs have launched the International Pashto Jirga, a new literary forum to promote the region’s cultural and literary tradition.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony at Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday, Salim Raz, a seasoned writer and chairman of the jirga said the body will aim to bring unity among all Pashto writers.
There are currently three forums that are promoting Pashto literature –International Pashto Congress, International Pashto Convention and International Pashto Conference. However, all three organisations have operated separately. This has led people to believe there is no unity among Pukhtun writers. The new literary body will comprise leading members from all three forums and aim to promote Pashto literature on an international level.
“Over the last several decades, Pukhtuns have been through difficult times,” Raz said. “This has negatively impacted our culture, language and traditions. The aim to promote Pashto literature cannot be achieved through separate literary bodies.”
According to the writer, the other three literary forums will continue to exist and follow their own respective agendas.
“However, all literary bodies will collaborate with the International Pashto Jirga,” Raz said. He added Pashto writers, poets and artistes are facing countless financial difficulties and are in desperate need of assistance. According to the chairman, it is the government’s responsibility to support them during these difficult times.
In the pipeline
The event was attended by a large number of literary figures. Senior Vice Chairman Nominee Aseer Mangal, General Secretary Faridun Khan, Nasrullah Khan Wazir, Amjid Ali Khadim and Abasin Yousafzai were among the attendees. At the occasion, jirga members discussed plans to establish a Pukhtun Markaz in Peshawar to showcase Pukhtun literature. They also announced plans to organise a five-day international conference in April 2016.
Speaking on the occasion, Abasin Yousafzai, a poet and writer, said the government has already decided to include regional languages in the school curriculum. “However, so far, limited progress has been made to redesign the syllabus and have it approved. It hasn’t even released a teacher training manual for the start of the next session.”
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2015.
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