Help artists in distress: Pakistani daily


Islamabad : A leading Pakistani daily has highlighted the plight of a Pakistani pop music pioneer and demanded that the government should disburse funds and lend support “in real terms” to artists in distress.

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An editorial in the Dawn Wednesday said that the situation faced by Alamgir, considered by many as the pioneer of Pakistani pop music, is shared by several of the country’s artists.

Diagnosed with kidney disease some years ago, he found it difficult to raise money for treatment.

While insurance paid for the bulk of the cost of the transplant, meeting the full sum required the intervention of the Sindh governor.

“Alamgir has been luckier than most,” said the daily.

“Across the country there are scores of artists – musicians, folk dancers, actors, singers, painters and craftsmen – who, after having devoted their lives to entertaining and educating in aesthetics less talented citizens, find themselves facing sickness and old age without state support.

“Where aid has been forthcoming, it has been piecemeal and based on …largesse of one wealthy individual or the other,” it added.

The editorial noted that that situation, encouragingly, appears set to change.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani last year announced the establishment of a federal government Artists’ Welfare Fund with seed money of Rs.200 million.

The daily said that the process of making the fund fully functional should be expedited.

“To those in need of support, each day counts.

“The government’s commitment to and respect for the arts needs to translate to funds disbursed and support lent in real terms,” the editorial added.