MINGORA: The first ‘International Pashto Peace Poetry Session’ was held here on Friday at Wadudia Hall in Saidu Sharif, Swat, where poets from Pakistan and Afghanistan expressed their desire for lasting peace in the region through their poetry.

The event was organised by the Swat district administration in collaboration with the UNDP and Provincial Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Settlement Authority (PaRSA), with the aim to convey the message of peace to the world.

Speaking at the inaugural session, deputy commissioner, Swat, Mehmood Aslam Wazir said that Pakhtuns, particularly the people of Swat, were peace loving.

He said that it was a good sign that a large number of Pashto poets from different parts of the world gathered in Swat to communicate a message of peace. “Swat has been famous as a centre of peace since long,” he said and added that the peace had now been restored in the district.

Speaking on the occasion, UNDP official Harald Thorud said that they were not only supporting Pakistan financially, but also liked to assist the activities aimed at promoting its local cultures.

DC says peace has been restored in the district

He said that they would continue their support to those segments of society that had been working on promotion of their culture and norms through folk music and poetry.

President of Svastu Arts and Cultural Association, Usman Olasyar, said that poets were contributing a lot to promotion of peace and culture of the area, adding that the event would be helpful in promotion of peace in the region, which had been affected by terrorism from over a decade.

ANP leader Wajid Ali Khan said that such poetry sessions could be helpful in promoting healthy activities among people, particularly youth.  

The event was presided over by Pashto poet Rahmat Shah Sail. Other poets from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa who recited their poems on peace included Abaseen Yousafazi, Iqbal Shakir, Akmal Lewanai, Haseena Gul, Samina Qader and Aimal Khattak besides local poets Abdur Rahim, Hanif Qais, Ibrahim Shabnam, and Faiz Ali Khan.

Other poets who presented their poems on the occasion included Hamdullah Arbab from Afghanistan; Prof Darwesh Durrani, Asmatullah Zaheer and Khan Zaman from Balochistan; Sagar and Zarjan Madakhel from Karachi; Habibullah Hamdan (UAE) and Jamal Shah.

They highlighted different aspects of Pakhtun culture and said that they were famous for their hospitality across the world. “Pakhtuns have been affected by terrorism because of the war being fought in their areas,” they said and added that a time would come when peace would be restored in the entire region.

Published in Dawn, November 22th , 2014