IT was an eventful week with respect to art and culture. On Dec 4, 1973 the Provincial Finance Minister, Kamal Azfar, inaugurated an exhibition of paintings at the Arts Council by seasoned artist M Turab. On view were 27 oil exhibits, their main feature being ‘realism and deep emotion’. Although the artist was known to have done scores of them in the last 25 years, the selection represented the works made during the last decade.

On Dec 6, another show caught the media’s attention. It was a display of artworks made by none other than the legendary Ahmed Pervez which opened at the Indus Gallery. The exhibition containing 29 compositions done in oil and watercolour was to remain open for a fortnight. According to a critic, the work presented an impressive contrast in abstract art. “Done with skill and dexterity, the paintings undoubtedly left a deep impression of the artist’s clear vision and personality. The entire collection is the result of a couple of months; and there are at least two pieces which are rightly termed as ‘fresh from the oven’ as they had not dried up a hundred per cent until last evening. Even so, in each of them, there is that unusual touch which has earned Ahmed Pervez a name all over the world.”

From one form of visual expression to another: on Dec 7, Egypt’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Aly Khashaba, was the chief guest at the premiere of the Egyptian film Dawn of Islam. The highly publicised movie screened at a cinema on M. A. Jinnah Road drew a large crowd. The police had to be called in to ensure a smooth traffic flow. Among the invitees were Dr Mahmood Husain, Al-Syed Abdel Kader Al-Gaylani, Princess Abida Sultana, Justice Abdul Kadir Sheikh and M B Ahmed. They seemed impressed by the film that had run successfully in many Muslim countries.

The traffic issue has always been at the top of the authorities’ priority list. On Dec 8, it was announced that the Sindh government had decided to purchase 1000 additional buses for expanding its existing fleet to provide more transport facility to Karachiites. A high-level meeting held in the city chaired by Syed Qaim Ali Shah, Sindh Minister for Revenue, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, discussed in detail the situation of the existing number of vehicles, measures for its expansion and smooth running of the transport system. Regarding the current position, Chairman of the Sindh Road Transport Corporation said 310 buses were on the roads; 180 were plying the Malir route and 130, the Korangi route. During the ongoing fiscal year, the provincial government had fixed a target for buying 1,470 buses for the province, out of which 1,034 were allocated for Karachi. And 536 had so far been purchased.

Speaking of numbers, on Dec 9, it was reported that the price of fish in the local market had gone up by about 200 percent in the last one year. Reason: more fishermen were netting shrimp instead of fish which was less profitable. Official figures claimed that the average (fresh) fish haul at the harbour in 1972 was between eight and ten tons on a daily basis. But now the daily average was between five and six tonnes.

Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2023

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