PTI government to set up endowment fund for artist’s community:

Peshawar: Amjad Afridi Advisor to Chief Minister on Tourism, Sports, Museums and Archeology and Youth Affairs has said, his government would set up an endowment fund for artist’s community, delay presentation of Censorship Board bill for debate in the provincial assembly next week and would come up with comprehensive cultural policy to address issues related to art and artists.

He was speaking as chief guest at a function at Peshawar Press Club here on Tuesday. The event was jointly organised by Cultural Journalists Forum (CJF) and Takhleeq Development Foundation (TDF) to mark Music Freedom Day. He said an Endowment fund of Rs 200 million

The speakers outright rejected the government’s proposed censorship bill and demanded inclusion of all relevant stakeholders to draft a cultural policy. They sought help for senior ailing singers and performers.

The Advisor to CM said that he would assume charge of culture department within two days after issuance of notification from M secretariat adding that he would ask the relevant quarters to delay censorship board bill for the time being from presenting it in the assembly.

He said, stakeholders and experts would be invited to plan a comprehensive cultural policy to safeguard rights of artists and singers’ community. He said that Rs 200 million Endowment Fund would be established for the welfare of the artists and singers.

Responding to demands of artists and singers, Mr Afridi assured that once he assumed the charge of the culture department, he would fulfil every single demand placed by them on priority basis.

“Illegal parking will be removed by restoring Nishtar hall in its original shape by carrying out its complete renovation. Also professional staff including an experienced director will be provided to run Nishtar hall,” Mr Afridi promised.

Earlier, noted TV actor and chief of Takhleeq Development Foundation said that department of culture remained neglected and had never been given serious thought. He said, PTI government was expected to contribute to art and culture of the province by creating more and more opportunities for young talent.

He showed a documentary titled ‘Beauty in danger’ focusing on a performing girl from Swat who suffers wrath of militants.

Ihtisham Toru, president of CJF told the participants that efforts should be made to promote local art and culture. He said, senior artists and singers should be assisted as they were national assets.

“We need to work for the welfare of our artists and singers as they custodians of our identity,” Mr Toru said.

Zeek Afridi noted young singer said that it was time to get their voice together to safeguard interests and rights of artists’ community. “Nishtar hall should be confined only to literary and cultural activities. Unfortunately, artists are living under threats and joblessness.

PTI government should create restore and make Nishtar hall functional and provide security to performers,” he said.

Later, young Pashto singers including Bakhtiar Khattak, Zeek Afridi, Humayoon Khan, Shan Yousafzai and a new entrant from Swat Laila Khan performed.

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