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Artists are custodians of culture and heritage: Marriyum

ISLAMABAD (APP) — The artists are custodians of culture and heritage and have key role in projecting positive image of the country at the global level, Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of National Artists Convention here at the Pakistan National Council of Arts Saturday.

She said that a heinous game was enacted to change our bright traditions and values through dogmatism and our multi-dimensional culture was badly vitiated. She said that the burgeoning terrorism also tarnished Pakistan’s image at the global level.

The minister observed that the sacrifices rendered by the security forces, police and law enforcing agencies and the steps taken in line with the vision of the former prime minister, peace had been restored in the country leading to welcome revival of the film industry as well as the restoration of sports activities. She said that the artists were neglected by the previous governments and as a consequence they were deprived of their rights. She said that the convening of the artist convention was also a sequel to the vision of former prime minister, who had great love attachment with arts and culture.

Marriyum said that the purpose of convening the convention was to benefit from the valuable opinions and proposals of the artists with a view to empower the artist community as desired by the former prime minister.

She revealed that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi would announce the first ever culture and film policy of the country on the concluding day of the convention encompassing steps for the welfare of the individuals attached with arts, promotion of culture and measures to rediscover the lost stature of the film industry. The policy had been formulated in consultation with the provincial governments, she added.

She said that the artists were the custodian of the positive image of the society like the armed forces, law enforcing agencies and police, who were protectors of our geographical boundaries, internal security and law and order respectively.

The minister said that after the 18th Amendment the subject had been devolved to the provinces but this policy document would guide the provincial governments in regards to steps for promotion of culture and films. She said that her generation had grown up by watching PTV which had played a significant role in the promotion of the Urdu language, adding that future all the ceremonies and functions should be conducted in Urdu.

She said that there was a well entrenched culture of intolerance in the society and people were not ready to listen to the opinions of others and instead of positive opinions there was greater stress on highlighting negative viewpoints. She said that the media would also have to give a serious thought to refraining from sensationalism for better ratings. She observed that it was imperative to make collective efforts for betterment of the country at all levels.

Marriyum said that media had an important role as a watch-dog and it had acquitted itself well in that regard. It was projecting the real face of Pakistan, however, a lot many things needed to be improved, she added. Anything that sent out negative impression about Pakistan should not be put on the air waves, she said.

The minister said that under the new policy investments would be made in the film industry. She said that a Finance Fund was being established to encourage production of such films, which could highlight the culture of the country. She said that the government would establish film academies, infrastructure and studios, which were almost non-existent in the country. In the new policy those things had been taken care of to benefit from the artistic ingenuity of the artists.

She said that under the new policy rebates would be given in the tax and duties for the import of film related equipment. Similarly concessions would be offered on the construction of cinemas and financial assistance would be extended to the artists so that they could live honourably after the end of their careers. She said that the present government would ensure the implementation of the policy within its tenure.

Marriyum asked to artists to apprise the young generation about their experiences.

The minister said that the CPEC caravan, which travelled from Xian to Gawadar, was purported to bring into spotlight the cultures of the two countries. She said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a flagship project of OBOR, which would benefit the people of the entire region, besides China and Pakistan. She said that the CPEC would bring the two countries closer than ever before, besides promoting and highlighting their cultures.

Referring to her recent visit to China, she said that the people of China had watched Pakistani films of sixties and seventies but they were not aware about Pakistan of today. She said that how could films be produced without film producing equipment and how could they be screened without the availability of cinemas.

She said that Pakistan would participate in the film festival at Beining and Shangai and the Pakistan films would be shown in the cinemas of China. During her visit, she had signed a memorandum of understanding in that regard.

Agreements had also been signed with China for the revival of the film industry under which the two countries would exchange films and hold exhibitions, she said. She thanked the government of China and Chinese artists in that respect.

Marriyum said that the CPEC would also act as a catalyst for exchange of cultures of the two countries.

The minister said that the proposals and recommendations given in the convention would be accommodated in the new policy and those artists, who were unable to attend the convention, could send their proposals in writing, adding that it would help in the revival and promotion of the film industry.

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