ISLAMABAD: The International Mountain Day grand event catered all mountain colours right from the Kalash dance by the indigenous performing group from the two Kalash valleys Rambur and Bamboret; music from the Gilgit-Batistan, live painting competition on the theme of ‘mountains and water’, exhibition of mountain craft and a day-long seminar entitled ‘challenges confronting mountains and its communities’.
Three day long event was arranged on Thursday at the Lok Virsa, Shakarparian, in connection with the fourth Pakistan Mountain Festival, an annual advocacy and outreach festival by the Development Communications Network (Devcom-Pakistan). This time the core partners are Sports and Culture Directorate of Capital Development Authority (CDA), Lok Virsa, and the GLOF project of UNDP and the Climate Change division. Over a dozen other partners are playing their role to make the 4th edition of the Pakistan Mountain Festival a success, and they include Rupani Foundation, AKRSP, SEED project, EvK2CNR, ICIMOD, Sustainable Tourism Foundation and the Adventurer Club.
A 15-member dance troupe from Kalash has been the centre of eye because of its colourful and unique dresses and headgears. The small groups of girls dancing in the circles, semi-circles, and enchanting unusual verses and their cheerful screaming kept the audience to sway and applause. DW Baig music group presented the several melodious tunes in different local dialects. He says, the mountain music is just not the music, its ritual for the locals. Baig thanked the partners of the Pakistan Mountain Festival for mainstreaming the cultures and challenges confronting the mountains.
As many 67 students from the different universities and colleges including Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi Arts Council, Government Postgraduate College, 6th Road, Satellite Town, Rawalpindi, Islamabad Model College (Postgraduate), F-7/2, Islamabad Model College (Postgraduate), F-7/4, and other colleges participated in the live painting competition on the theme of ‘mountains and water’. The participant used oil on canvas media to reflect their thoughts.
Riffat Ara Baig said all the paintings would be put on display in an exhibition later on, and some of the best paintings would decorate the calendar of 2015. Every year a different theme is selected to challenge the creative flare of the students that also sensitise the participants of the importance of mountains to our life. The exhibition of crafts is another attraction for the visitors. Rupani Foundation has brought the gems and jewellery from upper Hunza. All the designs are made by the women who are trained by the Rupani Foundation for cutting and polishing the gems, and designing of the jewellery.
Muhammad Ikram, senior manager of the Rupani Foundation said, “Women are more artistic and can create the shapes and designs of the gems that could attract more the women buyers. Besides, it gets the women engaged in to the economic circle, empowering their households.” The seminar entitled ‘Challenges confronting mountains and its communities’ was chaired by the chairman National Centre for Rural Development Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir who has formerly been associated with the National disaster Management Authority as a chairman has a strong grip over the subject.
The speakers included Jahanzeb Murad, environmental specialist, Dr Fahim Khokhar from the NUST, Aftan ur Rehman Rana, president Sustainable Tourism Foundation Pakistan, Fahad Bashir Bangash, senior program officer, Pakistan GLOF project, M Saeed Ahmad, CDA Dy Director Tourism, and Asim Auyb, the Director admin and programming, Lok Virsa.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Zafar Iqbal Qadir said, “the increasing phenomenon of climate change posing threats to the mountain ecology, its culture and livelihood of the mountain communities. In such testing times, Pakistan Mountain Festival is playing a junction for all the stakeholders to share their experiences and to brainstorm for collection vision.” Munir Ahmed, Director Pakistan Mountain Festival and Devcom-Pakistan said, the environmental hazardous in our mountain region has direct link with poverty in the area. We believe that to tackle challenges of climate change, deforestation, biodiversity loss, sustainable livelihood and solid waste management in Pakistan’s high lands require political will, mobilization of key stakeholders, sensitization of public and engagement of the communities for reducing vulnerability and the efficient management of natural resources.
Munir Ahme said, the Pakistan Mountain Festival was founded to meet the need of a forum that could play a junction for the mountain communities especially youth and women, experts, government departments, development partners and donors and other stakeholders to interact each other in frank and open environment to discuss the progress and review the way forward annually to implement the policies and plans of action with necessary amendments if they collectively think so.
He said, “The environmental advocacy organizations in Pakistan has been celebrating the International Mountain Day individually but in 2009 DEVCOM-Pakistan initiated the idea of Pakistan Mountain Festival to mark the International Mountain Day jointly and successfully arranged several activities so far.