Govt to support individuals’ literary, creative pursuits: Irfan

PAL to expand network in Sindh, AJK, FATA & GB

Zubair Qureshi

The government is determined to support literary and creative pursuits of the individuals and will reward them in the form of awards. This was said by Adviser to the Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui while talking to media. He told that the network of the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) will be expanded to remote areas in Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir and the Federal Administered Tribal Areas FATA.
The number of awards for literary individuals in various categories has also been increased to 20 from 11, and Rs1 million Intizar Hussain Award will also be conferred from the current fiscal year.
“The expansion of the PAL offices network to all the provinces, after a long period of 40 years, will serve as a milestone towards the promotion of literary work by local writers and poets, and will motivate them to achieve excellence in their work,” he said. He said our local areas, cities and towns are rich in talent and the PAL is working on a comprehensive plan to support and encourage such voices.
He further said four PAL offices will be set up in interior Sindh, Fata, GB and AJK – the areas of Dadu, Khyber Agency, Gilgit and Muzaffarabad have been identified for the establishment of the offices. Mr Siddiqui said earlier PAL’s activities were limited to the federal capital and the four provinces since the academy’s inception in 1976. However, a PAL office was set up in Multan last year in view of the longstanding demand of poets and writers from southern Punjab, he said.
He revealed that work on establishing the offices, along with a guesthouse for literary individuals, would begin soon after the land acquisition process is completed. Rs20 million have been allocated for each office. He added that the expansion of PAL’s offices to remote areas will not only promote Pakistani literature and local languages, but would also strengthen national harmony and solidarity.
He further said consultations with provincial authorities are being held to acquire land to establish the new offices. Mr Siddiqui also listed other initiatives taken to promote literary activities, such as the Rs13,000 monthly stipend – increased from Rs7,000 – for deserving individuals in the literary field and increasing the number of beneficiaries from 500 to 1,000. He said the number of beneficiaries of the life insurance scheme has been increased from 354 to 700, and the amount for the scheme has been increased to Rs400,000 from Rs200,000.

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