ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Ms.Marriyum Aurangzeb addressing the inaugural ceremony of the three-day Youth Cultural Fair under the auspices of Lok Virsa (Folk Heritage) here Friday said that democracy and creative expressions had profound relationship and the absence of democracy in the country for 30 to 35 years had silenced the arts and artists which also adversely affected the culture of the country.The minister said that Pakistan was a trustee of one of the greatest cultural heritage. She said that immediately after assuming the responsibility as minister in charge of the Ministry of Information she initiated efforts for revival of culture and the film industry and had been able to give the country its first ever film and cultural policy, which would also be included in the federal budget for the year 2018-19. Marriyum said that film was the only medium which could be effectively utilized to portray Pakistan in a positive light at the global level. She said that Pakistani films would soon be screened in the Chinese cinemas .She said that similarly that content would also make its way the countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey Egypt and other countries.Marriyum told the audience that during the ’60s and ’70s Pakistan film industry was ranked as the third largest and vibrant entity in the world. She said that Pakistan was presently confronted with a culture of intolerance adding that until and unless a culture of respecting differing opinions did not take root in the society it would be hard to come together as one nation. She said that culture and cultural heritage was the identity of Pakistanis all over the world. Marriyum observed that the foreign film content also badly affected our culture. She said that the entire nation and the valiant armed forces had given sacrifices of their children in the fight against terrorism and lit the lights of peace with their blood due to which Pakistan was now being acknowledged as peaceful country. She said that Pakistani culture and cultural heritage were staging a comeback and the cultural activities had also been revived in the country due to democracy. The minister said that the strengthening of state institution invariably added to the prestige of the country.She said that though learning English was essential in the modern competitive world and it had importance of its own but people should always feel proud of their own language. Marriyum reiterated that when a nation lost pride on its cultural heritage and had disconnect with the national language it could neither march forward nor earn respect of the other nations. The minister said that there was an imperative need to ensure connectivity of the youth and children with their culture and language. She said that the media and parents had a vital role to play in that regard.She said that the Youth Cultural Fair would help in strengthening national solidarity. Marriyum said that the participation of the girls and boys clad in their traditional attires was a welcome sign and she was very pleased to see that adding that such folk fairs were absolutely essential for connecting the children with their language and culture.The minister appreciated the holding of the culture fair by the Folk Heritage (Lok Virsa) and termed it a positive step. Marriyum observed that estrangement with language led to estrangement with culture. The minister welcomed the young artists who had come from all over the country to show case their artistic skills and also watched their performances.The ceremony was largely attended by the officials of the ministry of information and its attached departments, school children, teachers and people belonging to arts and cultural industries.Published in Daily Times, April 28th 2018.