Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2014 ::
The Human Right Commission of Pakistan on Saturday organised a convention of writers and artists at a local hotel with panelists calling for collective efforts to promote political harmony, tolerance, cultural values and peace in the country. Among over 100 participants were poets, artists, scholars and human rights activists from across the province.
HRCP vice chairman Dr Sher Mohammad said there was a lack of tolerance in society and therefore, steps should be taken to promote harmony and tolerance. He said poets, artists, scholars and human rights activists could help create public awareness of harmony, tolerance, cultural values and peace.
“We all should come forward for reforms to free the society of evils,” he said.
Panelists at HRCP event urge everyone to come forward for societal reforms
Dr Sher said the event was organised to provide poets, artists, scholars and human rights activists of the province with an opportunity to promote harmony among people by expressing views on culture and other social issues.
Executive director of Idara Baraye Taleem-o-Taraqi Zubair Torwali said the Britishers came to the Indian subcontinent and imposed their culture on the locals, while after the independence, policymakers in Pakistan tried to impose a homogeneity in the name of national interest or a nation.
He said in modern times, many as well as the state were trying to impose homogeneity in one way or the other. Torwali said some members of the elite class wanted to impose western culture in the country in the name of development or civilisation, showing the native culture didn’t appear anywhere.
Pashto poet Rehmat Shah Sail said poets could play an important role in creating public awareness of cultural norms and values and that they should give out a message of peace and tolerance through their poetry. He said Pakhtun writers had always played their important role in addressing social issues. Sail said poets should be provided with a proper platform to express views on all aspects of life in the best possible way.
Chairwoman of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Adabi Jirga (women’s wing) Gul Raana Tabbasum said it was the collective responsibility of all members of the society to take steps for the promotion of peace, tolerance and harmony.
She said women should be given opportunities to play due role in the societal promotion. Tabbasum said all people had equal rights, which could be ensured by promotion of humanity. She said gender discrimination not only adversely affected harmony but also it kept the nation away from development.
Film artist Amman said it was direly needed to portray cultural values of Pakhtun society in films and dramas.
He said Pashto films of early days of the industry like including Dara Khyber, Arman and Orbal highlighted social problems of Pakhtun society.
Amman said artists could help educate the people on social evils and ways and means to fight them.