ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) is making heavy investments followed by new modernised techniques to spread literary culture in the country, Dr Rashid Hameed, Director and Chief-Editor of PAL, told TheNation during an exclusive interview. He gave comprehensive account of the projects that are in the pipeline, being initiated by the academy, and said that sufficient amount of Academy's budget is being spent on developmental activities. "We are spending heavily on the renovation of the existing structure of the academy, its further expansion, and the welfare of our writers", he stated. The statistics pertaining to the projects revealed that an auditorium is under construction phase to facilitate the guests. The auditorium comprises 400 seats, a committee room, and a hall. "Faiz Ahmad Faiz Auditorium will take about one year for completion", Dr Rashid added. The net expenditure on the construction of the auditorium is around Rs 40 million. In addition, the director said that the amount of awards is doubled by PAL. Two new awards are introduced, one for translation and 1 Hindko award. He said, "English, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, and Saraiki awards are granted to different writers and poets with a ratio of one each". Moreover, Kamal-e-Fun award that is a lifetime award is going to be started from August this year that worth rupees 500,000, that will be given to any writer as a lifetime achievement. The four provincial offices of PAL conduct conferences, seminars, and other literary functions throughout the year. "We are playing a very active role in Sindh, Punjab, Balochistan, and NWFP", added the director of PAL. Further more; he revealed that the academy has allocated 5,000 scholarships for poor, needy, deserving and disabled yet talented literary scholars compared to 1500-2000 scholarships in the past. He attributed the hundred percent increase in scholarships to the efforts of Chairman of Pakistan Academy of Letters Iftikhar Arif. "The credit goes to the chairman, who is undergoing sincere efforts to promote emerging talent", said Dr Rashid while paying gratitude to Iftikhar Arif. "It is by virtue of the untiring resolve of our chairman that PAL stands as what it is today", he added The academy has also started financial assistance to literary figures on one-time basis, in case some unfortunate incident happens to them. The academy pays Rs 25,000 to the sufferer in the event of any mishap. In addition to that, Pakistan Academy of Letters extends monthly honorariums to the able scholars. "To ensure transparency in giving honorariums our board of governors comprises some very prominent and credible personalities", the chief editor Rashid Hameed added. He further informed that Dr Javed Iqbal from Punjab, Dr Nabi Bakhsh Baloch from Sindh, Dr Shah Muhammad Mari from Balochistan and Dr Salman Shaheen from NWFP are the members of Board of Governors of the honorarium committee. "The presence of these four prominent personalities in the committee ensures the representation of all the four provinces with transparency", he added. Besides, the Academy also publishes a monthly 'Khabarnama' that contains the news of literary circles, along with six bi-annual and quarterly magazines. Moreover, PAL also publishes a comprehensive bibliography of all the literary books that is composed of the annual selection of already published Pakistani literature under the title "Kitaab-i-yaat-e-Pakistani adab". Dr Rashid Hameed said that PAL has published around 70 books of those famous writers who are regarded as makers of Pakistani literature. Some 150 to 200 books are in the pipeline, to be published soon. "These books would later be translated into English. We would introduce our rich literature to the entire world", Rashid Hameed vowed. He lauded the efforts of the government to spread literature. He was of the view that government was determined to support the intellectual circles. In addition, he asserted that funds given by the government are properly availed of. "Have a look at our projects every single penny is being used in the right direction, Iftikhar Arif is very tough man, and he cannot bear corruption and dishonesty. We are determined to work honestly under his guidance", he pledged. Several projects of PAL that are in the pipeline include a show room of books, a sales centre of books with coffee shop, printing press, and Ehl-e-Qalam directory, a detailed bibliography of living as well as dead Pakistani intellectuals.