islamabad - A three-day Fourth Pakistan Mountain Culture Festival and International Mother Language Festival kicked off here Friday featuring colorful cultural heritage of mountains in Pakistan.

The opening ceremony of the event was held at the Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) while the three-day event will feature language conference, Mushaira and folk musical performance by 40 renowned artists, poets and artisans from different ethnic backgrounds from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral region representing their diverse languages- Shina, Khowar, Balti, Brushaski, Kalasha, Wakhi and Domaki. During the event, the unique handicrafts and cuisines of these regions are also being showcased.

Initiative for Promotion of Pamiri Arts and Culture (IPPAC) in collaboration with PNCA, Shandur Welfare Organisation and Idara Baraye Talim o Taraqi (IBT) arranged the cultural event on the theme of “Culture for Peace and Pluralism” to mark “International Mother Language Day 2016” and celebrating the culture of the mountain communities of Karakoram, Hindukush, Himalayas and Pamir.

Renowned Artists, Musicians and Poets from Gilgit-Baltistan, Chitral and Swat Kohistan performed colorful regional dances and singing shows.

IPPAC aims to contribute in the projection of soft image of the country through sustainable development of art and culture. “Through various cultural activities, which are the need of hour, we can develop the regions as one of the potential tourist destination and hence generate economic activities in the region,” said an official of IPPAC while talking to this agency.

The initiative aims at building a network and providing a platform to the artists and artisans of the region to exhibit their talent to the outside world and transfer their skills to the young generation through training. IPPAC also aims at creating an endowment fund that strives to work for the well being of the artists and artisans and cater to their financial needs so that they could live a respectable life.

When a language goes extinct, a nation’s culture, history, folklore, civilization and knowledge go with it. Out of the 69 languages spoken in Pakistan, 27 have been declared endangered by the UNESCO and are at the verge of extinction. Out of these 27 endangered languages 18 are native to Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral. IPPAC’s another core objective is to work for the preservation and promotion of the local languages spoken in these two regions. In this regards IPPAC has been undertaking projects on audio, visual and written documentation of various languages, the official said.