PESHAWAR: Poets and writers affiliated with over a dozen literary organisations here have taken strong exception to the shifting of Urdu Science Board Library, Peshawar chapter, to Lahore.

The library has been merged into the National Language Promotion Department (NLPD), a reliable source confirmed here on Thursday.

Prof Shakil Nayab, noted Urdu writer and secretary of Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq, Peshawar, told this correspondent that he was informed on Tuesday through a phone call that weekly literary session of the Halqa would no more be held at Urdu Science Board Library hall located in Khyber Bazaar.

Literary bodies and associations across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have shown dismay over the decision and demanded of the federal and provincial governments to either reverse the move or arrange for suitable alternative for resuming literary activities in the provincial metropolis.

Literary bodies urge govt to arrange suitable place for their activities

He said he rushed to the library hall and found that bookshelves and furniture had been shifted to Lahore and he had to inform all those invited to the weekly session through social media because the gathering was supposed to be held the same evening.

“For the first time in over four decades, Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq weekly session was postponed indefinitely. It was the only place where poets and writers gathered on weekly basis and held multiple activities, including seminars, workshops and literary debates,” he observed.

Prof Nasir Ali Syed, senior executive council member of Halqa-i-Arab Zauq, said he was dismayed over shifting of the library, which was tantamount to depriving poets and writers of their right to promote the national cause through literary activities.

“KP literati and even those from abroad contacted me to know about the issue. The otherwise small hall has played a significant role in providing an opportunity to poets, writers and critics to gather here and groom budding bards for over 40 years,” Prof Nasir commented.

Prof Abaseen Yousafzai in his remarks said that shifting of the library to Lahore was not good news for the KP writers, adding it was a small school doing a great job, as literary giants like Ameer Hamza Khan Shinwari, Qalandar Momand, Ajmal Khattak, Reza Hamdani, Farigh Bukhari and several others had used this hall as a strong literary forum.

“I expect the PTI government will take notice of this move and facilitate the KP literati so they could continue their literary activities. Peshawar being a hub of literary and cultural activities should have a place for promoting the national cause,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2021

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