ISLAMABAD - The 5-day Wakhi Cultural Festival, organised by Lok Virsa in collaboration with Gojal Educational & Cultural Association (GECA), concluded on Sunday calling for promotion of cultural exchange between communities for the larger goal of promoting tolerance and co-existence, said a press release here. Murtaza Solangi, Director General, Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) was the guest of honour on the occasion. The slogan of the festival was Harnessing Culture for Peace & Harmony and the organisers succeeded in bringing the message of peace to the entire Pakistani nation through the authentic performances and demonstration of skills by the Wakhi artisans and artists came from the far-flung valley of upper Hunza and Gojal. In his opening remarks, Executive Director, Lok Virsa, Khalid Javaid congratulated all the participating master artisans, folk artists and musicians from Wakhi community on the successful completion of the festival. He also appreciated the cooperation extended to Lok Virsa by GECA, particularly its Chairman, Farman Ali Baig in organizing the festival. He said that the festival afforded an excellent opportunity to the residents of the twin cities of Rawalpindi-Islamabad to witness at the capital city the first time in the history of Pakistan live presentations and display of the rich of cultural traditions, lifestyles, musical heritage, traditional cuisine and the rituals connected to various festivities and celebrations of the Wakhi community living in Gilgit-Baltistan region. On behalf of Lok Virsa, he assured the participants that Lok Virsa will continue to patronize and support all regional and local cultural institutions in Pakistan for documentation and preservation of their indigenous folk culture and traditions. ED Lok Virsa also acknowledged the generous contribution made by the partners, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs represented by Royal Norwegian Embassy for holding this unique cultural activity of its kind at Islamabad. While talking about the role of PBC, Khalid Javaid said that the presence of DG, PBC is certainly a source of great satisfaction for the cultural organizations like Lok Virsa that our state media institutions like PBS are keen to help us out in projecting cultural heritage of Pakistan. He said that Lok Virsa recognizes the contribution of PBC in documenting and promoting folk musical heritage of Pakistan through its provincial and regional radio stations. Both Lok Virsa and PBC can join hand together to make some more concerted efforts in this direction, he added. Farman Ali Baig, Chairman, GECA also spoke on the occasion. He thanked Lok Virsa and the Norwegian partners in giving an opportunity to the Wakhi people to showcase their rich culture, traditions, folklore and musical heritage in the capital city through Wakhi Cultural Festival. He also thanked DG, PBC for his presence on the occasion. While addressing the gathering as the guest of honour, Murtaza Solangi, DG, PBC lauded the efforts of Lok Virsa and GECA for their combined efforts for promotion of Wakhi culture and language. The ceremony concluded with life cultural performances by a select number of Wakhi folk singers and musicians as well as poetry recitation by the Wakhi poets and writers. Certificates and shields were presented to the participants at the end of the ceremony. Over 60 participants including master artisans, folk artists and musicians attended the festival.