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National Icon Gala celebrates rich, vibrant cultural history of Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: As a part of the national effort for the revival of the film industry and cultural heritage, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting organized a grand evening ‘National Icon Gala’.

The gala was aimed at paying tributes to the iconic personalities from the world of Pakistani Films, TV, Radio, music and other areas of performing and visual arts who have made a sterling contribution during the last seventy years in their respective domains.

The first of its kind, the ‘National Icon Awards’ show was a celebration of the rich and vibrant history of Pakistani performing arts, spanning over seven decades. Hence, the format was split over various segments, each recognizing and paying tribute to the maestros of the respective generations and their immense contributions in shaping the national narrative.

The community of artists joined hands for the awards show to pay tribute to the legends of performing arts, whose struggle and prodigious talent set the foundations of an industry that once ruled the hearts and minds of its viewers.

In this manner, the meritorious services of all those gifted souls were recognized, who over the decades, had cultivated and developed, through the most challenging of times in our nation’s history, a narrative of harmony, levity and collectivism.

The artists who won the awards were Sohail Rana, Kanwal Naseer, Suriya Multanikar, Zeba, Shoaib Hashmi, Qavi Khan, Khawaja Najamul Hassan, Abida Parveen, Naeem Tahir, Yasmeen Tahir, Shakeel, Haseena Moeen, Irfan Khoosat, Sarmad Khoosat, Anjuman, Nauman Ejaz, Marina Khan, Humayun Saeed, Saba Hameed, Behroze Sabzwari, Firdous Jamal, Babara Sharif, Faisal Rehman, Syed Noor, Afzal Khan (Rambo), Sultana Siddiqui, Robina Ashraf, Ahsan Khan and Saba Qamar.

Speaking on the occasion, the Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that artists not only portrayed characters but also had the profound ability to set direction for the society.

She said artists were the face of Pakistan and a reflection of the diversity and vibrancy of its people.

“Pakistan is known because of its artists, and now young artists are the true face of the country. Humbleness and perseverance of the senior artists keep them professionally alive and connected with the next generation,” she added.

Marriyum said, “Artists influence the mood and attitude of people and can play a role to erase social ills in the society. Artists make valuable contribution to bring positive change in society through the values that they stress on.”

She said that in the past, citizens were deprived of the right of freedom of expression and voice of the artists was suppressed.

“Freedom of expression is right of every citizen. Silencing artists does not send a positive message to the world and we need to throw light on the positive image of Pakistan,” she said.

She said that Pakistan suffered from the menace of terrorism for the last 30-35 years which badly tarnished its image. She said that sustained and coordinated efforts were needed to promote and boost Pakistan’s culture, heritage, civilization and local languages.

The minister said the Ministry of Information arranged the National Icon Gala in collaboration with a group of sponsors after a long absence of many years, adding it was important that artists should get together on such platforms to share ideas and appreciate each other’s work.

“It is my belief that through screen tourism Pakistan’s perception can be improved in a significant manner,” she continued.

Marriyum said she fulfilled her promise with the artist community and announced the first ever film and culture policy that envisaged tax incentives and waiver on import duties for film making equipment and these were made part of the budget.

She said that if the artists made an effort to fully utilize the incentives offered in the policy, it would give a much needed boost to the film industry and earn good name for Pakistan.

She appreciated the ministry and team of Pakistan Television for successfully organizing the gala, and said holding of the event was not less than a miracle because of different issues faced by the organizers.

She expressed the hope that the next government would ensure the continuity and sustainability of the policies.

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