Siddiqui for sensitizing society towards artists’ welfare

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LAHORE, March 7 (APP): Advisor to Prime Minister on National History and Literary Heritage, Irfan Siddiqui on Tuesday stressed the need for sensitizing the society for playing its due role in promotion of arts and culture as well as welfare of the artists.
He was chairing first meeting of a committee constituted by Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif during recently held Adbi International Conference Islamabad for welfare and well-being of artists here at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. Artists’ representatives Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi, Jamal Shah, Syed Noor, Lela Zuberi and others attended the meeting.
The Committee Chairman Irfan Siddique also sought viable and practicable proposals from the members for welfare and provision of better services to the deserving artists, adding that committee would have to present a set of proposals to this regard to Prime Minister within one month for their implementation.
Siddiqui said that Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif himself is very much eager to promote national culture and well-being of people attached with arts and culture. He mentioned that PM has already provided a hefty grant of Rs 500 million for poets, literary personalities and writers.
Irfan Siddiqui said that Prime Minister also wanted a foolproof mechanism, free from bureaucratic hurdles, in place to serve the artists community.
Siddiqui said that artists during their peak life time put forth all their artistic skills in dramas, film and other means of entertainment but during their old age no one gives attention to their problems which is unjustified. He added that society and all quarters concerned are needed to be sensitized for playing their effective role in ensuring welfare and well-being of the artists’ community.
During the meeting, the committee members highlighted various problems and difficulties facing the artists especially non-provision of healthcare facilities and problem of having their own residences. They suggested that some of the major housing societies should be bound to provide plots to deserving artists at lower prices and on installments enabling them to have their own homes.
They were also agreed that a reasonable monthly financial assistance by the departments concerned be released to the deserving artists across the board and on equal basis.
Ata-ul-Haq Qasmi told the meeting that the committee formed by Prime Minister for formulation of National Cultural Policy had completed its consultation process, while taking aboard the literary figures, writers and intellectuals from all the four provinces, and prepared a draft cultural policy to be forwarded to Prime Minister for approval.