LAHORE Ustad Akhtar Khan, one of the veteran classical singers has urged the government and PTV administration to resume classical singing programmes for promotion of the music as well as to support the singers. He said PTV had halted the only programme 'Rag Rang some five years ago under the pretext of non availability of sponsorship. During a brief chat with TheNation on Friday, Ustad Akhtar was of the view that PTV administration should not depend upon sponsorship for classical music programmes as it was matter to keep alive our great heritage. Radio Pakistan always supported classical singers but unfortunately it has also stopped on airing classical music programmes, he added. There are very few people like Ustad Akhtar who are still keeping the culture alive by singing at various musical events. He has been singing since 30 years as his father Ustad Malang Ali Khan and grandfather Ustad Ali Baksh Khan have rendered their lives to classical music. Ustad Akhtar is a pure classical singer who is adept at various raags. He has been nominated thrice for the pride of performance by the government but still waiting for it. He won various awards like the award for best classical singer from the prime minister, award for excellent performance by the press club, world performing award by Rafi Peer Theatre and the award for best classical singer from National Council of Arts. Ustaad Akhtar said: My talent is appreciated by some of the leading organisation but I have not been given proper opportunities to express my talent. Only radio Pakistan has given me a chance to perform monthly in a programme Ahang-e-Khusarvi but that has been stopped now. He further said classical music is a specific genre which had its various technicalities, which need to be learned and this can only be done if people who are already established in this field are given appropriate chances to express their talent which would attract youngsters to learn classical music. It is pertinent to mention here that Ustad Akhtar Khan represented Pakistan at the 29th Saarc festival of the literature at Agra, India. He performed Bahar, Jog and Hameer ragas besides singing Kafis of Baba Bulleh Shah, Shah Hussain, and Khawaja Ghulam Farid in the festival. Though, he is master in Khayal singing but he has good to sing Amir Khusrus ragas Shahana and Anana. Lamenting on the dying the classical music, Ustad Akhtar said there were several reasons behind classical music becoming unpopular in Pakistan, but one major reason was official apathy. He said Lahore was a cultural hub before partition but after partition it lost patrons of cultural. He further said, Although, many Muslim artistes including Ustad Amanat Ali Khan, Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, Nazakat Ali Khan and Roshanara Begum shifted to Pakistan after partition but the patrons migrated to India and the tradition of patronage came to an end. He said pop music had become popular but it did not mean that classical singings had lost its charm. It is state of sorrow that the singers how have not any know-how about singing, are enjoying luxurious life but the true musicians and maestros are facing difficulties to meet the both hands and keep alive their passion, he added.