ISLAMABAD, December 13: The five-day Wakhi Cultural Festival, organised by Lok Virsa in collaboration with Gojal Educational & Cultural Association (GECA), has concluded with a prestigious ceremony marked by traditional cultural ensembles of music and dance.
The slogan of the festival was ‘Harnessing Culture for Peace & Harmony’ and the organisers succeeded in bringing the message of peace to the entire Pakistani nation through the vibrant depiction of the Wakhi heritage with performances and demonstration of skills by the Wakhi artisans and artists, who came from the far-flung valley of upper Hunza and Gojal.
Murtaza Solangi, Director General, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) was the chief guest at the concluding ceremony, who eulogised the efforts of the organisers Lok Virsa and GECA for their combined efforts for promotion of Wakhi culture and language.
Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javaid appreciated the efforts of the participating master artisans, folk artists and musicians from Wakhi community on the successful completion of the festival. He said that the festival afforded an excellent opportunity to the residents of the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad to witness at the capital city the first time in the history of Pakistan live presentations and display of the rich of cultural traditions, lifestyles, musical heritage, traditional cuisine and the rituals connected to various festivities and celebrations of the Wakhi community living in Gilgit-Baltistan region.
On behalf of Lok Virsa, he assured the participants that Lok Virsa will continue to patronise and support all regional and local cultural institutions in Pakistan for documentation and preservation of their indigenous folk culture and traditions. He also acknowledged the generous contribution made by the partners, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs represented by Royal Norwegian Embassy for holding this unique cultural activity of its kind at Islamabad.
Also appreciating the role of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, Khalid Javaid said that it is a source of great satisfaction for the cultural organisations like Lok Virsa that state media institutions like PBS are keen to help out in projecting cultural heritage of Pakistan. He said that Lok Virsa recognises the contribution of PBC in documenting and promoting folk musical heritage of Pakistan through its provincial and regional radio stations. He expressed hope that Both Lok Virsa and PBC can join hand together to make some more concerted efforts in this direction, he added.
GECA Chairman Farman Ali Baig thanked Lok Virsa and the Norwegian partners in giving an opportunity to the Wakhi people to showcase their rich culture, traditions, folklore and musical heritage in the capital city through Wakhi Cultural Festival.
The ceremony concluded with life cultural performances by a select number of Wakhi folk singers and musicians as well as poetry recitation by the Wakhi poets and writers. Certificates and shields were presented to the participants at the end of the ceremony. Over 60 participants including master artisans, folk artists and musicians attended the festival.
The 5-day Wakhi festival remained a centre of attraction for the visitors from the twin city metropolis. Visitors enjoyed the elderly people and notables of Gojal tribe dancing to the tunes of traditional music wearing their cultural white cap and long woollen coat embroidered with flowers called ‘Chugha.’ The white cap and ‘Chugha’ clad elders remained the centre of attention.
Apart from poetry recitation session, melodious songs, skits and drama staged by local Wakhi artists were also presented during the festival and a drama depicting the various phases of historical development of Wakhi people received warm appreciation. Stalls showcasing the traditional dress, cuisines and artwork of Wakhi Pamiri people remained the centre of attention of visitors. Local cuisines such as Bat, Molida, Gral, Shulbut and Moch offered a unique traditional taste to the visitors. The warmth of the food stalls and the colourful cultural presentations of the festival provided a good warm environment in the chilly weather of the twin cities. [The NEWS]