By Mudassir Raja
The enthusiasm of Pashto-speaking Pakistani expatriates was visible at a recent Pashto poetry symposium. The community members attended the poetic symposium in large numbers and applauded the poets for their inspiring works.
Pak Pashtun Welfare Society (PPWS) organised ‘Sabaon da Pashtun’ symposium at the auditorium of Dalla Driving Academy. Syed Ahsan Raza, ambassador of Pakistan to Qatar, presided over the poetic symposium where many Pashto poets from Pakistan captivated the audience with their rhythmic and soulful poetry.
The poets who attended the symposium were namely, Abaseen Yousafzai, Professor Bakht Zada Danish, Mumtaz Orakzai, and Sahib Shah Sabir. Many Qatar-based Pashto poets also took part in the symposium. The event was organised in co-operation with Pak Pashtun Engineers Forum and Pak Ashuwand Pashto Adabi Tolana.
The organisers also invited many noted personalities from Pakistan including Pashto TV anchors and journalists. The audience remained unmoved for over two hours as the visiting and local poets presented the history, traditions, culture and richness of Pashto language.
Talking to Sheraz Orakzai, Chairman of Pak Ashuwand Pashto Adabi Tolana, said: “We have organised the programme to bring our community together through literature and poetry. We are going to hold similar events yearly on every March 23, Pakistan National Day.”
Orakzai, who has been a successful businessman in Qatar since 1992, further said: “Another purpose of the symposium is to highlight soft image of Pashtuns showing that how educated they are and how rich their culture and literature is. The chief objective of the programme is to have a get-together and enjoy an evening together. The poets have presented romantic, didactic, and humorous verses. We have invited people from different walks of life in Qatar. Over 70 percent of Pakistani expatriates in Qatar are Pashtuns. We have invited prominent personalities from Pakistan for our community. There are multiple opportunities in Qatar and we can carry out our cultural activities frequently and freely. We are happy to be in Qatar.”
Janan Bangash, Chairman of Pak Pashtun Welfare Society, said: “Besides the mushaira (poetry symposium), there was a special sitting with the scholarly guests from Pakistan and they had discussion on the future of Pashtuns. The scholars stressed the need for education. We have a big Pashtun community in Qatar. If they get enlightened regarding education, they will be able to provide necessary education to their children in future.”
Arshad Hussain, who works in a government company, said: “I have been in Qatar since 2006. I have worked in other Gulf countries earlier. Though Qatar is a smaller country, I have received much more affection and love here than what I got in other countries. I have been an active member of Pakistan Engineering Forum and Pakistan Welfare Forum. I have been trying to bring Pashtun professionals together at a platform. We have integrated Pashtun professionals with other communities on the platform of Pashtun Professionals Forum that has 350 members.
“In Qatar, professionals and workers are mostly busy in their routine work activities. There are very few programmes like this for the community, especially for the working class. We have seen that many of them had craze for poetry. When they come towards literature, it means they are coming to life. It is a big achievement to have such kind of event. We are trying to dispel whatever wrong perception other people have about the Pashtuns.
“We had a Pashto poetry symposium in Qatar after 17 years and we are very happy to have full support of our embassy. The ambassador has also attended the symposium. We would like to increase our engagement with the community.”
Abdul Haleem Afridi said, “I believe such kinds of events are very necessary as they bring the disintegrated community together. It is a healthy activity. We get an opportunity to meet major names in Pashto literature. I have observed that the quality of poetry read out by Doha-based poets is very good. The main message of the poetry is to go for education. The poetry has been very inspiring and motivating.”
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