Last week, the Rafi Peer Cultural Complex, Raiwind Road, was the most happening place in the city where 12th Youth Performing Arts Festival was arranged by Rafi Peer Theatre Workshop in collaboration with the Norwegian Embassy.

The event was attended by hundreds of people, mainly youngsters, who thoroughly enjoyed some 22 theatre, music, dance and puppetry performances from all over the country.

The ticketed event this year had only one foreign participation that was from India. The current law and order situation in the country has kept many international groups away from the festival.

Dramatic societies of various educational institutions from Lahore and other cities also participated in the festival. Alif Adab Society from the National College of Arts, Natak from Punjab University, University of Engineering & Technology, Lahore, Beaconhouse National University’s Beads and Char gram Society, Government College University Lahore, Forman Christian College, University of South Asia, University of Lahore and Lahore School of Economics participated in the event.

Three professional theatre groups -- Ajoka Theatre, Azad Theatre and Drama Family -- also staged plays during the festival.

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Prominent artist and rights activist Jimmy Engineer has become the first Pakistani who held as many as five international exhibitions of his selected creative work in four different countries in less than eight months.

In an email the artist sent to this scribe he says that these art shows were organised in Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Canada in collaboration with Pakistani missions and local organisations to promote goodwill, better understanding and cultural harmony between the people of Pakistan and these countries. This, he said, would help promote a soft, moderate, positive and forward looking image of Pakistan and its people.

The artist says he is proud of serving his motherland through his art by holding more and more international exhibitions in different countries.

The artist has plans in hand to organise a couple of more international exhibitions in the coming months.

Engineer has also led more than 100 walks for noble causes and arranged over 140 entertainment and awareness programmes for special children and the orphans in Karachi and Lahore and in Sri Lanka as well.

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A reference was held in memory of Punjabi poet Master Altaf Husain at the Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture on Friday last.

The PILAC Director Dr Sughra Sadaf announced on this occasion that PILAC would publish the works of the late poet who had a great contribution towards enriching the Punjabi poetry. The other speakers were Aizaz Ahmed Azar, singer Shaukat Ali, Hussain Shad and Dr Fakhar Abbas.

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The security has been enhanced at the Alhamra Art Center, The Mall, and entry to the premises of all vehicles except those of staffers has been banned. The number of guards has also been increased.

All these measures have been taken after a meeting of Alhamra officials and Board of Governors. The security has also been increased at the Alhamra Cultural Complex, Qadhafi Stadium.

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