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Staff Reporter:

Islamabad — The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage (Lok Virsa) on Saturday organized the grand finale of ‘Saroz’ (traditional Baloch music) competition during its ongoing folk festival ‘Lok mela’ here at Shakarparian.

All the 15 musicians cum Saroz performers were invited from different districts of Balochistan to present their talent in finale held for the first time at national level.

Those short-listed Saroz performers included Asghar from Rujhan, Azizullah from kashmore, Riaz Hussain from Sui, Imam Baksh from Sibi, Jhangu Khan from Tando Allayar, Beram Khan from Kharan, Horaan from Kohlu, Muhammad Shakir from Chaghi, Ghulam Nabi from kallat, Abdul Hakim from Loralai, Rehmatullah from Panjgoor, Fida Ahmad & Adbul Baqi from Gwadar, Muhammad Amin from Kech and Dad Shah from Pasni.

Three cash awards and two consolation prizes were granted the best performers on the decision of a jury comprising established musician Ustad Sachu Khan from Sui, eminent musicologist & author from Karachi S.M. Shahid and outstanding Sarangi player Taimoor Khan.

Former Chief Minister Balochistan Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch was the chief guest, whereas Mir Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Mohammad Hassani, Balochistan Minister for Culture, Tourism and Archives, attached the event as guest of honor.

Speaking on the occassion Dr. Malik said, “Lok Virsa deserves commendation for promoting Saroz in such a beautiful way. The personal efforts of Dr. Fouzia Saeed in projecting the true culture of Balochistan is praiseworthy. We will support every initiative that can lead to create national harmony and integration among the nation which is need of the hour.”

He also congratulated prize winning contestants. Provincial Minister of Culture Mir Mujeeb ur Rehman also spoke during finale and appreciated the contribution of Lok Virsa in highlighting indigenous folk culture of all provinces and regions through mega event like Lok Mela. Earlier, in her welcoming remarks Dr. Fouzia Saeed, Executive Director, Lok Virsa said “Lok Virsa is a national institution established for the promotion and preservation of Pakistan’s folk and traditional heritage. It includes folklore of every province and region.”

“We undertook an initiative to promote Saroz as a symbol of peace, love and progress and to make it an instrument of youth where they learn it as an expression of love for their heritage and creativity for their future. We believe that this symbol will reflect the real people of Balochistan and bring the youth closer to their cultural identity.”

During an extensive visit to Balochistan, Lok Virsa carried out auditions of Saroz players in different places and organized performances in Turbat and Quetta, she added. Colorful musical performances were also presented during the finale. Those who performed inlcuded Jhangi Khan, Khadim Hussain, Leva dance group and others.

On the other hand, Lok Mela continued with all its festivities. It focuses on diversity withing provinces and provides and opportunity to craftspeople not only display their artisanship at federal capital for ten consecutive days but also to sell their products to public without involvement of middle man, this enabling them to understand the marketing mechanism of various crafts. The Mela also serves to afford and opportunity to the diplomatic community to witness authentic folk musical and cultural entertainment besides buying traditional items on affordable prices.

Around 500 artisans and artists from different parts including remotest regions are participating in Lok Mela, bringing with them their creativity in arts, crafts and innovation. The daily features of the Mela include provincial cultural pavilions, folkloric song & dance ensembles, rural musicians, cultural nights, shopping mall, craft bazaar, artisans at work, traditional food court and many other attractions.

The special events of the festival are a thrilling performance of emerging child folk stars on April 3, celebrating diversity folk performances on April 4-6, Sindhi musical night on April 5, musical night of Gilgit Baltistan & Kashmir on April 7, Punjab musical night on April 8, provincial award ceremony and Balochistan musical night on April 9, concluding ceremony and awards to artisans and artists and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa musical night on April 10. Lok Mela is open for public daily from 11AM to 10PM. Entry ticket is Rs. 30/- per head for adults and discounted Rs.20/- per head for students.

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