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Kalash `Suri Jagek’ tradition to be added to UNESCO heritage list

ISLAMABAD: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) on Monday accepted the nomination of Kalash practice of 'Suri Jagek' filed by Pakistan for placing it at 'UNESCO's List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding'.

'Suri Jagek' is a traditional Kalash metrological and astronomical practice of observing the sun, the moon, stars and shadows with respect to the local topography.

National History and Literary Heritage (NHLH) Division Joint Secretary Nazir Ahmad said that the nomination for placing the practice at UNESCO's list was filed by the division on March 29, 2017 and approved by UNESCO on Tuesday.

"After acceptance of this nomination now, UNESCO will complete all the necessary requirements and then place this diminishing practice of Kalash people on its list of intangible heritage," he said.

Nazir Ahmad said this was the first-ever nomination of intangible cultural heritage filed by Pakistan independently. "Approval of this nomination by UNESCO is indeed a matter of pride for the country," he said.

"The nomination was filed by NHLH Division with an aim to safeguard this traditional practice of Kalash community which was vanishing due to reducing number of Kalash people," he said.

He said that the initiative would also give the traditional Kalash practice a new identity and recognition at international levels.

"Cultural heritage of Kalash is facing various threats and there is urgent need to preserve this unique culture of Chitral district which is rich in both tangible and intangible cultural heritage," he said.

"It is the responsibility of the federal government to safeguard tangible and intangible heritage of the country and preserve it for the upcoming generations," he said.

Kalash Valley is situated in Chitral district in northern Pakistan and surrounded by the Hindu Kush mountain range.

The inhabitants of the valley are the Kalash people, who have a unique culture, language.

Independence Day: The Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) is organising a series of exhibitions representing all provinces on the eve of Independence Day.

An official of PNCA said that national exhibitions would have historic context with reference to land, life and people of Pakistan and would culminate into a national exhibition.

He said that the national exhibition would coincide with the Independence Day celebrations in August 2017.

Following are the titles of exhibitions: From Mehergarh to Quetta, From Harappa to Lahore via Katas, From Akra to Peshawar via Takht Bhai, From Mohenjo-Daro to Karachi via Makli; Silk Route through Karakorum and From Takht Bhai to Islamabad.

"All exhibitions will be curated by leading curators and the National Exhibition will be a joint curatorial exercise based on a selection of works from provincial exhibitions, showcasing the wonderful diversity and potential of Pakistani art," he said.

He said that artists could coordinate with PNCA local offices in Lahore and Karachi. "The deadline for submission of works at indicated venue is June 15, 2017," he said.

Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) will organise a "Na'atiya Mushaira" on June 9 at Conference Hall of the academy. PAL Chairman Prof Dr Muhammad Qasim Bughio and eminent poets from various parts of the country will participate in the event. 

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