Naya Pakistan and old habits

Although Pakistan is culturally rich, its diversity is hardly cherished. Fayaz Chohan’s rant against culture and art is a case in point. He bluntly showed his detestation by ridiculing performing artistes and depicted by and large Pakistani society antipathy towards art especially performing art. Where dancers are seen as ignoble people with no respect. However, more worrisome would be consequences of his rant.
First, in a country where terrorism and intolerance of all shades run high, and therefore drive against terrorism in full swing, such remarks by a responsible minister only dissipate hatred and intolerance. Needless to talk about role of changing narrative, celebration of culture and arts to win war against terrorism. As it is ultimately people’s minds where such war is to be fought.
Second, cherishing artistes and promoting true face of diverse Pakistan is in the country’s interest. As artistes are ambassadors of a country who help create soft and positive image of a country which Pakistan needs badly owing to be in news for wrong reasons for last two decades now. Hence, at least not in “Naya Pakistan” such old aversion for culture and art is openly shown by a cabinet member of the government which promises a Quaid’s peaceful and tolerant Pakistan. Alas, old habits die hard.
KASHIF HAKRO
Karachi

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