KARACHI-Cool breeze was blowing, light drizzling was damping the soil giving out fresh fragrance and people were dancing at hojamalo song.

As the drizzling stopped, then after a short while moon peeped through clouds and looked at the people being amused on open ground of the village; such was a scene of folk musical night in Bughan village of Keti Bunder tehsil of Thatta district. Hundreds of people thronged to attend the event organised by World Wide Fund for Nature – Pakistan (WWF – P) under its Building Capacity on Climate Change Adaptation in Coastal Areas of Pakistan (CCAP) project funded by European Commission. People from different spheres of life such as government officials, academia, NGOs representatives, civil society members, mediamen and school children participated in the event.

The musical night was celebrated with a purpose to impart climate change adaptation messages to a large number of rural audiences in that remote area of Thatta district. People came in groups from surrounding as well as distant places, villages and creek areas of the sea. Most of the people came on foot due to lack of transport facility while others reached through personal or relative’s vehicles. Though these people have been living here since many centuries but are still deprived of basic amenities of health, employment and education.

Speakers informed the participants about existential environmental threats confronting the coastal communities and their long as well as short-term impacts on the Indus eco-region. They demanded for release of required volume of water downstream Kotri for conservation and survival of the biodiversity. They also urged the national and international organisations to plant more trees and safeguard the existing forests in Sindh. Artistes conveyed environmental messages through cultural songs, poetry and tableau.

Commenting on the event, Site Manager Indus for All Programme, WWF - Pakistan Ghulam Rasool Khatri said that informal gatherings have proved to be a strong source of communicating conservation messages and they create a sense of unity and oneness among the rural communities. “In addition to providing entertainment, this event has brought people more close to nature who live in their particular social and cultural set up,” observed Khatri. He also added that strong socio-environmental linkages help in protection of the nature.

Speaking on the occasion, Site Coordinator CCAP Tahir Abbasi briefed the participants about CCAP project and said that it intends to reduce risks faced by the vulnerable communities in coastal areas of Pakistan especially Keti Bunder, Kharo Chan and Jiwini. He said that under CCAP project, a series of scientific and research based studies will also be undertaken. Pakistan is facing multiple environmental challenges which need to be addressed on urgent basis. He further said that this huge multitude shows strong commitment of people to address these challenges and take practical measures for preventing sea intrusion and cutting of the mangroves. He also said that local communities have been involved in afforestation process and it will give fruitful results. He hoped that people will learn through these events about climate change and make efficient use their natural resources.

Addressing the audience, CCAP Project Officer Chettan Kumar said that main purpose of this event is to inform the local communities about the significance of their natural resources so that people feel responsibility regarding ownership of the resources and generate innovative ideas for their sustainable use. He demanded for the sustainable development paradigm and stopping untreated waste products in the fresh water bodies. He also maintained that folk wisdom should be documented and cultural events with particular environmental themes should be organized in rural areas.

Remarking on the musical night, one of the participants, Ishtiaq Ali Mahesar working as Operational Manager in MCB said that such events bring solace to the people who most of the times remain worried due to earning livelihood and other problems. While the other participant Wazir Memon said that these events are the effective means of communicating with local people and they will create awareness about the issues faced by masses.

Folk singers Allah Dino Khaskeli, Manzoor Ali Khaskeli, Fida Hussain and Zulfqar Rahi captivated the audience with poetry of Shah Abdul Lateef, Sheikh Ayaz and other renowned poets of Sindh. People kept dancing and enjoying the songs. Three comedians - Urs Narejo, Zulfi Shah and Saleem Katchi - performed tableaus on various themes and entertained the participants.