PESHAWAR: Artists and music experts gathered at the hall of culture directorate here on Wednesday to mark World Music Freedom Day and demanded of the government to build a music street to improve the condition of folk artists.

A large number of music buffs, poets and writers attended the function. The event was organised jointly by Hunari Tolana, culture directorate and Cultural Journalists Forum (CJF).

The participants of the event said that Pashto folk music spanned over 6,000 years and had roots in classical music too.

They said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had produced a number of prominent folk singers. They added that government should take steps for preservation and promotion folk music of all the linguistic groups living in the province.

The participants passed several resolutions to demand building of music street, induction of seasoned artists in the proposed ‘Culture and Tourism Authority’ and taking notice of alleged mishandling of musicians by police.

Senior folk singer Ahmad Gul Ustad in his brief talk said that provincial government had announced a comprehensive culture policy but it was not being implemented in letter and spirit. He added that setting up a music street would help to create greater space for budding artists.

Rashid Ahmad Khan, chief of Hunari Tolana, said that his organisation had registered around 2,000 folk artists and musicians from across the province and had set up its branches in 14 districts.

“Our organisation has prepared a comprehensive document on the music street and sent its copy to the provincial secretary but has not gotten a response from the officials,” he added.

Prof Abaseen Yousafzai on the occasion said that blaming government for everything was not justifiable. He said that artists and folk singers were also to be held responsible for lack of unity in their ranks. He, however, appreciated the efforts of Hunari Tolana for the welfare of the artists and asked the culture directorate to patronise folk artists.

Noted writer Noorul Amin Yousafzai, Laiqzada Laiq, Culture Director Ajmal Khan, Ihtisham Toru and Afsar Afghan also spoke at the event. Later, noted folk singers Nawab Ali Khan Ustad, Fazal Wahab Dard, Diraj and Amjad Malang performed and received great applause from the audience.

Published in Dawn, March 4th, 2021

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