PESHAWAR - Former Ambassador of Pakistan, Manzo­orul Haq on Sunday said poets and artists were playing significant role in promot­ing soft image of the country and under­lined the need for taking practical steps for their welfare and financial support of their families to live a dignified life. De­spite of limited financial resources, he said, poets and artists were enhancing the coun­try’s prestige through their poetry and art­work and time has come to take pragmatic steps at the government level for their wel­fare and socioeconomic development of families of all those who were immortalised.

“The renowned Pashto folk singer, Hi­dayatullah Khan had spent last period of his life in extremely difficult conditions as he was overlooked for years despite rendering valuable services for the country’s music in­dustry,” Manzoor told APP. The recipient of President’s Award for Pride of Performance and numerous other awards of cultural or­ganisations had been living in oblivion since 2004 owing to domestic issues followed by health problems, memory loss and finally lost battle for life in September last year. Known as Muhammad Rafi of Pashto, Ustad Hidayatullah Khan had gained widespread reputation for his fa­mous hit pashto songs ‘Rasha Auo Rasha’, ‘Manzal Da Tolo Uew De Kho Safar Juda Juda’, ‘Tere Shwey Warze Da Khanda’ and ‘Yema Da Truck Driver’.

His popular songs at Pasto movies such as Deedan, Orbal, Jawargar, Da Pakhtun Tora, Alaqa Ghair and Ghazi Kaka had taken Hidayatullah’s popularity to new heights.

“We need to give enormous respect and fi­nanicial support to such legands in their life rather waits for their demise to acknowl­edge their services,” Manzoorul Haq who served Pakistan’s Ambassador in Saudi Ara­bia and Egypt told media. “Pragmatic steps should be taken for free treatment of all those artists and poets confronted to fatal ailments. Literary, cultural and entertainment functions were being held frequently in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad where artists, poets, musicians and singers receive warm applause from audi­ences and get exposures besides contributing to their families’ economy.