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Accountability of stage plays to be transferred from home dept to information dept: Mir

Punjab’s Information and Culture Minister Amir Mir announced a significant proposal to transfer the accountability of stage plays, a tradition dating back over one and a half centuries under the Dramatic Act of 1876, from the Home Department to the Information and Culture Department through amendments. Additionally, it has been decided that the income generated from the first day of every play in theaters will be allocated to the artist endowment fund, prompting amendments to the Drama Act.

Minister Amir Mir conveyed these intentions while addressing the 10th meeting of the Board of Governors of the Punjab Council of Arts. He emphasized that the most significant opposition to the government’s efforts to eradicate obscenity from stage plays has come from artists.

He assured that every conceivable effort is being undertaken to eliminate vulgarity from stage performances. He acknowledged that the Caretaker Government of Punjab has proposed amendments to the Dramatic Performance Act through an Ordinance to curb obscenity, and now it is incumbent upon the elected government to advance this Ordinance. He noted that despite the existing facilities available to Arts Councils, their impact has been nominal. However, the implementation of new business strategies is currently enhancing the performance of these arts councils. He also highlighted the establishment of art councils in all districts under the auspices of the Punjab Arts Council, along with the introduction of art classes, as pivotal measures to foster cultural activities throughout the province. The involvement of students from universities is anticipated to deter obscenity in theaters, and adherence to standard scripts will further promote wholesome entertainment.

The provincial minister further disclosed that the members of the Board of Governors of the Punjab Council of Arts (PUCAR) will also get honorarium like other boards. New members will be elected to replace persistently absent members through the voting of other board members. These members will then recommend essential measures for the enhancement of cultural activities in the province.

Present at the meeting were notable figures including Secretary Information and Culture, Ali Nawaz Malik, Executive Director Punjab Council of Arts, Dr. Syed Bilal Haider, DGPR Rubina Afzal, and non-official board members such as renowned singer Hamid Ali Khan, Ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali, film and drama actors Shujaat Hashmi and Rashid Mehmood, comic poet Khalid Masood, and esteemed painter Shah Nawaz Zaidi. During the session, Executive Director Punjab Council of Arts Bilal Haider presented an overview of the meeting’s agenda. He highlighted the recent approval of curriculum for training courses in arts across all art councils over the last three months. Each council is mandated to offer training in at least 8 different arts disciplines. The duration of these courses will range from 6 weeks to 6 months, depending on their nature. The reach of art councils is being expanded from 12 to 40 councils to facilitate easy access to art and culture-related services. Following a poll in the meeting, new members were selected to replace those who have been consistently absent from the board. Minister Amir Mir also endorsed the plan for the regularization and promotion of PUCAR contract employees, emphasizing the strict adherence to service rules in accordance with the directives of the Chief Secretary.