ISLAMABAD - Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb on Tuesday said that the country's artists had kept alive identity of Pakistan, its culture and heritage through their art.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the 9th National Exhibition at PNCA, she said that terrorism tried to obscure the national culture but it could not be defaced due to its strong roots within the society and the efforts of the artists.

She said that the nation had succeeded in containing terrorism as well as religious extremism to a great extent and a collective effort was also needed to eliminate the culture of intolerance.

She said that terrorism and intolerance could be subdued through art.

The Minister said that it was imperative to promote art in the country and the youth should participate in the art and painting exhibitions.

Marriyum said that the government was working on the formulation of a policy for the revival of the film industry and welfare of the artists.

She said that Pakistani nation and State institutions had rendered innumerable sacrifices in the fight against terrorism and the artists had highlighted those sacrifices through their art.

She said that the artists and painters were the Ambassadors of the country who had projected and promoted the positive identity of the country, its culture and heritage through their paintings and the pen in difficult times during the last 35 years.

The Minister said that as a result of the steps taken in conformity with the vision of the former Prime Minister and the sacrifices offered by the Armed Forces and the law-enforcing agencies the incidents of terrorism had been reduced to a great extent as compared to 2013.

She said that the revival of activities pertaining to arts, culture and literature was made possible due to the peaceful conditions in the country and consequently the people were discussing culture, music, films, art and creativity.

She said that the government was taking effective steps for the welfare of the artists including the setting up of a welfare fund to provide financial assistance to them notwithstanding the fact that after 18th Amendment the subject had been transferred to the provinces.

She said that the Federal government was initiating practical steps for promotion of films and welfare of the artists and soon a national cultural policy would be announced which would ensure representation of all languages, provinces, cultures and national heritage.

She said that the provincial governments would seek guidance from this policy and they would be given a definite plan in that regard.

The Minister said that the government was also formulating the first ever film policy.

The Minister said that terrorism not only claimed the lives of the citizens of the country but also did a great damage to the culture and national heritage. She said that the culture, heritage and national values would be highlighted through the films and the government was also contemplating to establish Directorate of Films and a Film Fund besides offering tax rebates to encourage the film industry.

The Minister observed that through the production of films the scenic beauty of Pakistan would be reflected and highlighted to attract the foreign tourists.

She said that the youth should seek guidance from the artists who were an asset of the country. The Minister said that the artists projected Pakistan's image through colours and created the desire to move forward in times of adversity.

She said that the national paintings exhibition was being held for the first time since 2003 and the revival of cultural activities mirrored a healthy society.

The Minister paid glowing tributes to eminent artists including Iqbal Jaffery, Mian Ijaz ul Hasan, Zulqurnain Haider, Hajira Mansoor, Collin David, Mansoor Rahi and others for exhibiting their art and also presented shields to them.

DG PNCA explained the aims and objectives of the exhibition.

The Minister also witnessed performances of the PNCA artists and appreciated them.