Pakistan’s annual heritage fair promotes culture in colors

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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
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Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)
Updated 18 November 2019

Pakistan’s annual heritage fair promotes culture in colors

  • Lok Virsa art and crafts festival attracts thousands of visitors to experience country’s diverse culture
  • 10-day festival features food, native dresses, music, crafts, artisans, and performances

Islamabad: 'Lok Mela' by Lok Virsa is an opportunity for Pakistanis and foreigners to experience the diverse and vibrant cultures of the country’s four provinces and regions in a day during the 10 days of the annual folk festival organized in Islamabad.




Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)

Lok Virsa, the National Institute of Folk & Traditional Heritage which has a prime directive to preserve, document and promote Pakistan’s cultural heritage has been organizing this festival on its premises for decades in the hills of Shakarparian park. The fair kicked off on Friday and is scheduled to end on November 24.




Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)

Colorful pavilions representing Punjab, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Jammu & Kashmir are exhibiting their respective cuisines, indigenous folk music, songs, dances, attire, crafts, and artisans have been a treat for visitors arriving in droves to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch the cultural elements.




Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)

Each night the festival premieres a special musical event of a province or a ceremony with live performances or a theatrical show. For children’s entertainment, the organizers have set up a limited time period puppet show. The craft bazaar and dance performances would be enough to keep visitors occupied with enjoyment.  




Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)

Several stalls, many managed by female artisans demonstrated the contribution of women in Pakistan’s economic process.

At the Baluchistan pavilion, craftswoman Aziz Fatima demonstrated her skills in Balochi embroidery, a centuries-old tradition she continues taught by her mother which Fatima intends to preserve by teaching girls in her community.




Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)

Lacquer artisan, Farhat Bibi from D.I. Khan showed her skills on how to protect woodwork and add designs by applying layers of the coating in different colors while the material is rotated on a simple wooden lathe machine. In the process, patterns are etched on the surface using a thick iron needle exposing each color as per requirements.




Festivities, foods, handicrafts and entertainment at the heritage festival of Lok Virsa in Islamabad exhibiting diverse culture from Pakistan's provinces and regions. (AN Photo)

Ameer Bukhsh from Kahror Pacca, Punjab showed his skills in Woodblock pattern using natural dye, a historical-artistic designing technique originating from the lower Indus valley around southern Punjab and most of Sindh. Bukhsh has imparted his textile craft training to family members and other artisans.

There are multiple attractions for visitors to keep people from all walks of life entertained and engaged. Arab News captured the moments to give a glimpse of the country’s cultural colors festival.


Pakistan interior minister orders ‘strict’ action against spread of COVID-19 'fake news'

Updated 26 min 34 sec ago

Pakistan interior minister orders ‘strict’ action against spread of COVID-19 'fake news'

  • Says all available resources would be used to identify people who spread misinformation
  • Rights activists fear new laws to curb coronavirus fake news could be used to clamp down on freedom of speech

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s minister for interior, Ijaz Ahmad Shah, on Thursday directed authorities to take “strict and immediate” action against those involved in spreading coronavirus misinformation, a week after the government announced plans to introduce new laws to curb COVID-19 “fake news” on social media.
Last week, the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC), a top federal body set up to oversee the government’s coronavirus mitigation efforts, set up a committee under the chairmanship of the interior minister to prepare a legal framework to help the government deal with coronavirus-related “fake news” on social media platforms.
“The Federal Minister for Interior, Ijaz Ahmad Shah directed the Director Cyber Wing, FIA to closely monitor and hold the responsible ones accountable for their actions,” the Ministry of Interior said in a statement released after Shah presided over a meeting on formulating a “COVID-19 Disinformation Prevention Mechanism.”
“He reinforced the point that strict and immediate action should be taken against these people. The Minister further said that people who are involved in such actions are not pro-country or its people.”
Shah said the primary purpose of the new committee was to ensure that “correct and credible information” was disseminated, adding that all available resources would be used to identify people who spread disinformation.
He also directed the head of Pakistan’s electronic media regulator not to allow “fake news” to run on TV channels.
Islamabad has previously struggled to regulate online content mostly by blocking or asking social media companies to remove blasphemous material and other posts that violate the country’s religious and cultural norms and laws, or hurt national security interests.
In February, the government approved, and then rolled back, new rules to regulate cyberspace after opponents said they could be used to stifle dissent. Social media companies have also largely shunned obliging to help law enforcement agencies access data and remove online content deemed unlawful.
Rights activists and free media campaigners fear the government’s new coronavirus “fake news” mechanism could be used to clamp down on freedom of speech.
“This shady mechanism is going to have serious implications for the already squeezed freedom of press and expression in Pakistan,” Haroon Baloch, researcher and program manager at Digital Rights at Bytes for All, told Arab News.
Baloch said disinformation on social media was a challenge but not a crime, unless it turned into “deep-fake” news that harmed individuals and groups.
“The government must ensure transparency in the so-called mechanism,” he said, “along with ensuring an oversight of civil society and free speech campaigners to prevent abuse.”