Islamabad – Defying threats of terrorism, visitors continued to throng the scenic Shakarparian that hosts the 10-day long cultural events popularly known as Lok Mela.Residents of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad have welcomed the traditional cultural show at Shakarparian that was inaugurated on Friday last.
“It is amazing that life in Islamabad has come to its normal routine after the capital was virtually taken hostage by religious activists last week.The Mela (festival) is superb.It has attraction for people from all walks of life.Children are particularly enjoying the show,” Farid Zaman, a visitor said.
On Saturday, the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) organised a grand finale of the Saroz competition (traditional Baloch music) during its ongoing folk festival ‘Lok Mela’ here at Shakarparian.
Former Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch was the chief guest whereas Mir Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Mohammad Hassani, minister for culture, tourism and archives, government of Balochistan, attended the event as guest of honour.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Malik said, “Lok Virsa deserves commendation for promoting Saroz in such a beautiful way.The personal efforts of Dr Fouzia Saeed in projecting the true culture of Balochistan are praiseworthy.We will support every initiative that can lead to create national harmony and integration among the nation, which is need of the hour,” he said.
Provincial Minister Culture Mir Mujeebur Rehman also spoke during the finale and appreciated the contribution of Lok Virsa in highlighting indigenous folk culture of all provinces and regions through mega event like Lok Mela.Earlier in her welcoming remarks, Executive Director Lok Virsa Dr Fouzia Saeed said, “Lok Virsa is a national institution established for the promotion and preservation of Pakistan’s folk and traditional heritage.She said it includes folklore of every province and region.
“We undertook an initiative to promote “Saroz” as a symbol of peace, love and progress and to make it an instrument of youth where they learn it as an expression of love for their heritage and creativity for their future.We believe that this symbol will reflect the real people of Balochistan and bring the youth closer to their cultural identity.”During an extensive visit to Balochistan, Lok Virsa carried out auditions of Saroz players in different places and organised performances in Turbat and Quetta, she added.
Three cash awards and two consolation prizes were granted to the best performers on the decision of a jury comprising renowned musician Ustad Sachu Khan from Sui, eminent musicologist and author from Karachi SM Shahid and outstanding Sarangi player Taimoor Khan.Colourful musical performances were also presented during the finale.Those who performed include Jhangi Khan, Khadim Hussain, Leva dance group and others.
On the other hand, Lok Mela continued with all its festivities.It focuses on diversity within provinces and provides an opportunity to craftspeople not only to display their artisanship at the federal capital for 10 consecutive days but also to sell their products to public without involvement of middleman.Around 500 artisans and artists from different parts including remotest regions are participating in Lok Mela, bringing with them their creativity in arts, crafts and innovation.
The daily features of the Mela include provincial cultural pavilions, folkloric song & dance ensembles, rural musicians, cultural nights, shopping mall, craft bazaar, artisans at work, traditional food court and many other attractions.The special events of the festival are a thrilling performance of emerging child folk stars on 3rd April, celebrating diversity folk performances on 4th & 6th April, Sindhi musical night on 5th April.Musical night of Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir will take place on April 7 while Punjab musical night will occur on April 8.Lok Mela is open for public daily from 11:00am to 10:00pm.