ISLAMABAD: The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) on Wednesday organised a daylong Kashmir Cultural Festival in connection with Kashmir Solidarity Day in collaboration with the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The festival brought Kashmiri artisans, artists, NGOs and government organisations working for the cause of Kashmir under one umbrella to express solidarity with the Kashmiris.
The event was arranged with purely cultural and social perspective, highlighting the contributions of Kashmiri immigrants who are trying to keep their identity and cultural traditions alive despite atrocities by the Indian forces in Indian-held Kashmir.
Lok Virsa became the focal point of cultural activities relating to the day. All social sector and community organisations, artists, musicians and members of the diplomatic community were invited to participate in the festival.
A wide range of programmes was chalked out for the day.
The main features included Kashmiri artisans-at-work exhibition, Kashmiri folk arts and crafts exhibition, Kashmiri traditional cuisine, congregation of Kashmiri families, congregation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and puppet shows for families.
More than 25 Kashmiri master artisans participated in the Kashmiri artisans-at-work exhibition. They included Zulfiqar Ali Ghazi in papier mache; Mukhtar Dar, Dilshad Qayyum and Munir Sheikh in gabba; Qazi Ali Muhammad and Arif Mahmood Sheikh in namda; Taj Muhamamd Tajal and Sher Zaman in carpet weaving; Nisar Ali, Abdul Waheed Rather and Gul-e-Zehra in Kashmir shawl; Ghulam Nabi Butt in stain-stitch embroidery; Muhammad Amjad, Yasmin Bano, Rubina Zulfiqar, Muhammad Siddique and Mustafa in Kashmiri embroidery; Saleem Malik in wood carving; and Muhammad Irfan Sheikh in walnut wood carving.
Kashmiri folkloric ensemble “Taleh-Ruz” (named after Kashmiri embroidery) comprising Bano Rehmat, Halima Bibi, Rubina Khanum, Rizwana Khan, Muhammad Altaf Mir, Ghulam Muhammad Dar, Ghulam Rasul Butt, Muhammad Akram Butt, Jeevay Lal, Amir Hussain, Anis Ahmed, Amanat Ali, Jalis Ahmed, Ch Banarus, Raja Imran, Raja Anwar, Muhammad Sain and others, also performed at the Lok Virsa Open-air Theatre.
Famous Kashmiri Gatka party from Muzaffarabad also performed throughout the day.
The puppet theatre of the Pakistan National Council of Arts also presented performances at the open-air theatre.
A large number of NGOs and government organisations working for the cause of Kashmir and social sector had also set up their stalls and expressed solidarity with the Kashmiri people by displaying their products. They also displayed banners bearing slogans in relevance with the event.
Kashmir cuisines rista, roghan josh, tabaq mas, aab gosht and goshtaba, with Kashmiri green tea, were served during the festival.
Arts and crafts bazaar offered a variety of knick-knacks, gemstones, folk arts, crafts and trinkets, which were available at affordable rates.
In addition to special programmes organised by Lok Virsa marking the occasion, the Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology (Heritage Museum) also entertained the visitors.
In order to ensure maximum participation of public in the event, the Lok Virsa management granted a 50 per cent special rebate on museum entry ticket.
The event witnessed a great hustle and bustle. Visitors from all walks of life thronged the venue to take part in the activities.
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