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Art and Culture of No Value! Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Govt Suspends Monthly Stipend of Over 500 Pashto Singers

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Muhammad Daud Khan

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has suspended the monthly stipend of more than 500 Pashto singers, including famous folk singer Zarsanga.

Zarsanga, known as Nightingale of Pashto music said, “I am ill. The provincial government has suspended my monthly stipend. Due to the health issues, I am unable to attend most of the private music events. We are living in a miserable situation.”

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in the 2016-17 budget had allocated funds for artists. The move was aimed at assisting artists, singers, poets and painters whose work has suffered greatly because of the militancy in the province. The cultural directorate had provided stipends to 500 artists in the province.

Well-known artist Ustad Ahmed Gul said “I am associated with the music industry from the last 63 year and performed on radio and television. I have dedicated my life to the music industry. I am aged now, but KP government suspended our monthly stipends.”

Musician Ustad Nazir Gul said,” We are entertainers. We don’t have any assets property and business; the only thing we have is our art. There is no work in Radio Pakistan Peshawar and the PTV Peshawar Centre. We do not have much private music events too. For the last one year, the government has suspended our stipend.”

Zarsanga’s elder son said,” Currently we are facing economic problems as we have no opportunity to earn money due to the lack music events.”

The artists have demanded the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to allocate funds in the upcoming budget for the purpose.

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