Performing arts academy expected to set up in Nishtar Hall soon

The rehabilitation of Nishtar Hall is part of KP’s new cultural policy that has been under discussion since February

nASHTER HALLThe provincial capital is set to have a performing arts academy.

“The academy will be operational at the Nishtar Hall within one and a half months to promote indigenous art and music. The directorate of culture is setting up the academy, which will have theatre, indigenous music, singing, acting and script writing sections,” provincial culture secretary Tariq Khan told a ‘critical dialogue’ on the draft provincial cultural policy here on Monday.

The directorate of culture organised the event on proposed cultural policy at Nishtar Hall to seek input from experts including artists, singers, writers, academicians and media persons. The draft cultural policy has been under discussion since Feb 2016 with the government likely to formally announce it in Oct.

The secretary said the purpose of the dialogue was refine the draft and urged participants to give their input to the directorate to finalise the policy.

He admitted that there was a lack of coordination between the directorate of culture and other departments delaying the framing of the policy.

According to the draft, the goals of the proposed policy are to create an enabling environment in which culture heritage sector can flourish and play a significant and defining role in nation building, safeguarding of identity and socio-economic development by identification, inventorying, safeguarding and promotion of diverse cultural heritage of the province.

Official says facility to promote indigenous art and music

Another aspect of the policy is to integrate cultural and creative sector into economic and social development for employment and wealth generation and provide equal opportunities and create equal environment regardless of gender, race, religion and other such dividing components.

On the occasion, among them senior writers, intellectuals and policy experts, including Saadullah Jan Barq, Najeebullah Anjum, former culture minister Abdus Subhan, Dr Salma Shaheen, Dr Fazle Rahim Marwat, Dr Sarfaraz Khan and Nazif Khan, expressed their opinion on the proposed policy.

Deputy director (culture) Shehbaz Khan while giving presentation in light of the initial draft of the policy said the document highlighted both economic and cultural dimensions of cultural activities, goods and services.

He said the role of culture had been recognized in providing jobs, enhancing revenue and strengthening sustainable economic growth.

Prof Noorul Ameen proposed that cultural policy be linked with curriculum to educate youths about art and culture of the province.

He also called for the propagation and preservation of culture.

Director of the University of Peshawar Area Study Centre Dr Sarfaraz Khan suggested the diversification of culture instead of uniformity.

He said the people should understand historic evolution of the culture of KP and that inhabitants of the province needed the culture of tolerance and peace.

The director said terrorism and militancy had promoted narrative of war and intolerance in society.

Ms Shabana, a teacher of Institute of Management Sciences, criticised the draft policy saying it didn’t contain any statistics about culture indicators.

She said there should be specific timeline for cultural activities and allocation of funds and that technical and working groups should be formed.

Writer and journalist Hidayatullah Gul called for maintaining a balance between hujra and mosque in the new culture policy and said like hujra, the importance of mosque could not be ignored in society.

-Originally published in Dawn

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