Islamabad - Artists’ community in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad once again is pinning hopes on the political parties to take solid steps for their welfare after assuming power through the upcoming election in the country.

The previous government although has taken many initiatives including formulating new cultural policy, forming a committee for the welfare of artists and establish an endowment fund for their uplift, nothing concrete was done at implementation level.

“Many of the artists of entertainment industry died during the last few years after prolonged illness due to their inability to afford medical expenses and lack of attention by the concerned authorities. Many forms of arts are still considered as just a source of fun and not recognized as proper fields,” said a Rawalpindi-based instrumental musician, Salman Adil.

Talking to this agency, he said: “We spend our day and night to entertain the audience without any patronage from the government. Those who are contributing in other fields of life are getting medical coverage, insurance, allowances and many other incentives but art is still not recognized as a proper profession in our country”.      

Laila Jatti an emerging Islamabad-based folk singer observed that former President, Pervez Musharraf was the only person who was himself an art lover and took many steps for the welfare of artists including establishing Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA). Other political figures during the previous governments have done nothing substantial.

 “It is a matter of sorrowfulness that our drama artists who had a great contribution are found begging on the roads and died after getting frustrated due to extreme poverty while some also sold their awards and medals to meet their living expenses”, she lamented.

The government only gives Pride of Performance award to the artists and think its responsibility is fulfilled, she added.

She said the artists should also be given pension after retirement like government employees so that they can live their life with dignity when their health deteriorates and they do not get work.     

The TV channels invite the singers and musicians in their shows for performance and do not pay them saying, “This will give you promotion in your career”. Atleast state-run channel must pay the artists for inviting them to the shows.       

Laila Jatti also urged the concerned authorities to establish a proper institution or platform for those artists who are remarkably talented but unable to come forward due to lack of resources so that their self-respect is not compromised.

“Promotion of good creative art reflects strengthened democratic values of any country. Artists play crucial role in paving the ways for progressive thinking and enlightenment”, Wasil Shahid, an emerging and talented Islambad-based Calligrapher said.

“If any state neglects the contribution of artists toward the betterment of society, it actually hinders this process of progressive thinking and developing a peaceful nation. I cannot term such politics a democratic politics which address only material needs of a society, avoiding their development at civilisation and cultural level”, he observed.    

Wasil Shahid was of the view that the conflict between democratic values and dictating behaviours in our country has confused our nation and promotion of art can help eliminate intolerance from the society.           

The manifestos of all the political parties have not largely spoke about welfare of artists but still the major parties have mentioned steps for their uplift at the end of their manifestos.