PM seeks artists’ help against extremism
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Friday that artistes were an asset of the country and the government was seeking their views to help devise a policy to project Pakistan’s soft image and fight extremism and terrorism.
The premier said that terrorism was a major threat confronting the country, adding that artistes could help change the mindset and bring back those having such tendencies, to lead a steady life.
The event ‘Dialogue with the PM’, was the second in the consultation series initiated by Prime Minister Gilani with intellectuals, artistes, vice chancellors of universities and media persons, to formulate a national policy to counter the growing trend of intolerance and enhance the level of understanding among the masses.
Speaking to artistes and playwrights, Gilani said the dialogue was meant to seek their guidance at the highest level. He noted that terrorism and extremism were the major issues touched upon by the community, saying the military alone could not fight terrorists without the support of the common man.
“All political forces are united to stand at the same platform to launch military operations in Swat and Malakand,” said the premier, adding that the nation had witnessed the success of the operation. He thanked those artistes who had come to the fore to help the 2.9 million displaced persons of the area to return to their homes.
Gilani, who personally took notes of important points raised by the artistes during the discussion, directed Minister for Information Firdaus Aashiq Awan and Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi to review and finalise the suggestions that included revival of the NAFDEC and classic music channel on Pakistan Television (PTV), a check on use of Indian content in advertisements, films and dramas, promotion of youth parliament, possibility of setting up of a film studio, industrial status for film and television and setting up of theaters all over the country. The meeting also took note of the plight of the artiste community, particularly those who were leading a retired life.
Gilani said he would make an announcement in his address to the nation on August 14. He said a decision about the funding and the mode would be made in consultation with the provincial governments. He also directed that Pakistani missions be directed to make the cultural attaches productive and effective and to seek guidance from artistes, writers and intellectuals in promoting national cultural activities abroad.
The premier said that culture was now the domain of the provincial ministers, and added that the points raised at the forum would be raised by him at the meeting of the Council of Common Interests so that a uniform policy could be formulated for betterment of the artiste community and promotion of arts and literature.
He also assured that measures be taken to give lifetime achievement awards to artistes and writers. In his concluding remarks, Gilani spoke about the challenges the country was facing. He mentioned the IDPs that were displaced after the operations in Swat and Malakand area, and said smart cards were used to pay financial compensation to the 2.9 million people without rasing of even a single eyebrow.
The prime minister said that shortage of electricity was a major irritant in enhancing industrial output of the country and for its development and progress. Gilani said it was something that the government inherited from the past and those who stayed in power for nine years did little to add to power generation. He said 3,000MW had been added in three years by his government, while work was underway for increasing it further.
He said work on Bhasha-Diamer Dam and Thar Coal Project would start soon, adding that work on gas pipeline from Iran and the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) project was also underway. Mustafa Qureshi, Anwar Maqsood, Haseena Moeen, Abid Ali Asif Raza Mir, Surayya Multanikar, Shakeel, Saira Kazmi, Jamal Shah, Sadia Imam, Abrarul Haq, Samina Ahmad, Marina Khan, Laila Zuberi, Adnan Siddiqui, Iman Ali, Irfan Khoosat, Javed Babar also spoke on the occasion.
The artistes vowed to stand by the government in ridding the country of extremism, fighting terrorism and developing staying power of society for making the country prosperous and peaceful.
Source: Daily Times