ISLAMABAD, May 7: Culture is a vital tool through which we can fortify the tarnished image of Pakistan at the international level.
This was stated by Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan at the inaugural ceremony of the National Database Centre of Cultural Assets (NDCCA) at Lok Virsa here on Saturday.
UN special envoy to Pakistan Rauls Engine Soyal, Director Unesco Islamabad Dr Kozue K. Nagata and Norwegian Ambassador Robert Kvile were also present.
?The world is shrinking leading to the convergence of various cultures. Cultural competence thus becomes inevitable in the present scenar io and this is what the government and other stakeholders are planning to achieve through the establishment of the NDCCA,? said the minister.
?On the other hand, extending the soft image of the country is indispensable. The recent US operation leading to the discovery of Osama bin Laden from our land has focused the questioning eyes of the whole world on us. This is the highest time we made use of our culture for softening our image,? she added.
She said the 18th amendment had handed over the responsibility of cultural patronage to the ministry of information in the form of merger of the culture ministry into it. ?We are determined to mainstream our culture and give it an international exposure,? she added.
She appreciated the role of the Norwegian embassy and Unesco for funding culture-based activities in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Lok Virsa Executive Director Khalid Javed said with the creation of NDCCA his organisation would try its best to maintain the cultural database in the high state. He expressed the hope that this facility would go a long way in documenting and preserving Pakistan?s traditional cultures.
Rauls Engine Soyal, the UN special envoy, added: ?Culture is of socio-political importance for Pakistani people. Pakistan is a country of various traditions with a mixture of different languages. A wide variety of dialects is found here which seem changing from region to region. What needed is to glue this wide variety of cultural mani- festations together in a string.? NDCCA is a pilot project of Unesco which it has com- pleted in eight districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. Unesco has handed over the facility to the gov- ernment and culture bodies for its further expansion, replication and networking with other national and re- gional cultural bodies for pooling up the database of cultural assets from all over the country.
Unesco has used GIS (Geographic Information System) for the projection of data on cultural assets col- lected from the selected areas of Chitral, Mardan, Mansehra and Multan. The database is not solely meant to store data but has also practical applications like mainstreaming and blending of Pakistani cultures.
With the establishment of the NDCCA, the documentation, preservation and projection of diversified cultures of the country would be materialised which otherwise was difficult owing to lack of modernised mechanisms. Once the system is activated, the marginalised indigenous cultures of the country would get national recognition and promotion.