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In an impressive ceremony, today at the Foreign Office, a Calligraphy book “Al-lama Bil Qalam” and a calligraphy exhibition was inaugurated by the President Mamnoon Hussain. This one of a kind event, was attended by Adviser to the Prime Minister on National Security & Foreign Affairs, Senator Pervaiz Rashid, Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting and National Heritage, Leader of the House in the Senate, Senator Raja Zafarul Haq, Federal Secretaries, members of the diplomatic corps, artists, scholars and academicians. The event was part of the public diplomacy initiatives that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been undertaking to promote the positive image of Pakistan. The book, “Al-lama Bil Qalam”, showcases the work of some of Pakistan’s eminent calligraphists and artists. It highlights the work of the Chief ‘Khattat of Masjid- un-Nabvi Assharif’ in Madina Munawarrah, Ustad Shafiq Uzzaman who is a proud Pakistani. The book has been published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and illustrates the work of 56 prominent artists including that of Khalid Javed Yusufi, Aftab Ahmed, Riffat Khattak, Ustad Bashir, Shabana Nazir, M. A Bokhari, Asghar Ali, Rashid Sial and others.

In his inaugural speech, the President commended the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for taking the initiative of publishing this book and holding an exhibition that illustrated the rich heritage of Pakistan in the art of calligraphy. Calling calligraphy as the “most venerated element of Islamic art” he stated that it had gained prominence and patronage in South Asia during the Mughal era. He added calligraphy had a global outreach as it not only inspired Muslims, but all art lovers who termed it as “the plainsong of the divine”. He felt that Pakistan’s art and cultural traditions needed to be supported and introduced to the world and lauded the efforts of the Foreign Office in this regard. He expressed the hope that other departments and organizations that have developed some expertise in this area, along with international partners would work towards the projection of Pakistan’s versatile culture and showcase its true image, that of a peace loving nation that is progressive, moderate and democratic.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Foreign Secretary stated that “Al-lama Bil Qalam” was an illustrative account of the contribution of Pakistan to enrichment and promotion of one of the most popular forms of art in the Islamic world. The book had received numerous reviews and accolades by artists and experts from across the world. This book was produced through the efforts of officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and would help further enhance a global understanding of the art of calligraphy particularly Pakistan’s contribution to promotion of this form of art. It was also a privilege of the Foreign Ministry to make efforts in promoting and projecting the best of Pakistan through Public Diplomacy.

The President walked around the exhibition, interacted at length with the artists and also witnessed some of their work, first hand at a workshop that had been set up alongside. As a gesture of their appreciation, the artists presented a painting for the Presidency.

The exhibition and two-day workshop continues till midday August 27, during which time members of the diplomatic corps and others present would be able to see the work of the artists at length

26 August 2015

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