Announces Rs500m Zarb-i-Qalam endowment fund, Rs1m Intizar Hussain Award
Prime Minister Muahmmad Nawaz Sharif Thursday stressed the need for operation Zarb-e-Qalam just like anti-terror operation Zarb-e-Azb to fight the forces spreading extremism and intolerance in the society.
‘Just like operation Zarb-e-Azb, there is a dire need for operation Zarb-e-Qalam. I believe that the writers, poets and intellectuals have a key role for elimination of terrorism,’ he said addressing the inaugural session of fourth International Conference on ‘Language, Literature and Society’ organized by Pakistan Academy of Letters.
The opening session of the four-day conference was attended by Advisor to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage Irfan Siddiqui, Intellectual from Turkey Dr Jalil Tauqar and writers and poets from Iran, Spain, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Singapore, Oman, Maldives, Lebanon, China and Germany.
Speaking high of writers and intellectuals and their role for establishment of peace and harmony in any society, he said they were the most precious asset of any society as, though their works, they eliminated hatred, differences and bring the people closer to one and another.
He said through operation Zarb-e-Azb, the government and security forces had broken the backbone of terrorists and reiterated his government’s resolve to revive peace and love in the country.
The prime minister announced an endowment fund of Rs 500 million for the promotion of national history and literary heritage besides the welfare of writers and intellectuals. He also sought a proposal for an aid package to support the artists, serving in the fields of music, drama, films and calligraphy who unfortunately lead a miserable life at a certain stage after having entertained millions of the people throughout their lives.
Beside announcing the establishment of Intizar Hussain Award worth Rs 1 million, the prime minister increased the number of beneficiaries of insurance cover from current 354 intellectuals to 700, annual awards from current 11 to 20 and number of writers, entitled for support from 500 to 1000.
The prime minister said the writers and intellectuals were the heart, brain or spirit of any society as they not only addressed the current situation also keep an eye on the future scenario. He said writers and intellectuals also give a ray of hope to the desperate people. The Muslims had lost their grandeur after they distanced them from research and education.
He said Allama Muhammad Iqbal gave a message of freedom and struggle to the Muslims of South Asia and the whole world and dreamt of an independent Muslim state some 17 years before the creation of Pakistan.
The prime minister hoped that four-day event would also discuss as how the writers and intellectuals could play their role to eliminate intolerance, sectarianism and prejudices. He observed that ‘unfortunately we were losing mannerism with tones getting harsh. The very behaviors ultimately beget the ills of extremism and intolerance.’
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said amid such situation, people needed to be given a message of hope as some other elements were dragging the society into desperation. ‘In a society where flowers of poetry and literature bloom, the diseases of extremism, intolerance, disunity and sectarianism are not born,’ Nawaz said. ‘When literary works dry up, then society becomes embroiled in various differences.’
‘Thousands of people and innocent children have been lost to such ills. The current government has stared this disease down, and its political will was enforced by the armed forces. We want to cleanse this country of terrorism and make it a place of peace, love and calm,’ he said.
‘We are forgetting how to speak of mutual love, integrity, compassion and empathy,’ Nawaz cautioned. ‘Through certain media, these things are becoming common and influencing a new generation of Pakistanis. This state of events demands your attention, because such attitudes turn into extremism.’