Zulifqar Ali Zulfi, director of Arts and Culture at Alhamra Arts Council rubbished all rumors regarding the Manto festival facing opposition. Express Tribune reported that religious extremists are forcing the cancellation of the Manto Festival as they claim the celebrated author’s work promote vulgarity.
They also reported that Alhamra administration, however, says that the festival, scheduled to be held from January
14-17, was only postponed and not cancelled.
The article added “A senior official, speaking on the
condition of anonymity, told The Express Tribune that, “Punjab ministry officials oppose
holding the event because of the nature of the writer’s work.”
Zulifqar Ali Zulfi said that Manto is a highly esteemed and a hugely celebrated personality. He said that our literature is incomplete without Manto.
He clarified that the Manto Festival has never faced any opposition. Alhamra Arts Council has been holding plays on Manto since many years. Theatre groups like Azad, Ajoka, Mass Foundation and Sarmad Khoosat have previously performed Manto at Alhamra Arts Council.
In addition, the director himself has held many Manto plays at the festival. He said that Alhamra Arts Council is the only platform that has been showcasing Manto and proudly so.
The Festival has only been postponed because its preparations were not yet completed. Theater festivals require a lot of work on lighting, sound, sets and other technicalities and therefore may take more time.
He said that after one news portal misreported, many followed and have spread the false news. The festival will now take place either in the middle or end of February.