President calls for promoting progressive image of PakistanArchive
ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain on Wednesday called on the government departments to take steps to promote “progressive, moderate and democratic” image of the country.
He was speaking at the inauguration ceremony of a coffee table book on the art of calligraphy in Pakistan named, ‘Allama Bil Qalam’ (Who teaches by means of the pen). The book has been published by Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of its public diplomacy initiative.
The book showcases Pakistan’s contribution to Islamic civilisation through the art of calligraphy and includes both traditional and modern styles of writing.
Allama Bil Qalam, which features the works of 56 artists and commendatory reviews from respected international institutions such as Harvard University, Cambridge University, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Russian Academy of Sciences, has been edited jointly by a Foreign Services Officer Imran Ahmed Siddiqui, who is currently posted as joint secretary in National Security Division; and Director General (Haj) in Pakistan Consulate Jeddah Syed Abu Ahmed Akif.
Some of the prominent calligraphers, whose work has been included in the book, include chief calligrapher of Masjid-e-Nabwi Ustad Shafiquzzaman, Khalid Javed Yusufi, Aftab Ahmed, Riffat Khattak, Ustad Bashir, Shabana Nazir, MA Bokhari, Asghar Ali and Rashid Sial.
President Mamnoon commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and particularly the editors of the book for their initiative and drive to introduce Pakistan’s art and culture abroad.
He expressed the hope that other government departments and organisations that have developed some expertise in this area, along with international partners would work towards the projection of Pakistan’s versatile culture and its true image of a peace loving nation.
Introducing the book, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said the launch of the book was part of Foreign Office’s efforts to promote the soft image of Pakistan.
Mr Aizaz specifically mentioned the work and services of the Chief calligrapher of Masjid-e-Nabvi Mr Shafiquzzman, a Pakistani national, who was discovered by Mr Imran Siddiqui and launched in public exhibitions in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Pakistan government on foreign ministry’s recommendation later bestowed the award of Pride of Performance on him.
On the sidelines of the well attended ceremony, an exhibition of Arabic calligraphy of most of the main artists, whose works were included in the book, was also held.
President Mamnoon walked around the exhibition, interacted at length with the artists and also witnessed some of their work. The exhibition and two-day workshop continues till Thursday.
Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015
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