Cultural Extravaganza: Islamabad hosts Lok Mela and Literature Festival this week

Lok Virsa, the heart of Islamabad is all set to come alive with the vibrant tapestry of Pakistani culture, as Lok Mela-2023 kicks off on November 3 to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Pakistan.

This 11-day event, running from November 3 to November 13, is an annual event organized by the Cultural and Heritage Division to celebrate the rich cultural diversity of all provinces, including diverse traditions, crafts, music, and flavors that define Pakistan. The festival unites artisans, performers, and culture enthusiasts from all corners of the country. Visitors can expect a plethora of activities ranging from folk music and dance performances to traditional crafts and culinary delights. Visitors will

Peace and harmony through cultural diversity

The festival’s theme this year is “Peace and Harmony through Cultural Diversity.” It will showcase the richness of Pakistan’s cultural heritage through provincial pavilions, shopping and food stalls, musical programs, arts and crafts demonstrations, and traditional skills.

Lok Mela festival Islamabad
An artisan seen painting at Lok Mela festival in Islamabad in December 2022. (Image Credit: APP)

Minister for National Heritage and Culture, Jamal Shah, emphasized that Lok Mela will play a vital role in establishing national cohesion, promoting cultural diversity, and providing quality entertainment to the people. The festival will present the rich culture and traditions of all four provinces, in addition to Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, in a befitting manner. Handicrafts, artwork, and leatherwork will be prominent features that will captivate visitors.

In addition, a conference of language experts has been convened to transform rhymes, Lok poems, songs, and literature into attractive videos, animations, and illustrated books.

Solidarity with Palestine

Expressing solidarity with the people of Palestine, the minister revealed that all festival events would be held in support of the Palestinians. A specific stall would be dedicated to collecting funds for Palestine, with the ministry in contact with the Palestinian embassy regarding this initiative.

To ensure quality entertainment for the public, infrastructure improvements, including theaters, are being coordinated with the Capital Development Authority and the Ministry of Interior.

Musical performances

The festival will feature a diverse lineup of performers, including Sufi and folk artist Areeb Azhar, as well as musicians from all over Pakistan playing traditional and fusion music on various instruments, such as the suroz, a traditional Balochi musical instrument.

Visitors to the festival will also have the opportunity to savor traditional Khyber Pakhtunkhwa tea, shop for unique handicrafts and souvenirs, and learn about traditional crafts like pottery and stone carving. A highlight of the festival will be the Sajji Stall, featuring the traditional Balochi dish prepared with grilled meat.

Folk theatre and Putli Tamasha

This year’s Lok Mela will also reintroduce two enduring elements of the festival: folk theater and putli tamasha. Folk theater, a traditional form of Pakistani theater featuring live music, dance, and storytelling, will add to the cultural spectacle. Putli Tamasha, a popular type of puppet show in Pakistan, will captivate audiences with its unique charm.

A senior official at Lok Virsa said, “As we embark on this journey, we invite the public to immerse themselves in the captivating stories, vibrant colors, and melodious tunes that make Pakistan truly extraordinary.”

Islamabad Literature Festival

Separately, the 9th Islamabad Literature Festival will be held at the Gandhara Citizen Club in F-9 Park from November 3. The three-day festival will continue till November 5.

The event, led by Oxford University Press, will be held under the theme People, Planet, Possibilities,’ and promises a range of enthralling keynotes, engaging discussions, book launches, exhibitions, and film screenings.

Experts such as Dr. Ishrat Husain, Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, and Nasira Zuberi will lead informative and literary discussions, exploring a range of captivating topics including,

  • The evolving role of Artificial Intelligence
  • Contemporary Literature
  • Changing Business Dynamics, and
  • Foreign Policy, among others

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