LAHORE - Renowned calligraphers held a protest meeting at Dabistan-e-Iqbal on Monday against what they called an ‘unfair’ calligraphy competition of young artists organised by the National History and Literary Heritage Division in Islamabad on Feb 28.

Khursheed Alam Gohar Qalm (Pride of Performance), Irfan Ahmed Qureshi, Wajid Mahmood Yaqut Raqam, Shaukat Minhas Zaheen Qalm, Manawar-ul-Islam and Usman Ghani were among those who participated in the meeting.  The following resolutions were passed:

“Large Scale ‘Rigging’ was done. Highest level of favouritism and nepotism was exercised. Twenty marks were allocated for live performance. The participant who was awarded the first prize never participated in the live competition.”

“The third position prize awarded in Khat-e-Thuluth category was highly unjustified. The participant was very weak and did not deserve it.”

“The second position prize was awarded to an individual on quota basis, where as it was included in the open competition.”

“The faults pointed out by the jury were consulted with international experts who disagreed with the decision of the jury.”

On the occasion, Calligraphers Association of Pakistan General Secretary Irfan Ahmed Qureshi said, “We demand from the government to hold an inquiry to find out mismanagement in the competition that has not only deprived the deserving candidates of prizes, but also tarnished the image of the country.”

“We also demand that in the future competitions experienced and senior calligraphist should be consulted and made part of management and jury. The handling and management of international events by Wasil Shahid and his partner Ashraf Heera as representatives of the government has “eroded our image within the county and abroad”. The calligraphers community is highly dissatisfied with their performance and demands their removal and an inquiry against them,” he said.