ISLAMABAD: The ‘FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Youth Cultural Festival’ was held on Wednesday in the federal capital. The event was organsied by Community Appraisal and Motivation Programme (CAMP), a NGO aiming at promoting cross-cultural interaction between the people of FATA and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and the rest of the people in the country.
A large number of people, including over 250 residents of the tribal areas and guests, took part in the one-day festival. The festival featured stalls set up by representatives of all seven agencies of FATA and students of the Fine Arts Department of Peshawar University.
Students of the Peshawar University who represented Chitral’s culture at the festival were allotted a separate state. All representatives displayed cultural antiques, musical instruments, paintings, and decorations at their stalls. The items symbolised cultural traits specific to each agency. The purpose of the festival was to bring to light the largely hidden cultural practices, traditions and rich diversity of the tribal region.
It is hoped that the festival will also serve to dispel misperceptions regarding the people of FATA and show the world that the people of tribal regions want to live a life of peace and prosperity.
KP’s Minister for Sports, Tourism, Youth and Culture, Syed Aqil Shah, praised CAMP for organising the festival and said the provincial government is also making efforts to organise such activities despite the prevalent security threats.
The minister said unemployment was a serious problem in FATA and the government is trying to draft a youth policy to address the issue. Shah offered his support to CAMP for organising such festivals in KP. MNA Maulana Abdul Malik also appreciated CAMP’s efforts for peace-building in the region and said in the future the Maliks of FATA should be made a part of such festivals.
Noted journalist Salim Safi said one of the unfortunate tragedies of FATA is that the Mosque and the Hujra have been separated.
He further said many things that are now considered a part of FATA such as terrorism and extremism, were never a part of the region’s heritage. He lamented the fact that the image of FATA’s people has been distorted because of the regional violence. Mutahida Qabaili Party Chairman, Habib Malik Orakzai, said a culture of political service for the people needs to be introduced to the region of FATA with more power vested in the elected political representatives of the region for effective policy-making.
Later, shields were distributed amongst the participants of the festival, which is a part of CAMP’s ongoing Communities for Change (CFC) project. The project is being supported by Germany and Britain and aims to empower the communities of FATA to assert and protect their social, political and economic rights.