Culture, democracy inextricably linked to each other: Marriyum

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said that terrorism has badly affected Pakistan’s image in international community.
She was addressing an opening ceremony of a three-day National Artists Convention at Pakistan National Council of the Arts in Islamabad.
The minister said the government was all set to announce first ever culture and film policies very soon which will usher in an epoch making era for the promotion of culture and revival of the film industry in the country. She said that the Cultural Policy had been formulated in consultation with the provincial governments.
She said that the policy envisaged setting up of a Finance Fund, Film Academy, National Center of Excellence, performing arts and Visual Arts Academy, besides a number of incentives like tax rebates on equipment for the cinema houses, preparation of data base of the artists and according protection to the jobs of the employees of the culture related departments.
She further revealed that the rates of tax on cinema tickets would be kept to the minimum. She said that the purpose of the measures being taken by the government was not only to help and assist the artists but also to ensure their due place in the society. She observed that it was for the first time that a plan had been chalked out for the welfare and development of the artist community.
Marriyum said that for the first time Pakistan would participate in the film festivals at Beijing and Shanghai. She said that the culture and film policies were designed to revive the narrative of peaceful Pakistan through culture, heritage and broadcasting.
The Minister said that the positive identity of Pakistan could be highlighted in a better way through the promotion of arts. She said that culture and democracy were inextricably linked to each other and during the dictatorial regimes arts, artist community and freedom of expression got suppressed.
She said that artists from across the country had been invited to attend the convention and they would themselves identify the difficulties being confronted by the cultural structure, films, theater and performing and visual arts. The minister said that the recommendations made in the convention would be presented to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and their implementation would be ensured after his approval. Marriyum said that the Prime Minister had advised to consult all the stakeholders in the films and culture industries.
The minister said that terrorism during the last 30-35 years had not only claimed the lives of our people but also badly affected films, culture, heritage and theater. She said that the measures taken in line with the vision of the former Prime Minister and the sacrifices rendered by the security forces, police and law enforcing agencies the law and order situation in the country had considerably improved and the country was also completing ten years of uninterrupted democracy.
She said that on that occasion the efforts of the government to ensure due place for the artists in the society was of immense significance. She said that the artists were the custodians of the culture of the country.
The minister said that Atta ul Haq Qasmi, Jamal Shah and Fauzia Saeed had made valuable contributions in the formulation of the cultural policy.
The minister observed that there were times when the film industry of Pakistan was ranked among the best film industries of the world and the country even won war through the inspiration provided by the songs sung by our artists. She said that myriad of opportunities existed in Pakistan for the revival of culture and films. Marriyum said that in the war for image building better results could be achieved through the artists.
She observed that there was a well entrenched culture of intolerance in the country at the moment and no one was prepared to listen or accommodate the view point of the other, adding social change could be triggered through art and culture. The minister said that in the past there was impregnable solidarity among the people and everybody was aware of the culture of Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.
The minister said that the film and cultural industries of China, Qatar, Bangladesh were making great contribution to their GDPs and likewise Pakistan would also have to pay attention to its film industry. The minister said that for the first time Pakistani films would be screened in China adding that such efforts would unravel the real face of Pakistan.
She said that the PML (N) has passed Access to Information Bill as the former Prime Minister desired every citizen to have access to any information that he required from the government institutions. Marriyum said that one of the purposes of holding the artist convention was to activate the media for the promotion of culture. She requested the media to accord full coverage to the event.
The minister said that as a consequence of peaceful conditions in the country the playing fields were witnessing the revival of sports activities adding that all those efforts were geared to refurbish and revive the identity of Pakistan. She said that cultural activities were the mirror of any society. Marriyum said that the society could be made strong and vibrant through the revival of the cultural activities.
The minister said that the CPEC Cultural Caravan and exchange of cultural troupes would not only help in promoting understanding about each other culture but they would also contribute to the success of the CPEC. She said that both the countries could successfully implement that mega economic initiative through their collective efforts.
Director General PNCA Jamal Shah, senior artists and large number of Chinese artists were also present on the occasion besides members of the public.