PR LAHORE - Punjabi Parchar, an organisation for the promotion of Punjabi language, organised a Visakhi Mela (Spring Festival) at the Punjabi Complex on Sunday.

Jamshed Iqbal Cheema, a Pakistan Tehreek -e-Insaf leader graced the occasion as a chief guest.

Addressing the gathering, Cheema said: “Like the cultures of other provinces are promoted through local dresses and other traditional items, we should make the struggle to promote the colours of the Punjabi culture."

The PTI leader said Visakhi is a festival of Punjab, adding that abandoning the Punjabi language has been disastrous for us and this region.

Punjabi Parchar director Ahmad Raza stressed the need for making Punjabi a compulsory subject on the secondary level, adding that extremism could be eliminated by spreading the message of peace which was given by Punjabi Sufi saints.

Highlighting the importance of Visakhi Mela which marks the harvesting season in Punjab, he said such festivals represent the biggest occupation of Punjab, which is agriculture.

Punjabi Poet Baba Najmi remarked that Punjabi culture has much diversity. It just did not involve the Punjabi language but various other elements such as bhangra, luddi and geets that define the culture and have been passed onto generations for centuries. Pilac Director Dr Sughra Sadaf, PPP leader Shaukat Basra, actor Nouman Ijaz, senior film/TV actor Rashid Mehmood, Afzal Sehar, current affairs program host Ajmal Jami, drama writer Amir Raza and others spoke on the occasion.

Speakers have pledged to promote the language and culture of Pakistan’s most populous province, Punjab. During the festival, different literary sessions and traditional music and dances were presented by local artists.

Literary session "Punjabi Festival's and message of peace" was organised where guest speakers, including Dr Sughra Sadaf, Ajmal Jami, Afzal Saahir, Iqbal Qaisar and Nain Sokh shared their views. Besides, Sufi kalam by Hassan Shah, jhoomer by Babar Jhoomri group Sahiwal, folk singing by Gujranwala team and a Punjabi Drama "kankaan Pakiaan" by GC team were also presented during the festival.

Singers, Saad Farooq Ziai, Saira Tahir, Fazal Jutt and Jassi Laylpuria also performed on the occasion.

At the end of festival, Punjab Award Ceremony was held in which awards were distributed as Dr Sughra Sadaf, Ajmal Jami, Rashid Memood (Punbaj Maan Award), Afzal Saahir, Tahira Sara (Poetry) Iqbal Qaisar,Amir Raza, Ghiza Nizam Din (Punjabi Sevek) Saeed Bhutta (Sun of Soil).

The awards were distributed by Actor Nouman Ijaz.