ISLAMABAD (ET): They carried on with the poetry of peace even when the lights went out at Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL).
Poets, intellectuals and students’ groups from Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) gathered here on Saturday, where they vowed to struggle for sustainable peace and harmony in the mountain region.
The pledges began under the setting sun. However, thanks to the electricity department which seized all the light out of it while the love songs were still going on, PAL failed to illuminate their hopes and love for peace with artificial light.
But what was even more surprising was the fact that one of the biggest institutions for the preservation and promotion of literature and arts does not have a single working generator.
The participants of the peace convention were left in the unlit academy hall where they reached the end-note in sheer darkness. A bad omen?
“We are helpless. The only generator that we possess has been out of order for the last six months,” said an official. He said it was being used in the main building, while the writers’ house and the other building do not have the facility.
“You are talking about generators. We are worried for our salaries for this month,” said another official. “It seems the institute is not on a priority list of the government,” he added.
The organisers of the G-B Peace Convention blamed themselves for the trouble, saying that they were informed by the PAL administration to wrap up their seminar before 6pm, when electricity is suspended.
However, it went on after 6pm and was conducted with cell phones’ lights and without any microphone.
Speaking about the peace convention, Inayatullah Shumali said he was saddened that some of the invited speakers did not show up, however, he advised the students present there to unite for peace and sectarian harmony.
“Through our efforts for establishment of peace in our area, we will set an example for the rest of the country to follow,” he added.
He said we had to take into account as to where we went wrong.
He advised the students to watch out for hate-mongers and spread the message of love.
Adviser to the Prime Minister Attaullah Shahab said the situation in G-B is not as bad as it is feared. “It is better than many other parts of the country. We need to highlight the bright side of the situation which will help our cause in the long run,” he added.
He said people of G-B are peaceful and educated. Even though there are sectarian issues, people are generally living in harmony.
Other speakers included Halqa-i-Arbab-e-Zauq Gilgit President Muhammad Amin Zia, Karakoram Arts and Culture Council President Abdul Hafiz Shakir, Ahsan Ali Danish from Bazm-i-ilm-o-fun Skardu and Daily Himalaya Chief Editor Tariq Meer.
In addition to that, Sher Nadir Shahi, Sartaj Ali Kamal, Tehzeeb Hussain Barcha, Rashid Arshad and Ishtiaq Ahmed Yad read their poems.