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Event Title: Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage

Event Date: 2018-06-05

Senate Standing Committee on Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage in its meeting has recommended a strong liaison and coordination between the Information & Broadcasting Division and the National History & Literary Heritage Division of the Ministry to have efficient promotion and awareness about the work of National History & Literary Heritage and its allied departments in preservation, restoration and promotion of heritage sites, literature and culture of reading and writing.

The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senator Faisal Javed Khan here at the Parliament House on Tuesday and was attended among others by Senators Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Syed Sabir Shah, Rubina Khalid, Maula Bakhsh Chandio, Mushtaq Ahmed, Secretary National History and Literary Heritage Division Amir Hassan, Chairman National Language Promotion Department Iftikhar Arif, Managing Director National Book Foundation Inam ul Haq Javed and officials from the ministry and other allied departments.

The Committee was told that the division has conducted a number of activities which promote tourism and help in spreading awareness about the richness of our heritage which included Vesak festival, calligraphy competitions, book fairs, creation of an endowment fund, inclusion of heritage sites in UNESCO tentative lists among others. In response to the briefing about various events and promotion activities held by the division, Chairman Committee observed that this division being a sister institution of information & broadcasting division can do a lot for publicising these events as well as the historical and literary heritage of the country. He emphasized on having an integrated marketing and promotional campaign involving the state media organs, internal and external publicity wings, Pakistan’s missions abroad and embassies of other countries in Pakistan. Members of the Committee agreed that heritage is a national subject and treating it as solely a devolved subject is not serving any purpose. The Committee was informed regional offices of Pakistan Academy of Letters were being established in AJK and other regions to promote literature. The Committee directed the ministry to expedite its efforts for early establishment of the regional offices and present a report before the committee.  

A comprehensive plan about the ongoing and future projects of the division and its allied departments under PSDP was shared with the Committee. It was told that the ministry has been allocated a budget of Rs. 121 million while 964 million are given to the 11 allied departments. The PSDP projects in 2018-19 for the allied departments amount to Rs. 550.597 million.

Members of the Committee deliberated in detail about reviving and promoting reading and writing culture in the country and making books easily accessible to the people living in any area of Pakistan. MD National Book Foundation apprised the Committee about the efforts the foundation is undertaking for promotion and accessibility of books through publication of more books, more book fairs and having book shelves placed in marts and stores on highways and other places that are frequently visited by public. Chairman NLPD also gave insight into how literature and its use can be and should be promoted and how Pakistan is failing in the international market of copyrights, publications and royalties.

The committee underscored the need for promotion of regional and local languages and called for facilitating the young writers and intellect through different initiatives. It proposed that establishment of Writers’ clubs on the format of Readers’ clubs would help encourage both reading and writing in the country.

Chairman and Members of the committee proposed that book reading week be organized to inspire book reading culture among the people specially the youth.

Members of the Committee expressed concerns on neglecting innumerable heritage sites in the country and observed that the upcoming government through this division and its departments needs to take steps to have our heritage sites acknowledged nationally as well as internationally and measures to preserve and restore them. It was proposed that separate national and international campaigns be launched to highlight significance of national heritage and cultural profile of the country. It pointed out that a huge number of associated sites of high significance remain neglected. The government need to take appropriate steps for preservation of such sites as well.   

The Committee acknowledged the work undergone by the division and its departments but at the same time called for improvement at a brisk pace. The meeting will take up the agenda again in the next meeting to give solid recommendations regarding promotion and work efficiency of departments working in the domain of national history and literary heritage.