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RAWALPINDI: Various artists have urged the government to include economic protection for them in Punjab’s new cultural policy.

At a dialogue arranged by the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) on the draft of the Art and Culture Policy Framework for Punjab, the artists said that local culture should be promoted and a regional cultural centre should be established across the province.

Artists from the Potohar region declared the policy a progressive step which will not only help promote culture but also ensure economic protection of the artists.

RAC’s former resident director and writer Naheed Manzoor said the promotion of culture is not the sole responsibility of the government; the society should play a collective role in the preservation of culture.

Senior poet Sarfraz Shahid said the economic security for artists is a significant element of the policy and the policy as a whole will help protect our culture and introduce it to the youth.

Senior artist Aftab Ahmed Khan said the Punjab government has taken a historic measure by drafting a new culture policy. He said that there was need to improve the economic conditions of artists while giving them the opportunity to present their talent in the fine arts and other form of performing arts.

RAC Resident Director Waqar Ahmed said the promotion of cultural education and regional languages, setting up information centres, creating a close link with culture reporters and setting up of arts councils at district and tehsils levels are salient features of the draft policy.

He said the arts councils were functional in all nine divisions of Punjab and efforts were underway to establish councils in eight more districts, which will be set up during the current financial year.

He said that under the draft culture policy, local filmmakers will be encouraged, FM radio channels will be set up and digital art will also be promoted. He said the policy was being drafted in cooperation with all the stakeholders and consultations are taking place at every level.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2017