Islamabad - The Ambassador of Denmark to Pakistan, Ole Thonke yesterday said that Pakistan was culturally a very rich country.

He said Pakistan possessed a diversity of cultural goods and services that had a huge potential for being harnessed for economic, social and sustainable development.

During his visit to Gilgit-Baltistan, where he met with the Hashoo Foundation, a partner of the Danish Centre for Culture and Development working to promote art and culture in Pakistan, Thonke appreciated the richness of the region stating that his recent visit to the mountains of GB and interaction with local people had truly impressed him.

“Gilgit-Baltistan is indeed a jewel in the art and cultural sector of Pakistan and can become a driving force for economic empowerment benefiting local communities and Pakistan at large,” said the ambassador.

Talking to representatives from the Hunza Arts and Culture Council, Ghizer Arts and Culture Council and KADO officials, including local artisans, the ambassador was apprised about the deep-rooted imprints, which the Danish supported program is having on the cultural canvas of the region, said an embassy statement.

Bulbul Jan Shams, Regional Program Manager, HF highlighted that Denmark’s support had played an important role in reviving old cultural festivals for social and sectarian harmony, which had faded away over the past many decades, it said.

The envoy said that local culture and traditions were important part of any society, as it was the root to how societies were built and how people formed opinions and built relations.

“Denmark fully believes that art and culture are important means to bridge differences, to create tolerance, and ultimately to provide economic opportunities for communities as well as individuals,” said Ambassador Thonke.

He said the government of Denmark was proud to support art and culture in Pakistan that is focused on supporting minorities, as well as women, youth, local artists and artisans, entrepreneurs and civil society organizations by providing large access to art, culture and creative industries and public-private partnerships. He also appreciated the local government’s efforts to facilitate and fully participate in the cultural activities supported by the program.

Through the Danish supported program, local artisans also received training in stone carving, wood carving and traditional music, including on creating value chain and enterprise development for Sustainable economic empowerment.

As a result of these training, several business groups have been formed in the region to further promote the value chain of local products and services. The ambassador’s visit was further appreciated through various performances done by local artists, including the performance of renowned singer Ayub Mutasir.