PESHAWAR - Shah Farman, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister for information and culture, has said that the government will soon announce a comprehensive cultural policy, which will be reflective of cultural diversity of the province.
He added that artist community will be provided full support to continue literary and cultural activities. He expressed these views during a meeting with members of Culture Journalists Forum (CJF) here at his office on Sunday. CJF Fata Convener Sher Alam Shinwari and famous actor Zardad Bulbul were also present on the occasion.
The minister assured that the PTI-led government would address all outstanding issues of the artists of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to promote art and artistic activities in the militancy-hit province. He said that his government has already extended financial support to senior TV artists including Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, Khayal Muhammad and Murad Ali alias Gulbali while other deserving artists too would be compensated. "I am not interested in lip service only. My government wants to take some concrete steps and the first measure in this regard is to set up an endowment fund for the artist community," Farman maintained.
The culture minister said that a comprehensive cultural policy representing all ethnic groups living in the province was under way and would be soon declared. He said that the policy would address almost all the important issues being faced by artists and writers. "Our cultural policy should be reflective of our rich cultural diversity. All stakeholders of the province will be invited to debate and prepare a well worked out policy draft that can guarantee our mutual understanding and social cohesion towards a peaceful society," Farman added. He told the meeting that ailing artists Naeem Jan, Qamru Jan, Zarsanga and Khan Tehsil would be duly compensated while pace of the work on the publication of the KP Cultural Directory would also be looked into. The city's lone theatre Nishtar Hall is open for positive and healthy cultural and literary activities, he said.
The minister stressed that journalists should play an active part in boosting true image of people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which he observed was rich in cultural heritage. "I have recently sent a cheque of Rs 300,000 to noted ailing TV artist Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah but I am not interested in doing politics over helping the deserving artists," Shah said.
To a query, the minister said that KP Censorship Board is releasing monthly stipends to artists and writers and many other genuine issues would be addressed once a valid cultural policy draft got approved by the KP provincial assembly. Obscenity and violence in the garb of Pashtun culture will not be allowed and artists representing true image of province will be encouraged, the minister added.