ISLAMABAD - Lok Virsa, the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage has been observed Kashmir Solidarity Day - Yakjehti Mela in collaboration with Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Division for many years. As usual, this year too, Lok Virsa organised a daylong mini-festival on February 5, 2011 at its complex at Garden Avenue, Shakarparian, Islamabad. The festival brought Kashmiri artisans, artists, NGOs & government organisations working for the cause of Kashmir, authentic Kashmiri cuisine under one umbrella to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people. The colourful event was arranged with purely cultural and social perspective highlighting the contribution of Kashmiri immigrants who are trying to keep their identity and cultural traditions alive. Lok Virsa became the focal point of cultural activities relating to the day. A wide of range of programmes were chalked out which continued throughout the day from 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. The festival was formally opened by Ms Shaheen Dar, chief organiser women wing, Pakistan Peoples Party, Azad Kashmir. Federal Secretary Culture Moin-ul-Islam Bokhari also visited the festival, met participants and expressed solidarity with the Kashmiri community. The main features of function included Kashmiri artisans-at-work with more than 25 Kashmiri craftsmen and craftswomen displayed their artisanship in creatively designed cultural pavilions and attracted attention of the crowd. The master artisans who participated in the exhibition were Zulfiqar Ali Ghazi (papier mache), Yasmin Mustafa (shishgari), Nasir Ali (needlework), Muhammad Saleem (woodwork), Dawood Ahmed (Kashmiri embroidery), Qazi Ali Muhammad (namda & gabba), Muhammad Javaid (metal work), Shamim Habib (Kashmiri embroidery), Habib Ejaz (truck art), Muhammad Hafeez Nasir (zari work). Arts & Crafts Bazaar offered a variety of knick-knacks, gem stones, folk arts, crafts, trinkets, etc. and were available on very affordable prices. A one-day seminar in collaboration with Kashmir Cultural Academy titled as Kashmir Tavajoh Chahta Hai was also organised to mark the occasion participated by eminent Kashmiri intellectuals, writers, poets and scholars. The event witnessed a great hustle and bustle. Although the dark clouds across the horizon were hinting at rain, this could not diminish the enthusiasm of visitors and people from all walks of life as they thronged the festival with their families and friends to see the festivities of one-day mini festival. APP adds: A large number of non government organisations and government departments including Behbud Association, Binte Hazara Welfare Foundation, Roshni Organization, Women Vocational Centre, Pakistan Foundation Fighting Blindness, SUNGI Development Organization, TEVTA, Fatima Welfare Society, Directorate of Films and Publications, Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, Kashmir Liberation Cell, Vanguard Books, National Archives of Pakistan, Saadia Art Vision, etc. related to social sector and Kashmir cause set up their stalls. They expressed solidarity with Kashmiri people through displaying their products and banners bearing slogans in relevance with the event. Kashmiri cuisine Rista, Roghan Josh, Tabaq Mas, Aab Gosht and Goshtaba all washed down with Kashmiri green tea was served during the festival. Arts and Crafts Bazaar offered a variety of knick-knakcs, gem stones, folk arts, crafts, trinkets, etc. and were available on affordable prices. Meanwhile, the National Council of the Arts (PNCA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Kashmir Affairs, on Saturday organised a number of events to highlight Kashmir cultural activities. The day-long events, organized to commemorate 'Kashmir Solidarity Day, included cultural shows, regional dances, poetry recitation, tableaus and puppet show depicting the stories on issues related to Kashmir and its importance for Pakistan. The programmes were based on the concept of highlighting the Kashmir issue with a focus on utilising young talent and engaging youth in healthy activities. Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo said that the people of Pakistan would continue supporting their Kashmiri brethren till the freedom of Kashmir. He highlighted the sacrifices of the Kashmiris and said that the international community should ensure right of self-determination to the Kashmiri people according to United Nations resolutions. He hoped that soon positive results of the Kashmiris struggle would come out. He lauded the performance of students and distributed certificates among the participants. An exotic art and craft Bazaar would also be a part of the events with a vibrant display of traditional Kashmiri items. Besides the activities of performing arts, the display of Kashmiri traditional items at craft bazaar was a source of attraction. A large number of art lovers from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad visited PNCA and appreciated performances.