PESHAWAR - Exhibition of handicrafts from across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was organised by the Handicrafts Association of Pakistan in collaboration with the Youth Directorate of KP at the prestigious Centaurus Mall Islamabad.
Young Artisans from across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa participated at the event to showcase crafts locally sourced and made in their areas, says a press release.
These included straw baskets, truck art, leather, gemstones and local embroidered suits. The event was an excellent opportunity for artisans to attract buyers from the federal capital and gain exposure where they also had the opportunity to get orders from international firms as trade attaché of diplomatic enclave were also in attendance.
Prominent among were Sardar Illyas Khan, CEO of Centaurus, President Islamabad Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ahsan Bakhtarwee and Chairperson KPBOIT Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment & Trade Engr Said Khan.
A large number of diplomats and dignitaries from different walks of life were also in attendance.
Chairperson Handicrafts Association of Pakistan Miss Maryam Iqbal stated that the handicrafts industry has been a neglected industry whereas it has a lot of potential.
Artisans should be encouraged by offering opportunities and financial support to display their art and products in exhibitions. A developed handicrafts sector in Pakistan could guarantee a handsome contribution to GDP; investment opportunities; enhanced foreign exchange earnings; cultural preservation, entrepreneurial development, and alleviation of poverty.
Pakistan is bestowed with the artisans rich in texturing and elegant handicrafts that have a lucrative global demand. The only thing needed is to ensure that production is being done in a systematic and cost-effective way. For instance, Balochistan is the major producer of salt items, leatherwork, sheepskin items, and mats.
Ajrak, Ralli, Sasi, Khadi and the ceramic work of Sindh reflect a serene picture of the skill of artisans. KP is rich in traditional embroidery and copper work.
Multan and Bahawalpur regions are famous for the blue pottery, embroidery and camel- skin lamps; Peshawar Misgaran Bazaar is a historic market for brass and silver utensils.
Chiniot wood-crafting could be evolved as a speciality for Middle Eastern and European markets. Swat and D G Khan produce thread and mirror embroidery. Internationally commended hand-knotted carpets and rugs are the work of artisans of Lahore and Balochistan. It is indispensable to channelize all the resources to the handicrafts production hubs like Southern Punjab, Karachi, Balochistan and most parts of KP. According to a recent survey of Sargodha Chamber of Commerce and Industry, there are 1140 craftsmen only in the small town of Sillanwali near Sargodha, but it could not get the legal status of the industry till date.
Most of the handicrafts exporters are based in Karachi and consequently, small-scale handicrafts in different regions are unable to get attention. The exporting hubs should be uniformly distributed at regional locations to promote and facilitate localised artisans.