Culture leads to provincial solidarity, brotherhood: Ghazala Lok Mela concludes with colorful award ceremony

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Sarwar Awan

The ten-day Lok Mela, participated by more than 500 artists and craftspeople from all the provinces, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan came to a glamorous conclusion here at Lok Virsa on Sunday with an awards distribution ceremony for the folk artists and artisans.
Parliamentary Secretary for National History and Literary Heritage Division, Ghazala Saifi was the chief guest of award distribution ceremony. She appreciated the efforts of Lok Virsa to bring the rural masses from each corner of the country to the federal capital and enriching its beauty and attraction.
“The government is fully determined to strengthen national institutions. We are aware that no nation can afford to progress in industry, science and technology at the utter neglect and at the cost of its cultural awareness”, Ghazala Saifi said.
“Culture is the path that leads to the provincial solidarity, religious harmony, love, peace and brotherhood among the nation”, she believed. Parliamentary Secretary also visited cultural pavilions of Lok Mela where she interacted and encouraged artisans and artists.
Earlier, Lok Virsa Executive Director Anwaar ul haq thanked all the provincial governments and their cultural departments, art councils, craftspeople, folk artists, musicians and other institutions for their cooperation.
“The annual Lok Mela, organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa), served as a reminder about these talented and diverse artists and that every nook and cranny of the country boasts a wealth of talent”, Executive Director said.
During the award ceremony, a number of cash awards were given to the most authentic artists and artisans on the recommendation of a Lok Virsa jury which comprised knowledgeable experts in the field of art and culture.
A large number of people flocked to the fair to view cultures from different parts of Pakistan. Apart from showcasing the culture from all the regions of the country, the ten-day cultural fair provided a source of entertainment to citizens of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
With the capital acting as a melting pot for all the different languages and traditions of the country, the festival easily won the hearts of people with the different languages, dances, foods and music from all the provinces.
While colourful traditional dresses, music and dance performances drew the attention of the crowds when they were on show, delicious foods with amazing smell proved to be the biggest draw for visitors — particularly the foodies.
Foods such as the Baloch Sajji and Peshawar roast along with Murgh Muslim prepared on hot coals remained a great option for the people. Punjab’s traditional dishes such as mustard spinach (Sarson Ka Saag) and Makkai Ki Roti catered to the salivating taste buds of many.
In the Peshawar pavilion, most were on the lookout for the famous Chapli Kababs. Visitors were of the view that the Chapli Kabab along with Peshawar Kahva in the cold weather was a treat.
Artisans and artists had over the past ten days demonstrated an array of cultural skills from singing, cooking traditional cuisines and performing folk tunes to dancing and preparing traditional crafts from Azad Jammu Kashmir, Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh in their respective pavilions.
Kashmiri artisans and artists who received cash awards were Azra Kausar, Muhammad Siddique in Kashmiri Shawl and Muhammad Ijaz Gatka player. From Gilgit-Baltistan, winning artisans and artists who received cash awards were Shehzadi in cross stitch, Sultana Iqbal in Hunza embroidery and Kashif Sajjad Dadang player.
Artisans from Sindh who received cash awards included Sumela in farasi weaving, Imdad Ali Vigheo in block making, Rahiba Rind in bate leaves basketry, Zikarya in ajrak making, Fiza Ali Folk singer, Sattar Jogi Murli player, Sain Daad Matko dancer and Ajmal Dandia dance group.
From Balochistan, Arz Muhammad Saroz maker, Gul Seema Gofta maker, Atifa Sadiq Hazargi embroidery, Daad Muhammad Hasani animal stuffing, Liaqat Parkoi Brahvi singer, Muhammad Ali Dholak player, Ali Ahmed Banjo player and Muhammad Bashir Brahvi singer.
From Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Rehmat Wali (special person) kalash wood carving, Tasleem Bibi Phulkari, Muhammad Khalil Karakuli topi, Riaz Ahmed Wax printing, Aisha Waseem D.I. Khan embroidery, Zainullah Chirali sitar player, Ijaz Sarhadi sarinda player and Ayaz Khan harmonium player were winners.
From Punjab, Kaneez Fatima Basketry maker, Muhammad Ramzan Khusa maker, Muhammad Ibrahim Lacquer art, Muhammad Zaman Dhol shahnai group, Ahmad Ali Folk singer, Sitara Lal Marwari singer and Munnu Ji Ranti player took prizes home.

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