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ISLAMABAD, Nov 25 (APP):President Dr Arif Alvi Wednesday stressed upon exploring avenue for commercial viability of country’s famed handicrafts including Ajrak as the traditional arts and crafts faced fast paced competence with the latest techniques.

Addressing a ceremony held here at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) to celebrate the makers of Ajrak, ‘Indigo Hands’ of Sindh province, he said the traditional handicrafts required proper marketing and innovations to preserve and promote the dwindling traditional techniques.

Expressing resolve of the government, the president said they would take all possible steps to support the artisans of the traditional arts and crafts and underlined that the society also required to step forward and help appreciate and support guardians of these centuries old traditions.

“Let not die these traditions,” he said and mentioned that allocation for the Artists Welfare Endowment Fund under the Presidency had been increased upto Rs1 billion.

The president referred to participation of Ali Zafar, the famed singer, and said it was encouraging and outstanding that the young musicians had philanthropic passion.

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He said Makli’s necropolis in Sindh had unique stone engravings and such art was unmatched throughout the world.

He underlined the need for seeking commercial viability of handcrafts and said such genres of arts and crafts which were based upon traditional methods passed on for centuries required preservation like the hand-knitted carpets.

The president also urged the people to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to contain the second wave of coronavirus pandemic in the country with regular hand washing, wearing of masks and observing social distancing.

Minister for Federal Education, National Heritage and Culture Division, Shafqat Mahmood, on the occasion, said the fast technological innovations now posed threats to traditional methods in arts and crafts and music.

He said different common things and traditions of life were on the decline and such vanishing items required support from the society.

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The minister also enumerated certain steps to preserve and promote traditional arts and crafts.

Parliamentary secretary on National Heritage and Culture Division Ghazala Saifi highlighted the plight of the artisans in Sindh province and called upon society to extend financial support to them by encouraging their micro-business.

PNCA Director General Dr Fouzia Saeed said the event was organized to acknowledge the Ajark making hands.

Ali Zafar, the young singing sensation, on the occasion, also announced a donation of Rs1 million to support the Ajrak makers.

He also launched his new item song highlighting the culture and tradition of Sindh province.

Different music items were also presented to highlight the Sindhi culture and art of making Ajrak in traditional manner.

At the end of the ceremony, the president also awarded certificates to four famous Ajrak makers of Sindh province.