Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cultural show breaks silence of fear in Swat

The singers and artists enthralled the residents of militancy-hit Malakand division at a three-day cultural and music show, held here at Wadoodia Hall in Saidu Sharif. The participants of the show said that after attempt on the life of Malala Yousufzai, organising such a successful cultural event was a great victory for those forces, who wanted to promote sanity and restore peace in the region. The culture and music show was organised by Swasto Art and Culture Association with the cooperation of provincial cultural department. The show was aimed at breaking the silence of fear and fright in Swat and reposing people’s confidence in the government and security forces. The show, started on Oct 28, continued till Oct 30. A large number of people from Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir Upper and Lower and Malakand protected area participated in the show. According to administration of Wadoodia Hall, around 1,000 people attended the show on the first day, over 15,000 on the second and 20,000 on the final day. Bakhtiar Khattak was the host of the show while renowned Pashto singers Humayun Khan, Sitara Younas, Kiran Khan, Ayaz Khan, Ziauddin, Anwar Khial, Azra Iqbal, Nabeela, Omera and Fareeha performed at the show. Comedians Rahmat Ali Ajiz, Mohammad Akbar Meno, Jehanzeb, Alamgir Swati and Yousuf Khan also amused the audience. The participants of the music show appreciated the government’s efforts to create confidence in the people of Swat. Osman Ali, a resident of Barikot, told Dawn that he enjoyed such an attractive show after three years. He applauded the singers, who enthralled the participants with their melodious voices. The opening and final days of the show were attended by Swat DCO Kamran Khan, DOR Niaz Ahmed and MPA Sher Shah Khan, who is also district president of the ruling Awami National Party. They said that the show would convey a message of peace to the world. It would prompt people to visit the picturesque area and enjoy its scenic valleys, they added. They said that such events would be arranged in future to show the world that Pakhtun culture always promoted peace and not vulgarity. They regretted that some religious and militant groups considered culture as a vulgar and un-Islamic act. Swasto Art and Culture Association head Usman Olasyar told Dawn that they proved that there was no space for vulgarity in Pakthun culture and music. He said that the show was aimed at providing recreational opportunity to the people of Swat and highlighting the positive aspects of Pakhtun culture. He said that it was responsibility of every Pakhtun to work for promotion of culture. Extraordinary security arrangements were made on the occasion. Swat DPO Gul Afzal Khan Afridi told Dawn that apart from security forces 6,000 policemen were deployed at different spots of Swat after the government declared Swat and Shangala as sensitive areas during Eidul Azha. He said that leaves of all police personnel were cancelled during Eid to make elaborate security arrangements. He said that all entry and exit points of Swat were sealed and mobile teams were set up to keep vigil on the movement of suspected persons. He said that no untoward incident occurred during Eid owing to better security arrangements. Apart from the music and culture show, a large number of visitors thronged the scenic spots of Swat valley including Kalam, Bahrain, Madyan, Malam Jabba, Marghuzar and Fizagut. The tourists enjoyed the relatively chilly weather of Swat and snow-covered Kalam valley.

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