Healing terror-hit Pakistanis with theatre, flowers

April 2nd, 2010 - 1:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, April 2 (IANS) Saying it with theatre and flower shows - that’s what some organisations are doing in Pakistan to make people laugh and rejoice even as the country reels under the onslaught of terror attacks.
A comedy drama festival with the theme “time to share laughing moments” was held here this week, aiming to bring back joy and laughter to people in the country affected by recent bouts of Islamist terrorism.

“There is a lot of tension due to terrorism in Pakistan; so we wanted to give some break to the Pakistani audience, especially in the Rawalpindi and Islamabad twin cities,” Hassan Abbas Raza, director of performing arts in the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA), was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency.

Tauqee Nasir, a renowned theatre actor, said the festival staged a variety of comedies, music, dance and puppet shows and provided entertainment along with education.

Faran Rasool Bajwa, an actor who performed in the play “Surprise”, said he loves the stage and was very “happy to make people laugh”.

The actors were not the only ones who enjoyed performing, but the audience too praised the shows.

“I think it is fantastic. This is an opportunity for people to forget all those miseries and the difficult times they faced,” said Ghulam Mustafa, a spectator. “Pakistan is a country where people love dramas, they love to go outside with their families and they love to take part in recreational and traditional events,” he said.

Funded jointly by the PNCA and the ministry of culture, the drama festival was opened to the public free of charge.

In 2009, the arts council organised the first national drama festival which lasted for 43 days, with the participation of more than 30 groups from all over the country.

Among other events, a spring flower show was also organised here, asking people to “come out of their homes to enjoy the natural green life”.

The 28th edition of the annual flower festival, organised by the capital development authority in collaboration with the Islamabad Horticulture Society, attracted thousands of citizens to its charm and fragrance.

Flowers of over 200 varieties were used for creating designs like the national flag and for conveying a message of peace, patriotism, unity, faith and discipline.

“Spring season is a gift from god and colourful flowers leave a soothing effect on the heart and soul,” Aslam Baig, a horticulturist who came from Gujranwala, 197 km from Islamabad, was quoted as saying.

“We are diverting people’s minds to the flowers. When people come, they will forget terrorism and all other negative things,” Liaqat Ali, an organiser, said.

While Shumaila Naureen, a lecturer from a local girls’ college, requested the media to focus on such positive aspects, Riaz Bukhari, programme coordinator for the show, considered it the most wonderful opportunity for people to get away from depression.

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