World Youth Skills Day Pakistan missions urged to play role in promoting rich heritage, indigenous craft of country

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Zubair Qureshi

It is the collective responsibility of the public and the private sectors to patronize and promote rich treasure of Pakistan’s handicraft and centuries’ old heritage and support the young skilful artisans who are striving hard to keep their skill and craft alive.
This was said by the National Secretary of the Pakistan Youth Hostel Association (PYHA) former Ambassador Qazi Humayun while addressing a ceremony in connection with the “World Youth Skills Day” organized at the Islamabad chapter of the PYHA.
Qazi Humayun said even the United Nations has recognized the youths’ skill and designated World Youth Skills Day every year in July.
Pakistan he said is a country with huge youth bulge and the only way to empower such a large number is to train them in certain skills. “It is incumbent on the Pakistan government to provide such opportunities to the youth of the country so that they could learn various skills and find some means of earning,” said Qazi Humayun.
He also suggested to the government to specifically issue directions to its embassies across the world to promote the country’s rich heritage through exhibitions, gifts and sales bazaar.
“Our woodwork, handicraft, traditional clothes and jewelry have great demand in foreign markets,” said the ambassador. Speaking on the occasion, Asif Javed Shah Jahan, a Pride of the Performance researcher and former DG Capital Development Authority (CDA) introduced various dimensions of the rich Pakistani handicraft and woodwork carved by the young artisans.
“Pakistan has a great potential to market its artisans’ products whose demand is huge worldwide,” said Asif Shah Jahan however he regretted our authorities are not interested in its proper marketing. Some of the crafts our young artists have inherited from their elders are dying and they (the young artists) need support to keep their skills afloat.
On the occasion, a number of young artisans also introduced their workl. Irfan Butt, a Kashmiri artisan whose works on wood carving has great appeal for the customers not only within Pakistan but also from abroad, told he is carrying forward the art of his ancestors whose work was appreciated even by the kings. Woodwork earlier used in the form of gifts presented to the kings, however, now it has been reduced to furniture, he said. Wood carving is a delicate work and can be divided in four categories, deep carving, plain carving, see-through carving and cross-carving, he said.
Ambrin Fatma a doll maker showcased her dolls of various size and colours. She said she had developed a craze for learning doll making art after seeing her mother’s work. I have inherited it from her and even today, I keep learning from her how to make dolls prettier and more attractive, she said.
Zahid Hussain a Taxila-based skilled youth in stone carving also shared his art and vision with the audience. He said though Artisans Bazar in Lok Virsa was doing its best to promote the skill of the artisans yet this activity needs to be supported on a larger canvas. Samiullah another artisan in lacour art had come from Dera Ismail Khan to participate in the programme. He said during the recent visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Muhammad, Prime Minister Imran Khan presented him table that was carved by him. “In Lahore Museum and Heritage Museum of the Lok Virsa, things carved by my father and grandfather are showcased and this is an honour for us.” Bushra Pasha an artists in porceline jewelry making and paper quailing also spoke on the occasion and asked the authorities to support the dying art and craft of Pakistan.