PESHAWAR – Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Minister for Information and Culture, Mian Iftikhar Hussain has said cooperation in the culture sector and exchange of cultural delegations between the US and Pakistan is need of the hour, as it will be helpful in establishing good bilateral relations and better interaction between people of the two countries.

This he stated while talking to the Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate in Peshawar Marcia Anglarill the other day. Secretary Culture and Information Azmat Hanif Aurakzai was also present on this occasion.

The minister and the US Consulate Officer were agreed upon exchange of cultural delegations and cooperation in the culture sector for better understanding and bilateral relations.

The minister said though Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was not a too big province, yet it had a centuries old historical background and rich culture, adding that it was a banquet of 12 recognised regional languages. He said culture was a vast subject, which fully covered all spheres of life and those who restricted it just to singing and music did not knew what it actually was.

Mian Iftikhar maintained that the people should understand that culture was the power and identity of a nation.

He said those who harmed their culture were their open enemies and they did not want them to exist. In the present critical situation, he said, the credit of revival of cultural activities in the province went to the ANP-led government, which made it possible at the cost of huge price. “We through cultural activities want to convey a message to the world that we are peace-loving people and not terrorists,” he added.

The minister said after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the culture subject was fully devolved to the province and the provincial government inked agreements with Iran and Afghanistan in the culture sector and wanted such agreements with other countries including US also.

He added that the provincial government was actively considering establishing its own film industry in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where besides commercial films, art films would also be produced. He said that special efforts would also be made for promotion of theatre in the province. He said the US cooperation in this regard would be welcomed.

Mian Iftikhar admitted that no doubt the US did a lot in different sectors for the welfare of Pakistani people but due to non-cooperation in the culture sector, it had not yielded desired results. Taking keen interest in cooperation in the culture sector, Marcia Anglarill assured that she would talk to her government and all possible steps would be taken in this regard.