The Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS) organized a Pak-Afghan Cultural Evening named “Celebrating Culture Beyond Boundaries” on March 30, 2017, at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) in Islamabad. The musical evening aimed to promote cultural and musical exchanges between the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The evening hosted singers from Afghanistan and Pakistan that performed live along with traditional local musicians. The singers included Hamid Shidai from Afghanistan and Wisal Khayyal and Malalay Khan from Pakistan, who all sang in Darri, Pashto and Urdu.

The singers enthralled an audience of about 200 which included many Afghan citizens living in Pakistan, Pakistanis from all walks of life and many diplomats, besides the Afghan and Pakistan delegation who were part of the CRSS Pakistan-Afghanistan track 1.5/2 initiative called Beyond Boundaries. Federal Minister for Information Ms. Mariam Aurangzeb was invited as the chief guest.

In the opening, a Pashto song “Ma Khpala Tura” (I broke my sword) by Jamal Shah – a Pakistani actor, director, painter, and a social worker, was presented on a big screen for the audience. The song is featured in the film “Revenge of the Worthless” which is also directed by Jamal Shah. The film depicts a brutally disfigured cultural narrative of a land with an enviable cultural heritage highlighting the heroic struggle of a few unsung heroes during the 2009 Swat Insurgency.

This was followed by a stage performance in English on Afghanistan-Pakistan people to people relations.

The Chief Guest, Minister Aurangzeb in her opening remarks stated that, “we all need to speak the language of music and love. I think to prosper and to be more progressive, peace is the only solution for the people of both the courtiers.”

Mirwais Yasini, an Afghan Member of Parliament and former Deputy Speaker, as head of the Afghan delegation, spoke following the Minister’s speech and stated, “Our destiny is together. Politics might divide us, personal interests or regional interests of some countries might divide us. But we will be together and we will remain together and we will die together”.

Ms. Elay Ershad, another Afghan Parliamentarian attending the show, stated that “It is the 21st century when borders dividing the nations are being removed, but we plan to erect them further. But these frontiers cannot separate us because no-one can divide brothers and sisters, and families”.

The crowd that attended the event greatly appreciated the performances and the efforts by CRSS to organize a Pak-Afghan cultural musical initiative; a fusion of both cultures. The event was covered by several leading TV channels.

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