Anam Firyal, Melbourne: Occasionally, there are instances when great things are achieved by a small group of dedicated and passionate people. One such instance was the recent event organised by the Melbourne University Pakistani Society (MUPS) in collaboration with PACMania. The organisers had promised a musical lecture of sorts, traversing the myriad different genres and cultures that exist within Pakistan. What transpired was just this and so much more’ the audience was treated to rarely acknowledged footage of Pakistani folk musicians and our rock geniuses, and also, the magnificent experience that is created when folk and modern music collide.
Ayesha Bux, Honorary Investment Consul for the Govt. Of Pakistan, opened the event by highlighting some basic yet conveniently forgotten facts about Pakistan, underlining the investment opportunities that exist and the positive experiences that a lot of foreign investors and delegates have had in the country. Her presentation brought home the sheer magnitude of the country’s population along with its stunning but often forgotten wealth of natural resources and landscapes. It was an eye-opener, and served to highlight the huge difference between the real Pakistan and the Pakistan that is so negatively portrayed by the media.
Omar Pervaiz, who serves as the Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific for the Institute for Preservation of Art and Culture (IPAC), then introduced the audience to a phenomenal webpage (WMC’s Weapons of Music Creation) *, which is aimed at enabling us to “find a new, point of view” on Pakistan, via a journey through its music. The audience sat enthralled as Omar played a selection of clips from the page. The clips featured various artists and genres of music, from the soulful Punjabi folk music of Saeein Zahoor, to the awe-inspiring vocals of young talent such as Arooj Aftab. Due recognition was given to artists from all four provinces of Pakistan, each of which have their own distinct sound and instruments. The video clips all served to hit home the fact that there is a largely untapped and richly diverse musical scene within Pakistan which needs to be brought to the forefront.
Further discussion with Omar Pervaiz and Mian Nouman Talat, the President of MUPS revealed that MUPS and PACMania are largely self-funded organisation run by a few motivated and sincere Pakistani individuals, who have taken on the mammoth task of introducing Pakistani music, art & culture to Australia, hence making a positive impact of the perception of Pakistan. The efforts of these individuals are greatly appreciated, and it must be emphasised that due support must be given to them to ensure that they continue to come up with enlightening and enjoyable events like these on a bigger scale in the future.