ISLAMABAD - Former chairman Senate and Pakistan People’s Party Senator Raza Rabbani on Saturday showed concerns over what he termed as arrogant act on part of the government to denude the gallery of Pakistan Academy of Letters of portraits of the legendary poets including Asadullah Khan Ghalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ahmed Faraz.

In a statement, he said, “The writing and poetry of these men of letter had a deep imprint on the creation and political development of progressive Pakistan. Their shadows cast long on cultural horizons of Pakistan.” He added that the removal of their portraits was perhaps the first step as the government might now move to remove or ban their books in Pakistan

According to some media reports, the sitting federal secretary of National History and Literary Heritage Division during his visit to the PAL ordered that poets like Faiz, Ghalib, and Faraz and other revered mystic poets were of no worth that their portraits should be displayed at the PAL. He ordered that their portraits should be taken off the gallery and be replaced with that of portraits of Dr Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam.

“It is a historically-known fact that if you want to wage a war against a country and destroy it from within, you burn it libraries and destroy its cultural heritage,” Rabbani said and questioned: “Is this what the federal government is intending to do?”

He demanded that an immediate inquiry needed to be held in the matter and an exemplary action should be taken against the officials concerned.

“I am writing a letter to chairman Senate Standing Committee on National Heritage to take immediate notice and inform the people of Pakistan as to why they were being robbed of their cultural heritage,” he concluded.