ISLAMABAD: Local products, handicraft, art exhibition and cultural performances marked the opening ceremony of the 12th Pakistan Mountain Festival on Friday.
The event was organised by Devcom-Pakistan in partnership with the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) and the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture.
Among the guests were Head of Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Pakistan Emanuela Benini, Kyrgyzstan embassy Deputy Chief of Mission Melis Moldaliev, Pakistan’s renowned mountaineer Nazir Sabir, Gilgit-Baltistan Parliamentary Secretary Kulsoom Farman and National Heritage Division Senior Joint Secretary Abdul Sattar Khokhar.
Speakers urged the authorities to ensure sustainable use of mountain resources. They said increasing climate variability, coupled with lack of investment in mountain agriculture, preservation and promotion of its heritage, culture and rural development, had often pushed men to migrate elsewhere in search of alternative livelihood.
Women have therefore taken on many tasks formerly done by men, yet mountain women are often invisible due to lack of decision-making power and unequal access to resources, they added.
Emanuela Benini said Italy, through the Agency for Development Cooperation, had contributed to relaunching the centrality of mountain territories in Pakistan on a global level regarding environmental issues, climate change and the socioeconomic development of entire regions that depend not only on mountains but water as well.
Melis Moldaliev said: “Every person should be aware of the importance of environmental protection and make changes to become environmentally-friendly in all aspects of their lives.”
Nazir Sabir said mountain communities need to wake up and realise the fast changes happening around them.
“The International Mountain Day is an opportunity to raise awareness about the need to empower mountain women so they can participate more effectively in decision-making processes,” Mr Sabir said.
Abdul Sattar Khokhar said though the government was playing role in mainstreaming climate change and conserving mountain ecosystem, cultural heritage was the one that “we need to shift our focus on”.
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2022