‘Express sympathy with Baloch by celebrating their culture’
Supporters and proponents of Balochi culture will gather in Lyari on March 2 to celebrate Baloch Culture Day. The event is being held to promote Balochi culture, to express solidarity with the Baloch living all over the world and to strive for harmony between the various communities living in Lyari.
The programme is being organised by The Lyari Resource Centre (LRC) in collaboration with community activists, artists, intellectuals and local philanthropists. The LRC has arranged for a number of colourful activities to take place in different areas of the city, including a 50km cycle race and practices of Leva and ‘do-chapi’ dances. Singers from Balochistan, Karachi and other parts of Sindh, along with a number of poets and artists, have also been invited for the occasion.
All major activities will be held at the International Football Stadium, located in front of the Lyari General Hospital, from 4pm onwards. However, a number of activities have already begun in various neighborhoods of Karachi.
Habib Hassan, who heads the organising committee, told The News that on the day of the event, a number of major rallies would be carried out from Pipri, Malir, where people from different areas of the city will converge to head towards the Karachi Press Club (KPC) via Sharea Faisal. Similarly, a number of rallies will be taken out from Mauripur and the adjoining areas, such as Manghopir, Old Golimar, and will gather at the KPC.
Once they reach the KPC, the participants — who are to be dressed in traditional attires — will perform songs, after which the crowd will head out at 4pm towards the main venue in Lyari.
“We are participating in this event to make the public realise that we stand united. Some people are trying to create differences among the citizens, especially those in Lyari, by instigating criminals to promote uncertainty; we want to bring an end to these activities by promoting the ideals of harmony and peace,” Hassan said.
“Persistent insecurity and street war among certain groups have destroyed the old culture, they have indulged the youth in unconstructive activities, and have created anarchy in our neighborhoods; we want to an end to all of this,” he said.
“It seems as if the newer generation is unaware about the old culture and the values that our elders had introduced long ago. We are inviting all skilled artisans from Sindh and Balochistan to set up stalls where they can display their handicrafts,” he said.
“Renowned Baloch singers, poets, artists and writers will also exhibit their talents at this event. Meanwhile, sports clubs are organizing programmes to mobilize the people to participate in this gigantic gathering. We believe it will send a positive message to all segments of the country’s society: the message that Lyariites are a peace-loving people,” he said.
Elahi Bakhsh Baloch, who has been extremely active in promoting this event, said: “what is happening in Lyari—the uncertainty that some people are trying to create— it is not in favor of the people, who have been living together for generations. This event, which is being organized by the community itself, will send a message of peace and harmony to all those living in Lyari and outside. We do not have any political agenda: all we want is to promote peace through these types of gatherings; we believe it is only way to bring the people together.”
“The event will help remove political differences and will provide a platform for people on which they can come together on a single agenda for the promotion of our culture. We have invited people to set up stalls where they can exhibit items with cultural origins such as dresses and musical instruments. Such items were of great significance to our elders,” he said.
“We want to extinguish the fire of difference, both among the groups living in Lyari and among Baloch everywhere. Lyari has contributed a lot for the promotion of art, theatre, literary activities and musical concerts in the past. We want to this being revived to inspire our new generations.”
Senior politician Sher Mohammed Rais said: “the people of Lyari want to remove all differences. That is why they are actively participating in such gatherings.” Recalling the peaceful days that he spent in Lyari, Rais said: “There were music and artistes clubs who would organize concerts frequently where the youth used to throng till late at night. At that time Lyari was considered peaceful area.”
“Promoting culture, sports activities and music clubs will help ease tensions between rivals, who have pushed the innocent people into a feeling of insecurity,” Rais said. He thinks that it is a handful of miscreants that had brought a bad name to Lyari.
The area of Lyari is thought by many as being a ‘mini-Pakistan’, where all ethnic groups -— Baloch, Sindhis, Punjabis, Pushtuns, Hazaras, Urdu-speaking and Bengali — have been living side by side for several generations.