ISLAMABAD - Folkloric songs, dance ensembles and performances by rural musicians continue to fascinate visitors on Sunday at the seven-day IDPs’ Relief Mela (fair) organised by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) here at Shakaparian.

Throngs of visitors are being treated to colourful folk dances, folk music together with eye-catching artisans-at-work exhibition. The Mela is a true reflection of Pakistan’s rich tangible and intangible heritage.

Forty master artisans of various specialised craft areas such as embroidery, block printing, lacquer work, doll making, truck art, wood carving, Namda & Gabba, metal work, shawl weaving, needle work, traditional carpets, blue pottery, wax printing, stone work, Pattu weaving, mirror work, and jewellery from different provinces, regions and remote areas are exhibiting their skills, at the Mela.

A group of folk artists, folk musicians and rural performers, attired in beautiful traditional costumes continue to enthral the visitors with their fabulous performances. The artists include Akhtar Channal and Group, Kirshan Bhel and Group, Shahid Ali Khan and Group, Shaukat Ali and Group and Kashmiri Group. Bano Rehmat, a young folk singer from Muzaffarabad, is known as nightingale of Kashmir. She sings national, folk and mystic songs in Kashmiri, Punjabi and Urdu languages with full command.

Explaining the objectives of Lok Virsa, Shahera Shahid, executive director Lok Virsa, said: “Our mandate duly provides for creating opportunities for the welfare and betterment of artisans, performing artists and musicians both male and female. Over the years, Lok Virsa has been able to undertake a wide range of activities and programs that have contributed towards poverty alleviation among the rural people in general and empowerment of rural women in particular.”

The festival will continue till October 23.