PESHAWAR - Popular Pashto folk singer Gulzar Alam has demanded of the federal government to include images of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa artistes, singers and writers in the mural gallery of Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA), Islamabad because the institution represents the whole nation.

Talking to media persons on Sunday, he said, “I was shocked to know that there was not a single image of any artiste, singer, and intellectual from KP in the gallery posted up in the PNCA. I demand of the federal government to post life posters of the great national heroes hailing from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa like late Munir Sarhadi an icon of instrumental music, recipient of more than 500 national and international awards, who had represented Pakistan in 40 countries, Khial Mohammad a great ghazal maestro, Zarsanga the melody queen who has represented the country in the whole world except Israel and India and late Ghani Khan a great artiste, poet, sculpture, and philosopher of high repute and the list is not exhausting.”

He regretted that in such a turbulent time when singers and artistes in KP were exposed to militants threats, the government was ignoring them in foreign cultural trips and also due share was not given in national events for displaying their art. Quoting poetic lines from Rahmat Shah Sail’s poetry a noted senior progressive Pashto poet - literally: If our coming generations did not pelt our graves with stones being their benefactors and heroes, they must be very noble lot of the 21st century.

“The artistes and singers in KP and Fata have suffered and are still suffering the brunt of militancy, many of them have either given up their profession or fled abroad to save their lives, I am also a direct victim of terror activities. The KP culture directorate is doing much to ameliorate the miserable plight of the artistes but still many senior artistes are languishing like Qmaru Jan, Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah, Naem Jan, wife of late Rafiq Shinwari owing to their poor financial condition,” Gulzar maintained.

“I have seen artistes and singers selling out their musical instruments in down country areas to feed their families during long summer because their public performance season is off.  They have no work to do and high inflation too hit them hard.”

Gulzar said there should be art galleries and academies throughout the country where senior artistes should impart art education to young aspiring art lovers in various disciplines of music, art, and literature. “In this way, artistes would be compensated during their off season from art activities,” Gulzar suggested.